Scottish independence: Burns Yes claims ridiculed

First Minister Alex Salmond has become so desperate for supporters in his independence campaign he has had to “recruit the dead”, former Scotland secretary Lord Forsyth of Drumlean has said.

Alex Salmond: Burns Yes claims ridiculed by Lord Forysth. Picture: Esme Allen
Alex Salmond: Burns Yes claims ridiculed by Lord Forysth. Picture: Esme Allen

• Alex Salmond has been ridiculed by Tory peer Lord Forsyth for claims that Robert Burns would vote Yes to independence

• First Minister accused of “Walter Mitty economics” as he claimed Scottish banks depended on rest of UK for customers and BoE security

The Tory peer hit out at the “Walter Mitty economics” of Mr Salmond as he launched a scathing attack on the Scottish National Party.

In a House of Lords debate on independence, Lord Forsyth said: “There is a climate of fear operating in Scotland and that comes from having a single party dominating a parliament without an upper chamber of this kind and without very much accountability from the Scottish media.

“And despite all that the First Minister has found it extremely difficult to get cheerleaders for his campaign.

“He started off with celebrities all of whom either live abroad or do not pay tax in this country.

“He has got so desperate for his cause, he is now having to recruit the dead. Only this week we hear from Alex Salmond that Robert Burns would vote yes in the referendum.”

Lord Forsyth said financial services were crucial to Scotland but depended on the rest of the UK for most of their customers and the security of the Bank of England.

He said Scotland’s banking assets were 1.254% of the country’s GDP. “That makes Iceland look as if it was in a very secure position when the financial crisis came along,” he said.

“When confronted with these issues, answer comes there none: ‘It will be fine because we will have a representative on the Bank of England and the Bank of England will still stand guarantee’.

“Why would any English taxpayer wish to put their money on the line for a foreign country called Scotland. This is Walter Mitty economics from the First Minister of Scotland.”