No resort to scare stories

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In response to Alistair White’s letter (April 24) when he replied to my contribution the previous week, he proves the point I made that the pro-independence brigade will ignore facts or gloss over them to make their point.

Mr White states that I laid the blame for the collapse of the banks solely at the feet of the Scottish banks – I did no such thing. In fact, I laid no blame whatever as there were so many contributing factors, as he has rightly pointed out.

The point of my letter, which Mr White blithely ignores, is that the Scottish banks had to be bailed out. It makes not a blind bit of difference what caused the failure of the system – whether it was toxic American loans, disastrous decisions by boards (RBS purchasing ABN Amro), pestilence or plague. Yes, I agree that part of the failure was the Labour government dismantling banking regulations, but as I say, that was one of many factors.

The fact remains that the banks, whether Scottish or otherwise, had to bailed out – and still do – by the Bank of England (B of E) with the agreement of the Westminster government.

Mr White seems to say that in a separate Scotland, such a disaster would not happen. How? Does the SNP plan to nationalise the financial sector? And just how, in a separate Scotland, should – heaven forbid – a similar situation arise, would an SNP government bail out the banks? That is something he does not address.

The reason Alex Salmond, Nicola Sturgeon and John Swinney insist that an independent Scotland will keep the pound is because they know that Scotland, independent or otherwise, does not have a B of E-like institution capable of carrying out a rescue.

Can I remind Mr White that the B of E is known as the Lender of Last Resort for a purpose – it is to assist in the rescue (where required) of failing financial sectors in the UK.

How would an independent Scotland do so?

Please tell the people of Scotland that the money would come from the sale of oil. All statistics just now show that oil cost is currently on a downward slide and that although there are still billions of barrels to be extracted, the cost of doing so will rise sharply as it is harder to extract what is left. And besides, the SNP has already spent the oil income at least three times over with free university costs, free prescriptions, etc., etc..

If we want to keep our large financial sector in Scotland, we need the B of E to continue to be the Lender of Last Resort.

That is not scaremongering, as Mr White accuses me of, that is a fact.

Alistair Martin

Galashiels