Salmond on the defensive as Scottish banks humbled

Just taking another look at how the financial crisis is affecting Union politics… With the Scots reeling at the scale of the crisis that enveloped their
once proud banks, the tartan editions of the London heavies have renewed their attacks on Alex Salmond.
The Daily Telegraph: “Alex Salmond was counting another likely cost of the unprecedented action – the body blow it delivers to his hopes of achieving an independent Scotland.
The Times: “There has never been a more opportune time, surely, for Unionists in Scotland to intrude as brutally as possible into the private grief of the SNP. Indeed, one might well ask if an argument can still be made for Scottish independence now that the United Kingdom has stepped in so forcefully and, yes, benevolently, to rescue Scotland’s two main banks from themselves. “Thank God for the Union,” RBS, HBOS and their thousands of employees, savers and mortgage-holders are now entitled say.
They echo the line of attack pursued the lively new Scottish Secretary Jim Murphy whose only real job is to save Labour in Scotland, starting with the Glenrothes by-election on November 6.

More serious than the pieces of predictable unionism is the verdict of John Curtice of Strathclyde University, one of the UK’s leading political bean counters whose objectivity is not in doubt..
Giving a balanced view Scotland’s second biggest-selling paper the Daily Record, Curtice notes: “Was not our financial services industry, including our banks, going to be one of the engine rooms of prosperity in an independent nation? Instead, Scotland’s banks – and it was, to a large extent, ONLY Scotland’s banks – had to be rescued yesterday by the UK Government. “

And concludes: Meanwhile, a new hurdle has now been placed in the way of Scotland becoming independent.. Scotland would now be presented with one huge bill for the privilege of hosting the Royal Bank in an independent Scotland – s20billion!…

At the same time, the recent decline in the price of oil has underlined the uncertainties that would surround the ability of an independent Scotland to fund any large bills…. Before Mr Salmond can persuade us of the merits of independence, he may first have to convince us that Scotland’s destiny lies in the euro. But at the moment, that seems a tall order indeed.”

As I noted on Saturday, Gordon Brown has pledged to campaign in the by-election. He now has fresh ammunition to make his case with.

Former BBC journalist and manager in Belfast, Manchester and London, Editor Spolight; Political Editor BBC NI; Current Affairs Commissioning editor BBC Radio 4; Editor Political and Parliamentary Programmes, BBC Westminster; former London Editor Belfast Telegraph. Hon Senior Research Fellow, The Constitution Unit, Univ Coll. London

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