Sometime after the Braveheart movie came out in 1995 I heard a silly Scotsman voxpopped on TV or radio. His reaction to the film was “Now I know why I hate the English”. Apparently he didn’t know why he had hated the English before he saw the movie. His hatred was obviously just some inchoate, congenital thing that had come down through seven centuries with his DNA and nothing to do with the modern state that we both live in. I am sure that the feeling was mutual at the end of the 13th Century. Mel Gibson’s one-sided film failed to mention that William Wallace was reputed to have worn a belt of human skin flayed from the body of the hated English tax collector Hugh de Cressingham. Nice.
I don’t really hate Alex Salmond. But, having seen this letter from Salmond to the disgraced banker Fred Goodwin in the run up to the calamitous takeover of parts of the Dutch bank ABN Amro by Royal Bank of Scotland, I do think that he made a total fool of himself sucking up to Goodwin. (Thanks to Faisal Islam at Channel 4 for finding this particular smoking gun.) This takeover marked the high point of UK banking stupidity in the early years of this century. Signing his letter “Yours for Scotland, Alex” was particularly emetic. With this one letter Salmond has accepted moral liability for the bad debts of Bank of Scotland and Royal Bank of Scotland on behalf of the people of Scotland. No amount of blaming the banking crisis on English regulators will wash. The largest part of the UK banking crisis was terrible commercial lending decisions made in Edinburgh – almost identical in fact the ludicrous ones made in Dublin. Yours for Scotland.
Salmond is a clever enough bloke, but this letter taken together with his totally debunked Arc of Prosperity schtick (can’t believe the SNP haven’t taken that off their website) proves he does not have as sure a touch as some imagine. On the evidence he is a man given to wishful thinking. I hope that he doesn’t succeed in breaking up my country.