Fare Thee Well Bank of Scotland!

September 19, 2008

note
The Bank of the Scotland is the latest victim to fall prey to the global credit crunch

avatarIt’s the credit crunch that just keeps on crunching. Latest victim – the Bank of Scotland, established in 1695, and the institution that invented banking as we know it in a Western sense.

Got an overdraft? You can thank the Bank of Scotland for that innovation and plenty more. The bank, known as HBOS after its merger with English bank Halifax, is the biggest home lender in the UK. And now, merged with Lloyds TSB, it will become even bigger.

But at what cost, and why? The cost to Scotland at this stage is unknown, though it’s inconceivable that no jobs will be lost. Some say with a Scottish Prime Minister and a Scottish Chancellor, pressure will be brought to bear on Lloyds to ensure there are not major cuts north of the Border.

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Sore Alba has arrived!

September 11, 2008

Sore Alba
Sore Alba plants his flag at Vodka Soda

In a galaxy far, far away …

On the distant edges of Europe the small resource rich nation sits uneasily within a larger political entity dominated by its more populous neighbour. A swelling separatist movement preaches oil-fuelled American style free markets when the suits are in town yet promises the population cradle to grave socialism when the cameras stop rolling. And while the smaller people laud their blood-soaked heroes of yore, and hail the Olympic standard bearers of last month as symbols of proud nationhood, the question is still to be answered: do they have what it takes to break away and go it alone?

Is this one of those tiny countries somewhere near Russia you’ve never heard of and have even less chance of pronouncing correctly, where centuries old stagnation of the donkey and cart variety rapidly meets ultra modern weaponry? Nah, not even close. Think closer to home. Real close to home. Place that spawned many of you moose-shaggers ancestors, and where your current head of state resides.

That’s right! It’s the United Kingdom, or more pertinently, England and Scotland, the two largest constituent nations (Ignore the Welsh, they don’t count and Northern Ireland; aw jeez, let’s really not start that up …) of said United Kingdom.

You may have heard, but it probably didn’t sink in, that Scotland not only now has its own Parliament, but is actually run by the Scottish National Party. The SNP being the lads and lassies who want to make Scotland independent. And in their leader Alex Salmond the SNP has what could well be the most gifted politicians in the western world. Barack Schmarack, Wee Eck would eat him for breakfast if the American system allowed for anything so dignified as an actual opportunity for party leaders to go at it under parliamentary privelege.

While a small but persistent majority of Scots still say they wouldn’t vote for independence in a referendum – Salmond’s planning one for 2011 – there is no denying the political wind is filling Nationalist sails. And the English? They are champing at the bit to get rid of their Labour Prime Minister Gordon Brown, who just happens to be er, Scottish, and the man they blame for all their credit crunched troubles. Could yon bairn gan oot wi tha bathwatter like? Translation: could the English decide they want nothing to do with the Scots before the Scots decide they can live without the Sassenachs?

Does this mean anything to you? Is it at all interesting? If you in any way care and want to know more, this column will be back next week and every week after that until its humble author gets on the wrong bus on a wet Glasgow night and meets a sticky end on the point of a sharpened screwdriver. Welcome to Auld Reekie: All things Scottish, some things British and a few things by the by. Sore Alba, the newest, and bestest, and most able to handle it’s boozest, addition to Vodka/Soda.

…which is by the way is a lassie’s drink.


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