THE exposure of Scotland in Union being financed by well-heeled aristocrats, bankers and other representatives of the rentier class must be seen in the context of an incoming financial crash (Scotland in Union in crisis after donor details are leaked, The National, January 3).

The North Sea is the most important asset for the UK economy. The economist Sidney Pollard explained that Thatcher’s looting of the economy would not have been possible without it. Thatcher’s policies would have bankrupted Britain. The £100 billion she stole from the North Sea enabled her looting. The Labour Foreign Secretary was asked in 1977 why the UK didn’t give Scotland her independence. “Because they have oil” was his answer. The rentier class who bankroll Scotland in Union will literally lose their cash cow if Scotland leaves the UK.

The rapid expansion of the wealth of the financial oligarchy accompanies growing indicators of social misery at the other pole of society, exemplified by the collapse in wages, record food bank use and homelessness as well as the return of Victorian-era diseases.

Wealth concentration on the scale concentrated in the hands of Scotland in Union donors has immense social implications. The colossal diversion of resources into private wealth accumulation by the financial oligarchy effectively starves society of the resources it needs to deal with the most basic problems.

The unprecedented rise in the stock market has been engineered by the world’s central banks. This has happened to enable the capitalist class to recoup its losses and increase its share of wealth and income in the aftermath of the 2008 financial crisis.

In the past, companies used some of their debt to invest in real growth. This time corporate investment has remained relatively low. Instead, companies have been on a spree of buying their own stock, establishing a return to 2007-level stock buyback. 2018 will be a precarious year of more bubbles inflated by cheap money, followed by a leakage that will begin with the bond or debt markets.

The super-rich who bankroll Scotland in Union will push for greater deregulation of the financial systems and banking industry on any level possible. If there is another financial crisis in 2018 or later, it will be worse than the last one because the system remains fundamentally unreformed, banks remain too big to fail and the Bank of England continues to control the flow of funds to these banks (and through to the markets) by maintaining a cheap cost of funds.

Alan Hinnrichs

AS 2017 drew to a close, it came as no surprise when a well-kent Scottish independence supporter obtained and published leaked documents revealing that the British aristocracy – the landed gentry, the Dukes, the Marquesses, the Earls and the Barons – would fight tooth and nail, cash and chequebook, diamonds and tiaras to retain the present established order and constitution of the United Kingdom.

Time and again the British nobility have united in defence of the political and social status quo, having historically opposed progressive reforms – especially of full suffrage and in land reform. After all, for centuries the nobility have done very well from the institutional privilege, patronage and power that the United Kingdom has to offer.

An aristocratic land owner would appear to be someone who is master or mistress at everything. But, in truth, they really only specialise in owning land and accepting medieval titles while being fairly mediocre at everything else life has to offer.

However, the one thing at which they have always excelled is in their ability to have a supine “polite society” do their bidding. In days past, the nobility would use the coin of the realm to secure loyalty. But in today’s neoliberal world, gold no longer is the currency of palm-greasing. The possibility of advancement into the British establishment by the receiving of a title is the crypto-currency for today’s “loyal” subjects.

Consequently, it was no great revelation to find within the published documents the details of many members of our “polite society” (those who consider themselves to be socially superior) who are colluding with the nobility in its quest for constitutional status quo. But it did prove that there still remain two archaic enemies of reform and progress in our society today: the aristocracy of rank and privilege and the aristocracy of wealth and entitlement.

We live in a noisy political and constitutional landscape and repetition is necessary to make yourself heard. Consequently, when discussing the British constitutional status quo with its various supporters, perhaps it would be beneficial to repeat that often-used Latin phrase, “Cui bono?” Literally “for whose benefit?” That particular Latin phrase can be used to question the motivation behind the British nobility donating a king’s ransom in their attempt to suppress Scottish self-determination.

An aristocracy wanting to retain the ill-gotten gains of their forbears in their unchanging world can perhaps be excused as simple survival instinct. But for a cabal of hoi polloi to bargain away their country’s future for personal gain or self-aggrandisement is nothing less than a betrayal; a betrayal worthy of that previous parcel of rogues that Robert Burns raged against when Scotland’s independence was sold for a few bawbees, shillings and orders of thistles and garters.

Mark Saunders
Port Glasgow

AT the start of the 1800s, something like one man in every 120 and no women in Scotland had the vote. Powerful aristocrats and rich landlords manipulated the vote and either sat in parliament themselves or shoehorned their cronies into political position.

Since 1928 we have had universal suffrage for men and women, which extended to 18-21-year-olds in 1968. However, powerful aristocrats and rich landlords still persist in their attempts to manipulate the vote and shoehorn their cronies into political position.

Even Labour party politicians stand as protectors of this old order. What would Keir Hardie have made of The Lord Darling of Roulanish, and the lavish fundraising dinners and auctions that he attends with the wealthy and the well-connected, the landowners and the vested interest?

How would he have responded to the Lord Darling making his speeches to £250-per-head guests, instead of to ordinary folk, the real grassroots?

Thom Muir