BETWEEN Tuesday and Thursday, articles in The National have highlighted items that scream out for independence to happen, backed by a Scottish National Bank.

Yesterday’s article by Jane Cassidy (Revealed: stark impact of leaving a town with no bank, The National, April 9) highlights the need for a Scottish National Bank with a retail department. I realise that the Scottish National Bank is supposed to be some thing like the Bank of England, which is merely a financial institution controlling the finances of the country without being open to the public as a place in which to put your money. But there is without doubt a need for such a section in our national bank.

Setting it up has already been mooted and, I believe, placed “on the back burner” until the right time. Well, there’s no time quite like the present. Let’s get it set up in such a way that it can control our economy but also can invest in people and industry, and can let people invest in it by holding accounts with it. It could be set up in such a way as to keep both sections separate.

One of its first retail branches could go into Cambuslang. It could be set up in such a way that it could deal with business on behalf of any customers from other banks, whose own bank has deserted them, or give those customers the alternative of transferring their business over. Surely, modern computer technology would allow them to accept monies on behalf of other banks, transfer that money to them and charge a small transaction fee to the bank concerned.

That would be cheaper than each of the other banks having separate branches in uneconomic situations, and would give the national bank both “high street status” and an independent income. Belgium already operates such a bank. It’s called Credit Commercial.

In Wednesday’s National, the article on page three, (Public ownership plea to Sturgeon over rail depot, The National, April 9) demonstrates how a bank like this might be used to exercise Scottish Government control over such places as the Springburn rail services depot. It also underlines the reason why independence is needed sooner rather than later.

The Government could invest in the Springburn Depot through a national bank and the Scottish public could benefit from that by investing, either as banking customers in the retail section or as investors in the commercial section.

I believe this is the last major rail servicing depot in Scotland. It would be needed in an independent Scotland to help look after our fleet of trains instead of having to send them

to a foreign country for repair. After independence, England will be a foreign country. It doesn’t matter how cordial our relationship with them remains, the mere fact that we will be an independent nation makes them another separate country and therefore foreign. This will apply even more so if we are in the EU and they are not.

But we can only exert proper control over this and many other things, (like renationalising the rail services), if we are an independent nation. If we leave it too long, we could lose this valuable source of rail vehicle maintenance skill. We can’t afford to keep letting our industry trickle away into England as has happened with so much in the past – Ravenscraig springs to mind! We are going to be independent sometime, and we need industry to help boost the economy of our independent nation, so let’s start moving on it now. Get the Scottish National Bank set up; and get the date for an independence referendum announced.

Never mind asking Westminster, they’ll just refuse. Just do it!
Charlie Kerr