THE enormity of UK banking negligence over the years, under a laissez-faire Westminster government, is staggering.

Firstly, the UK national debt has steadily increased from £350 billion in 1997 to more than £2 trillion today. And yet Scotland still seems to live with austerity and a lack of finance for vital services, while Westminster proceeds with projects such as HS2, Crossrail, and others of no benefit to Scotland, funded by taxes from Scotland, but mostly by debt provided by the banks as digital money created from thin air.

£375 billion of the £2 trillion national debt came in the form of quantitative easing, designed to stimulate the economy, and is equivalent to £6000 per head of the UK population. Some £24,000 for a family of four. Imagine that if you will. Yet no benefit accrued to UK residents. Instead, the banking system – tasked with the distribution of this money – merely encouraged its rich customers to use some of it for the creation of candy-floss markets in antiques, paintings and classic cars. Surely it could have been better used to relieve consumer debt, for example?

Secondly came the banking crash of 2008, which dwarfs everything. Here we had the failure of Northern Rock, followed by two Scottish-based banks, arguably brought about by lack of government control, that allowed them all to engage in casino-style speculation and practice.

The bulk of the Scottish bank operations was outwith the UK, but at the time of their collapse the combined global liabilities of these two banks was 30 times the GDP of Scotland. An amazing three-quarters of a million pounds per Scottish head. This shows the scale of damage the banks can inflict on a nation.

As we know, the UK Government came to the rescue and now owns one of these banks, which went on to accumulate further losses while paying bonuses to its executives. It then embarked on a process of branch closures, with absolutely no sense of shame.

The reality is that government itself should create a money supply that relates to the actual prosperity of the nation, as opposed to the private banking system creating it as debt, in any quantity it wishes, to lend to anyone of its choosing, for any purpose.

This arrangement creates market distortions – such as unaffordable house prices.

Obviously, when the banks issue the money supply as debt, politicians are powerless to control the economy, and become mere commentators on financial matters, and for as long as such a situation persists we are on the way to another financial disaster.

The priority for an independent Scotland must be to establish its own banking system, with its own currency, and put an end to the fiscal madness that allows banks to create the money supply and control countries. Failure to do so will quickly have Scotland in their hands and slaves to their huge and unrepayable interest bearing debt.
Malcolm Parkin

I AM a bit late in responding to James Kelly of Scotland GoesPop (A lost cause for Labour in Dundee West, The National, November 25) but have had a hectic week.

Mr Kelly correctly points out that the SNP came fourth in Dundee West in 1983, a far cry from the previous elections. I was the SNP candidate that time and I attempted to create a Dundee vote. On one occasion, one of our canvassers got a positive response. “I’m voting for Gordon Wilson,” he said. Our chap responded: “This is Dundee West, it’s Jim Lynch.” Our canvasser tried to convince him otherwise but the voter finally said: “Look, I’ve telt ye once, I’ve telt ye twice, I’m voting for Gordon Wilson, so piss off.”

We wondered afterwards what he would do when he looked at the ballot paper.

I was pushed into fourth place because of the entry of the SDP (the Social Democratic Party – Roy Jenkin’s lot) which disintegrated and finished up joining with the Liberals as LibDems. The difference for me was about six votes. On polling day, I met one of my friends who had been too busy or preoccupied with his own affairs to vote for me.

The SDP campaign consisted of a loudspeaker car playing Chariots of Fire – we saw no sign of them on the ground.

One mild consolation – the Sunday Standard ran a competition to find the best election address in Scotland and we won it. It was £500 and on the day it was presented to me, The Herald had decided to close the Sunday Standard and its offices were like a wake, with bottles of spirits on every desk. The £500 helped to defray the election cost.

That was the last election I fought as a candidate. I had fought four altogether (Edinburgh North in February and October 1974 and Central Fife – Glenrothes – in 1979) and saved the deposit every time. The SNP was not popular with my employers, so I decided to concentrate on keeping a roof over my head and putting food on the table. I survived.
Jim Lynch

THE “once-in-a-generation” mantra of Unionists on a Scottish independence referendum doesn’t apply in Ireland. The 1998 Belfast Agreement between the UK and Irish governments states, at Annexe A, that the Northern Ireland Secretary “shall” hold a referendum on a united Ireland “if at any time it appears likely (to the Secretary of State for Northern Ireland) that a majority of those voting would express a wish (for a united Ireland)”. Note the word “likely”.

Should the result be close, Schedule 1, Clause 3 of the agreement allows for a second referendum “(not) earlier than seven years after the holding of a previous poll…”.

A second referendum after seven years is clearly current UK Government constitutional doctrine in this matter.
Councillor Tom Johnston (North Lanarkshire)