The implications of the credit crunch on Scottish nationalism is something already being explored by the Scottish press, as I mentioned yesterday. It’s also being talked about more here in London too, aided by a BBC interview with Gordon Brown in which he points to the bail-out as testiment to the strength of the Union.
A couple more links from today’s Times; first, Magnus Linklater asks: “Where would that rescue fund, its value estimated at about £100bn – the equivalent of Scotland’s entire GDP – have come from?”. Unlike Fraser Nelson in the Spectator (quoted yesterday) Linklater sees a “penal” level of taxation in a parallel universe where Scotland is now independent.
Meanwhile, a leader in the same paper reckons “when the Scottish financial sector, the fifth largest in Europe, cannot survive without help from London, the case for the Union is strengthened… The Union that has served [Scotland] for three centuries may be the only asset in Scotland that has not depreciated sharply over the last two weeks.”
Alex Salmond is, of course, playing a long game; future electoral reform that reduced Scotland’s over-representation in Westminster, and/or removed Scottish MP’s votes from English and Welsh matters, would usher in a long era of Conservative government. That would certainly aid Salmond’s cause, and the pain of this crunch might by then be forgotton, as the Guardian’s Severin Carrell pointed out yesterday.
But this is all just politics playing on our short memories; you’d have to worry the fundamentals would not necessarily have changed in Scotland’s favour by then, whether or not we could remember the worrying times we’re living through today.
[Later: Shaun Milne, who first pointed out that "financial Culloden" story to me yesterday, praises the Scotsman's coverage of the crisis - especially the title's exploration of the political angle to Brown's bailout.]