Corruption from the top, leads to Economic pestilence and plague (again!)
So Deutsche Bank have now joined the long queue to predict pestilence and plagues of frogs in Scotland should the voters exercise their democratic right to choose their own fate. However, is this Deutsche Bank really worth consideration? During the course of my professional work I have had, unfortunately, had cause to read many such financial market projections from established financial houses. What has been remarkable about Deutsche Bank, is the spectacular inaccuracy of their predictions. If we were to believe previous in-depth analyses, we would now be living in a Europe where greenhouse gas emissions are reducing rapidly, through an international market trading in carbon, costing €40 or €60 per tonne. Unfortunately the price today is about five euros per tonne. If we are to believe that same Deutsche Bank, then in Europe we would now be seeing a spectacular investment into electricity generated by renewable power : both wind and solar. Unfortunately, not. If we had staked the personal shirt, or indeed the national cake, on predictions from Deutsche Bank then now we would be rolling along with Cyprus and Greece in the European economy.
The only certain thing about precise predictions by banks, or economists, is that they are wrong. Very precisely wrong, sometimes to 2 and three decimal places of precision wrong. What can sometimes help are scenarios. These are visions of the future with a storyline about what might happen, how this might influence other events, and the decisions which can be made along the way to influence the arrival at a particular destination. In such a view the fundamentals of Scotland appear to be economically extremely strong. There is an educated and adaptable workforce, who speak an understandable version of English, there is innovation, there are existing profitable activities of quality food, inbound tourism, biotechnology, oil and gas, and future renewable energies – to name just the most obvious. So why will this collapse?
But, maybe we are really worried about the relocation of brass nameplates to London ? In case anybody has not been looking, the workforce will remain in Scotland. That is an expert pool of highly trained, highly skilled, and knowledgeable professional staff. Tens of thousands of people. We have also been trying, for some time, to rid ourselves of banks which are too big to fail, banks which are corrupt, banks which overpay themselves to the dis-benefit of their shareholders and customers. With one beneficial swoop, this helps to achieve that aim. The bad boys have taken the ball away into their own corner. Now it’s up to us. If we are indeed an innovation nation, now is the time to create new banks, led by financial entrepreneurs and social entrepreneurs, who can create ethical banking using the skills and expertise of those many thousands of staff. And, in case we have still not been looking, ethical and sustainable companies are continually outperforming the lethargic blue chips in the conventional stock-market.
If you need any further evidence of the endemic corruption from which we are trying to escape, then look no further than the dirty tricks leading to the announcement of the Relocated Bank of Somewhere. Again, in case we have forgotten, this is owned by us, the people, although unfortunately managed for us, by the UK Treasury elite. In a welcome piece of accurate BBC reporting on 12 September, Mr Factual Robert Preston, the BBC Economic Editor outlines the timescale. On news at 10 on Wednesday September 10, Mr Biased Nick Robinson, disclosed that the RBS and Lloyds would be relocating their nameplates to London from Scotland. At 10:16 on the same night journalists received an email from the Treasury (not from the Bank), stating that RBS had told the Treasury that they would be relocating. Unfortunately for the transparency of British government, the RBS board had convened at 9:45 PM, started to meet at 10 PM, and had not finished their meeting until 11 PM, with the intention of informing its shareholders at 7 AM on Thursday morning. How then, is the Treasury able to predict the future ? In normal stock market terms, that is called insider trading and should be immediately investigated up by HM Constabulary. The relevant Treasury staff should be suspended on full pay whilst the investigation occurs, and since it is inevitable that such a major policy announcement would be approved at the highest level, then the chief of the Treasury (aka Eton Osborne) would also be suspended on full pay whilst a criminal investigation is undertaken. Will the forces of the law act on our behalf? Or, are they too, quelled into submission by their political masters.
Mr Peston comments “It is certainly unusual for details of company decisions to be released to the media by the government before those decisions have been made.” And the official RBS excuse is that UK and US stock markets were shut at the time of briefing. Clearly RBS are unaware that stock markets are a global business which never sleeps.
Whilst large UK businesses, supermarkets, and captains of industry are lucky enough to be able to sell their votes and commentary on behalf the coalition Westminster government, the rest of us are stuck with regular democracy. If we wish to remove ourselves from this endemic and pervasive corruption, and attempt to build a more equal, ethical, and sustainable society, then voting yes is the only option.