Thursday, 30 January 2014

What Mark Carney said about...

Well hold on, who is Mark Carney?

Typical Canadian reserve: "I once caught a fish - this big."
He's the current Governor of the Bank of England. A Canadian national widely accepted as being responsible for shielding Canada from the worst ravages of the credit crunch/global financial clusterfuck. He started out in Goldman Sachs (but mustn't have had a position of much sway because in 2009 its bossman Lloyd Blankfein apologised for its part in said clusterfuck) although to be fair, Carney left a good five years previously so we'll let him off.

Since then he's jobbed around the Canadian Department of Finance and the Bank of Canada culminating in him getting the job of Governor of the Bank of Canada, then of England.

Like the Bank of Canada, the BoE is the central bank for the UK (not as the name suggests, England.) Its main purpose is to oversee the UK's economy while governments at Westminster allow cocaine-snorting, braying investment bankers to completely fuck up our financial well being by way of casino banking and exotic practices not even they understand in order to secure bonuses and pay packets they absolutely have not earned and do not deserve.

Oh hold on, that's not right...

Sorry, the BoE's job is: 'maintaining price stability and supporting the economic policies of the Government, thus promoting economic growth.' 

The point is, its a national bank, not as in England-national but UK-national, over the years Scottish money (in the form of Sterling) has helped shore it up and add to its strength and standing. Since 1946, it was fully nationalised by the Labour government of the day. In 1977 - oh dear, the shallowness of my understanding of economics is about to show its embarrassingly ugly face - it formed a wholly owned subsidiary named Bank Of England Nominees (BOEN for short) and sold itself, to erm, itself.

At this point I tune out, it may as well be in a foreign language, here's the extract from the wiki page:

In 1977, the Bank set up a wholly owned subsidiary called Bank of England Nominees Limited (BOEN), a private limited company, with two of its hundred £1 shares issued. According to its Memorandum & Articles of Association, its objectives are:- “To act as Nominee or agent or attorney either solely or jointly with others, for any person or persons, partnership, company, corporation, government, state, organisation, sovereign, province, authority, or public body, or any group or association of them....” Bank of England Nominees Limited was granted an exemption by Edmund Dell, Secretary of State for Trade, from the disclosure requirements under Section 27(9) of the Companies Act 1976, because, “it was considered undesirable that the disclosure requirements should apply to certain categories of shareholders.” The Bank of England is also protected by its Royal Charter status, and the Official Secrets Act. BOEN is a vehicle for governments and heads of state to invest in UK companies (subject to approval from the Secretary of State), providing they undertake "not to influence the affairs of the company".  BOEN is no longer exempt from company law disclosure requirements. Although a dormant company, dormancy does not preclude a company actively operating as a nominee shareholder. BOEN has two shareholders: the Bank of England, and the Secretary of the Bank of England.

The important things the BoE does is set interest rates, develop monetary policy and issue Sterling. You may have heard of Quantitative Easing? Well it was the BoE who 'printed' more money to buy bonds from the treasury so it in turn could tell international markets it wasn't skint. In terms of what Mark Carney was up in Edinburgh talking about - a currency union - the main point to remember is, Scotland owns a share of the Bank of England, it is NOT the sole property of Westminster, England or the rest of the UK.

'I once caught a fish - and I had to punch it.'
Currency union is an area of the independence debate you'll have heard about frequently in the news - the SNP and Yes Scotland say its desirable for both an Independent Scotland and the rest of the UK while Westminster aided by the UK media say; its 'not likely to occur.'

If I can refer you back to the previous blog about suspension of belief and likelihood though.

1) Anyone can use Sterling, it is an internationally traded currency, you can go to any money shop or Bureau de change in the world and procure it and assuming local business' accept it - buy stuff. 

2) As mentioned, the Pound's strength is built partly on Scottish revenues, over the years, Scottish oil & gas, Whisky, financial services, heavy industry have all added to its worth. 

3) We're in a union and if Westminster/David Cameron are to be believed, one that serves Scotland well. Unless we're just tenants in the UK - renting all the things they tell us we're so much stronger for being a part of - surely it wouldn't make sense if all the money we've been sending down south hasn't actually 'bought' us anything?

"I once caught a fish - this tall."
What Mark Carney  said was that a currency union would need to be negotiated between Scotland and the rest of the UK. He went out of his way not to support either side even although the Scottish Government and Yes Scotland have been saying negotiations would be required. Meanwhile, Westminster in keeping with its outdated idea of empire has been doing what it normally does and telling us what we can and cannot have.

But it goes back to Likelihood - no one can say with absolute certainty what will happen; no one thought in 2007 the banking system would go into meltdown (at least not openly.) Who before the last Westminster election thought the Lib Dems would get into bed with the Tories? Who before the last Holyrood election thought the SNP would achieve a majority in a parliament with a voting system designed to stop that self-same thing from happening? And who thought the celebrity high dive show 'Splash' would return for a second series?

Meanwhile, 'Lord Wallace of Tankerness' who used to be plain old Jim Wallace but is now an unelected Lib Dem lord, he sits with all the other unelected political yes-men in the retirement-home-for-past-it-politicians known as the House of Lords.

Lord Wallace - on the first day of Scottish independence, the £300 + expenses he's paid for planting his unelected arse on those red benches would evaporate.
My Lords, as the Chancellor of the Exchequer has previously said, the current arrangements of a full monetary, fiscal and political union bring benefits to all parts of the United Kingdom. I certainly have noted that the Governor of the Bank of England today has highlighted the principal difficulties of entering into a currency union—losing national sovereignty, the practical risks of financial instability and having to provide fiscal support to bail out a foreign country. That is why we have consistently said that, in the event of independence, a currency union is highly unlikely to be agreed so the Scottish Government need a plan B. I agree with the noble Lord, Lord McConnell, that people who, from experience, have an important contribution to make should make it. Indeed, this month, Better Together has published a very good pamphlet which quotes many people showing how untenable the position of the Scottish Government is on the issue of the currency.
This by far has been the most common refrain from detractors, that Scotland 'would lose powers' or would have to 'cede sovereignty' if we wished to maintain a currency union. At the risk of sounding indelicate - it is unfettered bollocks. How can you lose powers you never had to begin with?

If the Bank of England wanted to change interest rates or provide another tranche of Quantitative Easing, hands up all of you who think they'd consult with anyone in Scotland?

Again, there is so much wrong with what Wallace and others are saying on this issue its hard to know where to start, during the financial crisis foreign countries bailed each other out all the time, how can the 'noble' lord (for example) suggest it couldn't happen when it clearly has and will continue to?

But this is how supporters of the union roll, they expect us to ignore likelihood in favour of their extrapolations of reality to suit their agenda. Although the Yes side don't want to scare the horse, if they turned round and told Westminster to ram Sterling - the drone coming from supporters of the union would assume a markedly higher pitch.

Instead they stand before us like failed Jedi warriors, their fingers wriggling in front of our faces murmuring - "this is not the currency union you've been looking for, move along now, move along."

Not a member of Better Together.
Since Lord Wallace of Tankerness at least has the outfit to be a Jedi night - albeit a fairly camp one - and this has been a heavy going post, we'll finish with a quick game:

Where's Wallace?


  1. The wee guy in the middle wie his back tae us?

  2. Why do these guys dress up in red frocks with dead animals round their necks?

    Why are they allowed to say anything about anything in parliament?

    Anyway. If they won't let us share their pound, hell mend them. Their economy will tank within a few weeks.

    So much more I could say, but I sliced my finger and it is so painful to type...

    86648342 75

  3. I think you might be right, the bald spot give it away, although I'm prepared to accept there are many bald men (and I dare say ladies) in the HoL's.


    I hope your fingers recover well, we need them in order to secure victory in Sept.

    I don't think people understand just how much sway these unelected has-beens actually have or how much they cost.

    Its not really the mark of a modern democracy.

  4. I'm a really quick healer.

    There was blood everywhere, but now it seems pretty better.


    Yes, my fingers will continue to do whatever little they can to spread the word, as I am sure will yours.


Thanks for comment as always and I apologise if you have to jump through any hoops to do so. Its just that, I'm still being spammed by organisations who are certain I can't get it up or when it is up its not big enough or that I don't have anyone to get it up for.

Who knew blogging could be so bad for ones self-confidence?