Make Believe Playtime is Over
Alex Salmond insisted yesterday that he intended to press on with his plans for a referendum on independence for Scotland, to be held in 2010. Self-delusion is, of course, an occupational hazard for those who prefer dream over substance, but this time it sounds as if the leader of the Scottish National Party has lost touch with reality.
Around him, and his party's flagship policy, lies the wreckage of Scotland's independent banking sector, the very symbol of his future hopes for a robust economy. Worse, the two main Scottish banks have been saved from collapse by a Westminster Government, drawing on the resources of the United Kingdom's taxpayers. They are now British, not Scottish banks and their future strategy will be determined from the City of London not Edinburgh.
The twin pillars of Mr Salmond's strategy have long been a healthy financial sector and the price of North Sea oil. With the former in turmoil and the latter hovering around a fragile $80 per barrel, this former banking economist will need more than just his famous bouncy optimism to persuade Scottish voters that now is the time to cast caution to the winds and embark on the brave new venture of independence.
Come home to Mummy, had a nice time playing at being a wild pirate in the playground? But the night is closing in, and a storm is brewing so back home to Mummy and the warmth of the family hearth.