News in Scotland Tuesday
In December Scottish Secretary Michael Moore told a US audience Scots would be
“shedding influence over their own destiny” if they voted for independence
Scottish News: News in Scotland – Tuesday
Attacks on Salmond’s us trip agenda appear hypocritical
First Minister Alex Salmond’s US trip agenda has been heavily criticised as being about drumming up support for independence. Mr Salmond intends to include the “economic viability and credibility of an independent Scotland” as a theme within a more general economics scope. Opposition parties have complained with James Kelly, Scottish Labour’s chief whip, saying: “The First Minister should be representing Scotland’s interests when he is abroad, not the SNP’s.” However there were no such complaints in December when Scottish Secretary Michael Moore told a US audience that an independent Scotland would be a “bit player” on the world stage with “reduced clout” and with Scots “shedding influence over their own destiny” as Scotland starts from a “position of weakness” which would damage its economic interests.
Iain Duncan Smith claims: “I could live on £53 a week”
Iain Duncan Smith, the UK minister behind the ‘bedroom tax’ and controversial changes to the welfare system, has sparked fury by saying that he could live on £53 a week. His claim has angered campaigners, who said the former Tory leader, who lives rent-free in an aristocratic country house, was completely out of touch with reality. The changes will see more than 100,000 families in Scotland in social housing, lose an average of £600 a year through housing benefit cuts – hitting poor families and the disabled particularly hard. In Scotland, SNP councils have pledged not to evict any tenants hit by the bedroom tax if they can show they have made every effort to pay their rents. The issue threatens to impact on the referendum debate as Better Together endeavour to explain the ‘benefits’ of staying in the Union.
More Scottish news:
- ASK SCOTLAND
- Scottish independence: UK downgrade means promised ‘recovery’ is like Waiting for Godot
- Scots go hungry to maintain London’s global status
- Scottish government criticised over ‘coherence’ of education reforms
- Scottish independence: economy will be a success after independence, says expert group
Whistleblowing hotline launched for NHS Scotland practice concerns
A free, confidential phone line has been launched to allow employees to raise any concerns about practices in NHS Scotland. The role of whistleblowers was noted in a recent Audit Scotland report into allegations of altered waiting-time data in the NHS in Scotland. In the report last month, the organisation said: “In order to safeguard patients’ interests, it is important to have effective whistle blowing policies and an environment where people can raise concerns safely and know that they will be acted upon”. The launch of the phone line comes in the wake of the Francis Inquiry, which uncovered “appalling” failings at Mid Staffordshire NHS Foundation Trust in England.
Scottish independence: calls for constitution if ‘no’ vote in Sept 14
Scottish politicians are calling for a UK wide constitutional convention to draw up a new settlement for the four parts of the British state should Scots reject independence in next year’s referendum. “The independence referendum should not be seen as the end of the process”. “Assuming after the referendum Scotland stays in the UK; we need a constitutional convention to work out how powers are best distributed” said Sir Malcolm Bruce, the Liberal Democrat MP for Gordon. However, an SNP spokesman said: “These calls simply underline that a Yes vote for independence in next year’s referendum is the only decision we can take in Scotland which will give Scotland the powers we need to build a strong economy and fair society. A No vote is a vote for nothing; a Westminster veto applies to any further devolution, which we know from bitter experience has held Scotland back”.
BoE move could be a disaster warn critics
The Bank of England (BoE), which was implicated in the Libor scandal, has been given increased powers to regulate the City of London. The changes to the regulatory regime introduced by Gordon Brown – which was widely condemned as the reason for the 2008 financial crash which has led to the UK’s current economic crises – are apparently designed to make the UK’s finance sector “strong, safe and successful” according to Chancellor George Osborne. However with a new governor who is viewed as even more of a money printer than Mervyn King, Mark Carney will soon take up his post. Critics warn that should the BoE consolidate power of oversight speculators who have crippled UK economy will have even more power, credit and incentive to leverage UK economy to ratios of GDP never before seen.
Warning of bubble threat from debt
Coutts – the bank which advises the great and good of the British establishment are quietly advising the offloading of high-yield bonds, The Telegraph reports. The concerns that the debt market is in a bubble and could soon unravel, echo other warnings that the world’s bond markets could soon crash causing a worse financial and currency crisis than the 2008 financial crash.
Australia and China bypass dollar with bilateral trade agreement
More than 40 percent of Australian small businesses importing from or exporting to China intend to settle transactions in the renminbi over the next year, a survey shows. Prime Minister Julia Gillard is expected to secure a currency conversion deal with China when she visits later this week. Under the plan, Australian dollars would directly convert to the Chinese currency, thereby avoiding the cost of conversion through the US dollar. “Given China represents over 20 percent of our current trade and is expected to grow by 8.5 percent per annum to 2020, the renminbi’s role within Australian trade will inevitably rise”, HSBC Bank Australia head of business banking Paul Edgar said. Such a move could likely cause tensions with the US if they see this as a move to cut out the dollar completely from such trading deals.
Revealed: 132 names of those who got funds out of Cyprus just before Troika confiscation
News has emerged that a list of 132 companies and individuals withdrew their euro denominated deposits from Cypriot banks in the two weeks from March 1 to March 15 – among which noted company Loutsios & Sons which is alleged to have ties with the current Cypriot president Anastasiadis. Such revelations – alongside suggestion that Russian stakeholders and the President of the US withdrew their funds in advance has sparked suggestion that certain interested parties had knowledge of the nation’s banking crisis weeks in advance. Such accusations contravene the stance taken by the EU which claims the crisis was spontaneous.
Bitcoin: A new currency that can operate outside government?
Google trends has shown an explosive growth in the Bitcoin phenomenon – with many financial news outlets and blogs weighing in their opinion. Bitcoin, a stateless, decentralised, anonymous crypto-currency has leaped in value from less than $1mn to over $1bn in just a few dozen months. Reasons for this have been offered by former stock broker Max Keiser in relation to the recent Cyprus deposit confiscation: “If given the opportunity of preserving wealth and independence or complying with crony capitalists bent on occupation and subjugation – people tend to choose freedom over bondage. And Bitcoin enables that outcome”. However some argue that Bitcoin’s success is capped by how far the government will allow it to succeed before stepping in and calling time.
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