It’s quite fun that Scottish private banks get to print their own money; it’s one of the many things about Scotland that marks it out as an amusing approximation to a real country.
However, the UK Treasury has suggested changing bank regulation rules in a way that removes the technical greater risk of default faced by holders of Scottish money: Scottish banks are not currently obliged to fully match the value of currency they issue with deposits at the Bank of England [*], so if one of them went Northern Rock-shaped then its actual physical cash money would risk becoming worthless. The three money-issuing banks all look fairly safe, but you can see why the Treasury might be a bit worried about that sort of thing at the moment…
Now let’s introduce Alex Salmond, who is one of the few people to combine 1) believing he is prime minister of an imaginary country with 2) getting a salary and benefits roughly in line with those he would receive if his belief were true. This is known as Nice Work If You Can Get It.
Like most people who believe they are prime ministers of imaginary countries, Mr Salmond is somewhat paranoid and delusional. In particular, he hates another imaginary country, which he believes has colonised his imaginary country, and which he believes is devoted to a ceaseless campaign of ruining and destroying him. But the latest rhetoric is even more detached-from-reality than the norm:
Under the cover of a consultation on financial stability, the Treasury are launching a smash and grab at the Scottish note issue.
Yes, Alex Salmond, Imaginary Skylord of Alba, believes that the English hate his funny multicoloured pieces of paper, want to wipe them out through sheer spite and malice, and give enough of a fuck to actually do so. Hell, he probably thinks the English deliberately fucked up Northern Rock to create an excuse to get it through…
[*] why the fuck is it still called the Bank of England? Is it purely to annoy the Scots, Welsh and Ulstermen, or is there some sane reason why the name should have stayed in place when the BoE went from a private English company that raised money for the government to a conventional central bank covering the whole UK?
Update: dsquared in the comments, who might be expected to know about this sort of thing and isn’t much of a Haggis McTartan, believes Salmond is right and the Treasury actually is trying to fuck over the Scottish banks for fun. Nice to know they’ve the interests of the country at heart, eh?