The Wicked Witch of the West has finally been cornered on the often-asked question of what would have happened to RBS in 2008 if Scotland had been independent. She admits that the UK would still have ended up bailing it out because "90% of its activity is in England" but that Scotland would have "paid its way". Hmm, exactly how far would that way go, with a GDP somewhat less than that of, say, Portugal? (and yes, that does include the notional oil & gas revenues that the SNP always like to include). I think another way of putting that would be Scotland having to go cap in hand to Westminster - another illustration of how independence really means dependence.
And I'm not sure where she got that "90%" from - in the latest annual report, 38% of RBS's income was outside of the UK, with the US accounting for 20%.
She points to the similar case of Fortis, where, she claims, Belgium, the Netherlands, and Luxembourg "came together to save the Fortis Bank". Actually, no, Nicola, what really happened was that they came together to carve up the rotting carcass between them. The Dutch portion is now part of the new ABN Amro; the Belgian chunk is now part of BNP Paribas. So, presumably, what she really means is that the UK would have bailed out and assumed control of 90% of RBS, which would then be UK property and no longer contribute to the Scottish GDP. More likely, the UK, US, Ireland and the Netherlands (and possibly others) would each have been obliged to take control various parts of the defunct bank, just like Fortis. Either way, what would the People's Republic of Scotia have been left with? Not a lot - a parochial little retail bank, much like RBS was in the 70s, in fact.