Act of Union?
It's been a funny old week to be a Brit with a Scottish accent living in England. I've never felt afraid to speak in my own country before, but some of the unprompted comments addressed at me this week, simply for having a Glaswegian accent, have had me thinking that the Act of Union may not exist for much longer.
First the Dunfermline Building Society, the 140-year old mutual, was put up for sale. Reporting on the lead-up to this north and south of the border was very different, but in reality Gordon Brown couldn't be seen to lead a wholesale bail-out of a building society with a headquarter in his Dunfermline constituency. A quiet hoovering up of outstanding toxic debts by the Government following the sale to the Nationwide was deemed more acceptable.
Then there were more questions asked about whether Government ministers knew about Sir Fred Goodwin's pension arrangements. If Lord Myners misled the Treasury Select Committee, he should 'fess up, but there's little that can be done about Fred the Shred's pay-off. If he had any conscience, he'd make a large and very public donation to a charity, but I doubt he will. I'd prefer he was stripped of his status as a knight of the realm because that would probably embarrass him more - and I don't think that his 'services to banking' are necessarily something to be celebrated any longer.
Then we had the G20 demonstrations in London, accompanied by the Police's 'Operation Glencoe'. For an operation where it was clear that the RBS building in the City was going to be a major target, naming it after one of the most famous massacres of Scots by Englishmen in uniform in duplicitous circumstances was, at best, unfortunate.
And today it's RBS's AGM in Edinburgh. Many of the protestors around the G20 summit are journeying north and will be making their feelings known around the Scottish capital. I hope that their anger isn't directed at ordinary citizens. There are 5,144,199 other people living in Scotland, other than Fred Goodwin, and many more individuals of Scottish descent living around the world, and the vast majority of us don't work for a bank.
Actually, everything that's happened is quite a sore point for a nation that's proud of its reputation for financial prudence, from Adam Smith onwards. So to be asked by someone on the Underground whether I'd consider going home (not the actual words...) to be with "my own kind" now that I'd "wrecked his life" was a bit of a shock, particularly as I'd only asked whether there were delays on the Northern Line.
Being lectured by a cabbie on quantitative easing was the highlight of the week. He said that the reason that more money had to be printed was that "all those stingy Scots were hoarding notes under their beds, having wrecked our banking system".
Fortunately for me, he mistook my accent for Irish.