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Wise warning

Brian Taylor | 11:01 UK time, Monday, 16 November 2009

It is a small, but thoroughly worthwhile, step for a man. Giant leaps may take a little longer to arrange.

I am talking, admittedly somewhat obliquely, of Alex Salmond's visit to Euro Finance week in Frankfurt.
There he will meet the president of the European Central Bank, Jean-Claude Trichet, plus other eminent financiers and politicians.

His visit, of course, comes in the aftermath of the tribulations visited upon Scotland's banks and financial sector.

I was particularly struck by the warning given to Holyrood by Jeremy Peat.

Mr Peat, formerly a senior economist with RBS, told Parliament's economy committee that he feared the "centre of gravity" in banking and finance would shift from Edinburgh to London.

Severe setbacks

A wise warning. We are social animals. We, mostly, perform best when we experience the counsel and the competition of those engaged in broadly the same activity.

Plus, of course, there are pragmatic matters such as the availability of diverse skills in a cluster. Reduce the cluster and you thin the skills.

Mr Salmond, of course, knows that only too well. He has also argued, repeatedly, that we should be wary of talking down the entire Scottish financial sector on the basis of admittedly severe setbacks in large-scale banking.

Let us remember, too, that other parts of the world have suffered substantially in the financial crisis.

We are not alone, not uniquely damaged. Collectively, let us strive to repair such damage as has been done.

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