Rebooting the RBS brand

RBS sign Image copyright Reuters

It's seven years, almost to the day, since Fred Goodwin and a hapless board of so-called directors took the Royal Bank of Scotland over the brink of collapse.

There was hardly any capital to back up a balance sheet then burgeoning beyond the two trillion pound mark. That's before we all came to the rescue.

There may be even less capital before too long, but this is of the typeface variety.

"RBS," it is reported, is becoming "rbs". You could call it typographical subversion. Or a symbolic expression of lowered case humility.


We're told in the Guardian that it's disappearing from the frontages of the City of London offices which usually appear when its latest loss or mis-selling misdemeanour is on the telly.

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Strong builders' tea while Scots economy cools

Silhouette of construction site Image copyright Thinkstock

Something is mis-firing in the Scottish economy. The cause is partly business confidence and poor productivity. Problems with the oil and gas sector are clearly not helping. And partly it's the difficulties facing exporters into the eurozone.

Yes, the latest figures on Gross Domestic Product look disappointing, at 0.1% growth between the first and second quarter of the year. If it weren't for construction activity, the Scottish economy would have contracted between April and June.

Read full article Strong builders' tea while Scots economy cools

A change of command in choppy waters

oil platform Image copyright Thinkstock

Scotland used to have numerous captains of industry. With fewer corporate headquarters, they are rarer these days, and tend to have shorter periods of command.

Bob Keiller is one such. He has announced that he is standing down as chief executive of Wood Group at the end of the year. That's after performing one very important role for any chief executive - picking and bringing on a successor.

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Putting money on Indyref 2

Yes and No campaigners during referendum campaign

It was the economy wot won it, and lost it. On identity, emotion, enthusiasm, optimism, organisation and so much more, last year's referendum on independence was heavily weighted in favour of the "Yes" side.

But on the economy...? Well, the debate rages on, but the polls tell us it was the economy that made the difference.

Read full article Putting money on Indyref 2

Scotch whisky: How to regain momentum?

Still from Johnnie Walker add Image copyright Johnnie Walker
Image caption A one minute video advert has been produced for Johnnie Walker

It is reckoned to be the most valuable spirits brand in the world of alcohol.

Brand Finance put it at number 246 in its 2015 top 500 brands by value. The consultancy reckoned that the brand alone - not including the business behind it - is worth £3.6bn.

Read full article Scotch whisky: How to regain momentum?

Britain's fading greenery

wind farm Image copyright PA

The energy team at business consultancy EY can't expect to get many contracts out of Whitehall - not after a thorough trashing of UK policy.

But they are more likely to win friends within the industry today, having moved Britain down the annual league table of nations' attractiveness to renewable energy investors.

Read full article Britain's fading greenery

Offshore oil hunkers down

oil barrels Image copyright Thinkstock

Offshore oil and gas has previously used the vast scale of its Offshore Europe event in Aberdeen to showcase how big and bold it is.

This week: not so much. The industry is hunkered down, counting the cost of contraction.

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Sturgeon opens for business

Nicola Sturgeon unveiling Programme for Government

"We will make Scotland the best place in the UK to do business," says the first minister, "not through a race to the bottom, but by focusing on innovation, skills and productivity."

A laudable aim, no doubt, unless you're one of the other parts of the UK intending to achieve precisely the same thing, and by using the same focus.

Read full article Sturgeon opens for business

Stigma of the Dump

electric car

Some questions for you. What are your clothes worth, and what percentage of them do you actually use? In the past year, say?

This may be made trickier if, like me, you have had little cause to look out anything for summer weather.

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What future for BBC Scotland?

BBC Scotland headquarters

Scotland's media landscape is being bulldozed - transformed by digital technology, burgeoning choice, and quite a bit of politics - particularly as the future of the BBC is now in play.

The politics is also apparent in the newspaper sales figures for the first half of the year. Out this week, they show the average decline at more than 10% since the first half of last year, continuing the industry's painful downward trajectory.

Read full article What future for BBC Scotland?