Monday, 23 August 2004

The future of Abbey National

A short while ago I wrote about the sad decline of the Bank of Scotland since its "merger" with the Halifax. I had an ISA account with Bank of Scotland that has now been taken over by the new HBoS regime. I also have a deposit account with the Abbey. When I read that Santander Central Hispano were making a bid for Abbey I wasn't at all concerned. Then I heard the rumours that HBoS may make a counter-bid for Abbey. I was not happy with this development, not only because of the poor customer service that has plagued HBoS, but also because I prefer to keep my money in separate banks: I am, after all, a student of the Austrian School of Economics. I was now positively cheering for the Spaniards to win the battle for Abbey.

Now I read this nonsense:

SANTANDER Central Hispano, the Spanish bank attempting to take over Abbey National, has emerged as a substantial financial backer to controversial Venezuelan leader Hugo Chavez.
For God's sake! Chavez is an unreconstructed Marxist of the worst sort. Why is a mainstream European bank financing Chavez? There is, to put it mildly, considerable doubt about the recent referendum in Venezuela:
CARACAS, Venezuela, AUG. 16, 2004 ( The recall referendum held Sunday on Venezuelan President Hugo Chávez was a "gigantic fraud," says Cardinal José Castillo Lara. The National Electoral Council reported today that Chávez won 58.3% of the votes in the recall, compared with 41.7% who voted for his ouster. The tally was 4.99 million votes to 3.57 million. The Venezuelan-born cardinal told Vatican Radio that a "gigantic fraud" took place in the referendum. "There was a move to the ballot boxes never before seen in Venezuela," he said. "But the electoral centers, changing the dispositions, used people of the ruling party in the vote-counting." "Exit polls at the ballot boxes showed that there was 65% in favor of 'yes,' that is, of the revocation of the mandate, and only 35% or at most 40% in favor of the president," said the cardinal, who is an expert in juridical questions and president emeritus of the Pontifical Commission for the Vatican City State. The cardinal also said that governmental representatives bought votes at the ballot boxes. "Poor people were given the equivalent of U.S. $50 or $60 if they voted 'no,' that is, to keep the president in the government," he added
I don't want my Abbey account to be taken over by Mr Chavez's financial backers. Even boring old National Savings doesn't offer much of an alternative: following the recent increase in the Bank of England's base rate, National Savings has cut its rates to depositors. Let's just get rid of statist fiat money and its associated banks. Then we savers can invest with confidence.

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