Standard Life Far Right Board 401

Standard Life’s Far Right Board needs exposing:

Keith Skeoch, Executive Director of Standard Life, is on the Board of Reform Scotland, the neo-conservative lobby group which wants to abolish the minimum wage, privatize the NHS and pensions, and still further restrict trade unions.

It is difficult for Tories openly to campaign against Scottish Independence as everyone in Scotland hates them, so they do it with their corporate hats on. This is most of the board of Standard Life:

Garry Grimstone, Chairman, “lead non-executive” at the Ministry of Defence, London

Keith Skeoch, Executive Director, right wing political lobbyist

Crawford Gillies, Non Executive Director, Chairman of Control Risk Group, of London, the “security consultancy” of choice for ex MI5 and MI6 officers

Noel Harwerth, non-executive Director, Director of “London First” – [Honestly, I am not making this up]

David Nish – Chief Executive, Member of the “UK Strategy Committee” of “TheCity UK”. “TheCity UK” being a body of the City of London.

John Paynter, non-executive Director, was vice chairman of JP Morgan Cazenove until the 2008 crash

Amazing that lot oppose independence, huh?

Standard Life also threatened to leave at the time of the devolution referendum and gave out No campaign materials to staff. “Leave” of course is a relative concept – the above bunch just pop up from London from time to time to check on how the serfs are doing.

I published this information on 27 February when they last tried to influence the independence debate. Standard Life is again trying today to influence the referendum campaign by a press release claiming it will move key departments to London in the event of independence, enthusiastically amplified by the BBC, Guardian and all the other reactionary media.

Well, here is an opposing press release, from me. If anybody thinks that an Independent Scotland will be a place where major strategic companies can still be controlled by swivel-eyed right wing ideologues, they may get a very nasty shock from the people of Scotland.

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401 thoughts on “Standard Life Far Right Board

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  • ------------·´`·.¸¸.¸¸.··.¸¸Node

    @ CanSpeccy

    You make a good point that voters don’t always (ever?) get what they vote for. However, I expect our new government to be more responsive to the wishes of its electorate for these reasons:

    (1) We are a small country, I am 1/5,000,000 of the electorate here rather than 1/60,000,000. My vote is twelve times as powerful.
    (2) Scottish people are more bolshie in demanding their rights. We will not be docile.
    (3) This referendum has raised awareness not just of political matters but of the manipulative tricks of the media. We will not be so easily led in the future

    PLUS, I have held back my trump card. I can reasonably expect that our foreign policy would be less aggressive because it could hardly be more aggressive.

    And now I’m off to bed …. goodnight.

  • Tony_0pmoc

    In the highly unlikely event that my two children have been reading anything I have written tonight or ever..They are both completely free of any disease..but they do carry my defective gene – which is incredibly rare…My brother’s wife is a top geneticist..and I knew because she told me…(10 years older than me) she had done the research – which has proven in practice to be so far as I can tell through my own personal research…

    Both Parents need To Have The Same Defective Gene – and Even if They Have Children…50% of Their Children will Not Inherit The Symptoms…

    She Told Me and I explained to All My Girlfriends (who were not related)…If we get Married and Have Children..There is about a Million to One Chance that our Children will inherit My Muscular Disease…My Ex’s Mum Told Her The Chance Would Be One in Two..But She had Come To England From a Warzone..where 50% of Serbians…..sorry I can’t write any more
    She is Lovely I met her again at Cambridge Rock Festival..She Knows and Understand and She Too Is O.K.

    My Wife Didn’t Care.


  • Tony_0pmoc

    We were and still are in love. My friend the priest said that is not possible..I tried to explain it to him 30 years later..He too loved My Wife. We All Do. She’s an Angel


  • Mochyn69

    Judging by the utterly diabolical, perfidious nature of the fiends who are opposing self-determination for Scotland, (remember all that 20th century about fighting wars that small nations may be free hubris?), I think no right thinking person can do anything but say YES, and be free of them!

  • Mary

    You could hear the true malice in Obomber’s voice as he prepares to vapourize yet more of his brown skinned brothers. Pure evil and another psychopathic US president. Israel has got what it wants. Kurdistan’s oil and the likely demise of Syria.

    Did he choose today to make an announcement for a reason? 9/11. Silly question.

  • Peacewisher

    It was 9/10 in US when he made the speech, but yes it happened at 1 am our time, and would be on 9/11 for most of the world.

    Interesting times, Mary. Some defence expert on the mega Newsnight debate last night said Warbama would be very unwise to go for ISIS in Syria like this. Could it be rhetoric? Wonder what Cameron will do…

  • Mary

    We keep being told by the likes of the Zionist supporting MPs in the HoC of the rise in the attacks on British Jews during and since the Gaza massacre. There was even the inauguration of the new group to combat an alleged rise in incidents.

    ‘The Community Security Trust also reports violence against Jews and Jewish buildings not at the march, including a brick thrown at the window of a synagogue in Belfast. Much of the non-violent incidents have occurred on Twitter, including the #HitlerWasRight hashtag which gained some following. Such actions represent the politics of the far-right – similar to the surge in anti-Muslim hate crime following the killing of Lee Rigby – and have no place in a progressive movement.

    Now the All-Party Parliamentary Group Against Antisemitism are to launch a report into the spread of these hate attacks. But it’s up to all pro-Palestinian campaigners to stamp out any anti-Semitic sentiments when they see them …’

    But now British Jews in Manchester have turned on one of their rabbis who spoke out against the massacre. Brave man and shame on his attackers.

    Manchester Rabbi for Gaza
    Haaretz | Sep. 9, 2014

    British Jew forced to leave home after criticizing Israel’s Gaza operation
    The man moved out after he was attacked by a mob of up to 30 people, according to a newspaper.

  • Roderick Russell


    One cannot expect large “City”” dominated companies like Standard Life not to put their oar into the debate, particularly where, as Craig indicates, they have connections with MI5 and MI6.

    So what? The real issue revolves around – WHO OWNS THE OIL. Without oil money, Mr. Carney’s Bank of England (and the pound) would be up a creak without a paddle; so they will have to negotiate a currency sharing agreement with Scotland if there is a “Yes” vote. What surprises me is that Scotland has not long ago demanded its right to control the oil that is in its waters.

    In Canada, as in most other countries under the Westminster system, Natural Resources such as OIL are owned by the Provincial governments. For example, most of Canada’s oil assets are in the Province of Alberta, and they are owned by Alberta (not Canada as a whole) who get the lion’s share of the money. Offshore oil found in the Atlantic has a slightly different ownership formula, but the Provinces involved still get a large chunk of the money for themselves – So the norm in countries that follow the Westminster system is that the Provincial / Devolved governments get most of the oil money. As far as I can see there is one exception – UK itself and Scotland.

    Why has an ancient country like Scotland put up with far less devolved power and tax raising ability over its own resources (i.e. Oil) than in the system that the same Westminster government set up in Canada a century and a half ago?

  • Mary

    I looked up one or two of the directors on the February thread.

    ‘Ref John Paynter, Director.

    Plundering Afghanistan and Kazakhstan

    With regard to Jan Kulczyk’s sizable investment in Afghan Gold last year, one should point out that JP Morgan Cazenove’s point-man in brokering this immensely lucrative deal was their then deputy chair (and head of capital markets) Ian Hannam – a former member of the SAS who counts Richard Williams among his close friends. Hannam is a key advisor for many of the world’s most powerful mining interests, and currently acts as an advisor for Kazak copper mining giant Kazakhmys.

    By way of a short interlude, Kazakhmys, it should be noted, is a particularly well-networked corporate oppressor, as their recent development director is a board member of Lonmin (David Munro); while one of Kazakhmys’ current board members is the omnipresent Lord Renwick. Thus it is more than fitting that Lord Renwick is presently the vice chairman of JPMorgan Cazenove; as is the fact that a former long-serving senior executive at first Cazenove and subsequently at JP Morgan Cazenove, John Paynter, has served (since 2008) with Oliver Stocken (Home Retail’s recent chairman) on the board of Standard Chartered. (Cazenove was merged with JP Morgan in 2005; a process that Ian Hannam is credited with leading.)

    This brief introduction to a few of the people behind Kazakhmys is especially vital for workers seeking to organize against the ruling class, as despite their managements outstanding ruling class connections Kazakhmys’s employees are winning important victories.

    Michael Barker

    Mining Argos’ Ruling Class


    Noel Harwerth on the board of Standard Life and London First is also listed on Forbes..

    Noel Harwerth served as Chief Operating Officer of Citibank International PLC from 1998 to 2003. Prior to that, she served as Chief Tax Officer of Citigroup, Dun & Bradstreet Corporation and Kennecott Copper Corporation. She holds a Jurisdoctor degree from the University of Texas Law School. She currently serves on the board of directors of Royal & Sun Alliance Insurance, Chairman of Sumitomo Mitsubishi Banking Europe and Chairman of GE Capital Bank Europe.

    Also on Alent

    and was on the board of Anglo Irish Bank but resigned when it went belly up and was nationalized. This is the kind of thing that went on at that time. Board meetings without the presence of the company secretary.

    She likes horses too! Was a director of the Tote.

    As the song goes, ‘I’ve been everywhere man…’ Hard to keep up.


    On that thread Resident Dissident using a different avatar to the one used currently, defended Skeoch.

    Several contributors have changed avatars since then. New e-mail addresses or locations??

  • Harry

    Grimstone’s background.

    • Career: 1972-82 – Department of Health and Social Security. 1982-86 – HM Treasury, Treasury assistant secretary. 1986-99 – Schroders, director of corporate finance, head of international finance, deputy chairman and head of investment in Asia-Pacific; head of investment banking in North America.

  • Ba'al Zevul (For Scotland)

    This is really getting spiky. All so last minute… issues like this should have been fully aired months ago.

    No advocates are making it up as they go along. Anyway, if the “Scottish*” banks pull out of Scotland, one of them will be losing my account.


    *Parcel of taxpayer – funded rogues…

  • Ba'al Zevul (For Scotland)

    I notice that the BBC is shifting its – or HMG’s – attack to very strongly emphasise some very hypothetical consequences of independence for The Holy Markets. These gods will be very angry indeed if the smoothness with which they can transfer your earnings to their pockets is in any way disturbed.

    Fuck ’em. Dealer: fresh pack, please.

  • Mary

    Grimstone knighted in birthday honours list
    Sir Gerry has headed Standard Life since 2007

    Sir Gerry has headed Standard Life since 2007 photo

    Patrick Hosking Financial Editor
    June 14 2014

    Chairman of Standard Life, who also heads TheCityUK lobbying group, honoured for “public service particularly to defence and business”

    Gerry Grimstone, the chairman of Standard Life, is the standout recipient of a major honour among blue-chip bosses in a birthday honours list thin on big names from the private sector.

    Sir Gerry, who is knighted for “public service particularly to defence and business”, has headed the insurer since 2007 and recently caused waves by saying that it would have to consider moving its Edinburgh headquarters south if Scotland voted for independence.

    He is also a non-executive director at the Ministry of Defence as well as chairman of TheCityUK, a lobbying group trying to buff up the…….

    Times paywall.

    The words following at the end are …’the Her Maj’s backside’.

  • Harry

    “Sir Gerry, who is knighted for “public service particularly to defence and business”, has headed the insurer since 2007 and recently caused waves by saying that it would have to consider moving its Edinburgh headquarters south if Scotland voted for independence”

  • Ba'al Zevul (For Scotland)

    “Sir Gerry, who is knighted for “public service particularly to defence and business”, has headed the insurer since 2007 and recently caused waves by saying that it would have to consider moving its Edinburgh headquarters south if Scotland voted for independence”

    It wouldn’t if it got a corporate tax advantage from staying. Honestly, the double standards which smile on the functional independence of the Channel Islands and IOM, leave alone the Crown Dependencies, and their capacity to hide funds on minimal tax rates… while contemptuously dismissing Scotland’s ability to do likewise, well. words for once fail me.

    But I also sense the financiers may actually be simply applying pressure on a future independent government to consider its tax regime carefully. Bad timing if so: until the terms and conditions of independence are sorted out, it would be premature to make any decisions of that sort. The fatcats would be better not making threats but beginning low key negotiations.

  • Abe Rene

    @ Craig “If anybody thinks that .. major strategic companies can still be controlled by swivel-eyed right wing ideologues, they may get a very nasty shock..”

    “I don’t see why we need to stand by and watch a country go communist because of the irresponsibility of its own people.” —Henry Kissinger, June 27, 1970.

    So, in the unlikely event that Scotland succumbs to a left-wing revolution (e.g. to preserve tottering banks), the UK may regrettably have to intervene. 🙂

  • Ba'al Zevul (For Scotland)

    Talking of taxes –

    And Angus Council is considering helping tenants with surplus bedrooms to seal them up, as there is no smaller accommodation for them to be ethnically cleansed to…shades of the Window Tax*, there.

    * A distant ancestor of the council tax –

  • Ba'al Zevul (For Scotland)

    So, in the unlikely event that Scotland succumbs to a left-wing revolution (e.g. to preserve tottering banks), the UK may regrettably have to intervene…

    (a) That’s unlikely, right? You said so.

    (b) It’s also unlikely that a left-wing revolution would be too interested in preserving tottering banks. Nor, indeed would a rightwing one. Market forces would then be allowed free rein, in accordance with the fine principles of Ayn Rand, wouldn’t they?

  • Harry

    For an English chairman of a Scottish PLc to alienate half of the local population, causing them to remove their business from the company, is an astonishing act of corporate malfeasance which must surely rank with that of Gerald Ratner.

    If I was a shareholder in Standard Life I would be incensed by the way the recently knighted “Sir” Gerry is using a public company to influence and interfere in the democratic process in Scotland.
    If he was acting in the best interests of Standard Life he would be doing everything to maintain it’s public perception as neutral. Instead he has damaged this company irreversibly in Scotland.

    50% of the population will not forget and certainly never forgive. He should be removed by the shareholders for this strategically suicidal move.

  • fred

    “Who are they protecting Britain from, Fred?”

    From anyone who decided to use unconventional warfare against Britain or one of her allies.

  • Ba'al Zevul (For Scotland)

    But there’s another dimension to this. Standard Life’s Indian operations are looking wobbly, and it has just sold its Canadian arm. It is concentrating on fee-based business, ie the sort where the punter signs a standing-order form and inertia ensures that he doesn’t switch his policy to someone else at the end of the year.

    Re action by SL shareholders, 54% by value of the shares are held by small investors, who obtained them as a result of demutualisation and form 99% of the shareholding entities. The rest are held by big corporates like Black Rock. “Several dozen” shareholders were present at the May shareholders’ meeting, which argues that the small-investor majority has virtually no practical clout. This meeting agreed the company’s policy on Scottish independence.

  • Harry

    This is a public company and as chairman of it he should not be using the company to meddle in national politics. This will only serve to drive away a significant chunk of the company’s customers, absolute lunacy from a corporate perspective.

    If I was a shareholder in Standard Life I would be doing my nut at this.

    Sir Gerry deliberately announced this before the vote rather than quietly relocate in the event of a Yes vote. Consequently this announcement is a blatant attempt to use this public company to sway the result of a democratic referendum and to great detriment of the company in the eyes of the people of Scotland. Sir Gerry has traded away the 100 year accumulated goodwill of Standard Life for a cheap political stunt and they will never get it back.

    The web is awash with enraged existing Standard Life (& RBS) customers saying they will be switching.

    The damage Sir Gerry had done to Standard Life is extraordinary. The shareholders will be lynching him at the next AGM.

  • ------------·´`·.¸¸.¸¸.··.¸¸Node

    Don’t know about anyone else but I find this latest wave of scaremongering rather re-assuring.

    I was beginning to be suspicious about the collapse in the NO campaign, it seemed just too inept to be true – the BBC showing Downing St unable to hoist a Saltire, ‘effing’ Cameron appealing to the Jock lads, etc. Could it be, as some have suggested here, that The Powers really are manipulating the break-up of the UK for their own purposes?

    Well who ever those Powers may be, they include the bankers, so when LLoyds and RBS join a co-ordinated campaign to scare us into a NO vote (and anyone listening to the Radio 5 phone in just now will agree that they’re throwing the kitchen sink into the effort), I can be re-assured that Independence is not a put-up job.

    In fact, if I arrived back from Antarctica 5 minutes before the end of polling next Thursday, having heard not one word of the pro/con arguments except that the bankers wanted me to vote NO, I could confidently conclude that my best interests lay in voting YES.

  • ------------·´`·.¸¸.¸¸.··.¸¸Node

    “Who are they protecting Britain from, Fred?”

    From anyone who decided to use unconventional warfare against Britain or one of her allies.

    For example?

  • fred

    “The SNP was the only major party to oppose the Iraq wars and sanctions.”

    But the leaders of all three parties were Scottish.

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