The Royal Bank of Scotland has announced that it is going to make the 2,200 British artworks it owns available for public viewing, art, which includes works by LS Lowry and David Hockney.
It is difficult to know how to respond to this largesse on behalf of RBS, but I was actually under the impression that we, the taxpayer, actually owned them already.
The paintings, by all accounts, will be displayed in the National Galleries of Scotland, but in this selfless act of generosity I was considering writing to the Chairman and asking, as one of the nationalised banks shareholders, whether it would be possible for me to display one on my wall at home. I have a nice bare wall that would be very suitable to a large canvas from one of the Pre-Raphaelites.
When considering the attitude that seems to have motivated this act of condescension I cannot help but be reminded of the scene in Monty Python and the Holy Grail, when Michael Palin is eating mud. Though it explains why they are bankers if they feel they can lend you something that you already own.
The bankers still don’t seem to have grasped how devastating their actions have been over the past few years. This donation, although welcome, should simply be taken as a down payment on what they owe us, I presume when the National Galleries eventually get them they will be kept as collateral by the Government against the billions of pounds that we are still owed by RBS.