Scotland, Woodford, Carney and dodgy behaviour dominate 2014 discussion

Former Scottish first minister Alex Salmond’s independence electioneering brought a great deal of online discussion in 2014.

Salmond’s attempt to cleave the north from the United Kingdom after more than three centuries of union came within a whisker of victory in September. 

Separatists won 45 per cent of the vote, but polls were much closer at the outset of the referendum which sent British politicians into a panic.

The result was devo-max, a move to decentralise Scottish taxation that turned into a trap for Labour, and Salmond’s resignation. Following the vote, Labour has tried to battle the wholesale move of Scottish income tax spending to its own Parliament. It fears the move, accompanied by a ban on Scottish MPs voting on English matters, could undermine its ability to hold sway in Westminster.

Salmond meanwhile, has announced he will run for the Westminster seat of Gordon in Aberdeenshire in next year’s General Election.

Neil Woodford’s new venture has also been the cause of some controversy, when he hit out at the costs of other money runners and also when Skandia made a hasty announcement that it would compulsorily move pension investors from Invesco to his new fund.

Skandia, now rebranded Old Mutual Wealth, soon reversed its plan to shut the Invesco Perpetual Income and High Income pension and life funds that held £640m. It has since created a new Woodford Investment Management fund for those that want to follow the high-profile manager.

Bank of England governor Mark Carney’s aborted plan to use unemployment data as a yardstick for interest rate hikes got a lot of flak after it was dumped in six months. 

In February, the Canadian decided to can the simplistic 7 per cent unemployment measure in favour of about 18 other data streams.

Since then, markets have focussed on rapid disinflation and, more recently, the precipitous fall in oil prices. Carney, for his part, has outlined plans for the monetary policy committee to meet just eight times a year, rather than monthly, with more transparency.

Most commented stories of 2014: 

1. FCA warns advisers and investors over EEA Life Settlements misselling

2. Salmond: Scotland has ‘3 plan Bs’ for currency

3. Mark Carney axes employment link in forward guidance overhaul

4. Wine investment firm put into provisional liquidation

5. Philippa Gee: Why Woodford is wrong to criticise fund managers

6. Lloyds could pull out of independent Scotland

7. Skandia to shut Invesco funds and switch £640m to Woodford

8. Salmond says sterling could be used as ‘transitional’ Scottish currency

9. BlackRock manager quits after dodging £43k in rail fares