Gay jibe may lead to bank boycott

A BROADCAST by the American TV evangelist Pat Robertson, in which he lambasts Scots for "tolerating" homosexuals, has brought renewed threats from the TUC and other customers to withdraw business from his unlikely new business partner, the Bank of Scotland.

A more circumspect approach might have been expected from Mr Robertson, considering the controversy surrounding the pounds 30m deal he struck with the bank two months ago, for an Internet banking arm in the US. But tip- toe diplomacy has never been the right-wing evangelist's style. His loud, reactionary views on gays and all causes liberal had already made Scotland hostile to the banking deal.

But his attack on Scotland for betraying its Christian heritage and becoming a "dark land" has stirred up a hornet's nest. Mr Robertson went as far as to ask his millions of viewers to pray for the Scots. Now everyone, from the churches to members of parliament, is lining up against the banking deal - and the bank.

Mr Robertson told viewers on 18 May he had been entranced "by the history of that great land", from where his ancestor set sail for the New World at the end of the 17th century. But the reality of modern Scotland had been a disappointment. "In Europe, the big word is tolerance," thundered Mr Robertson. "You tolerate everything. Homosexuals are riding high in the media... And in Scotland you can't believe how strong the homosexuals are."

Before the broadcast most agreed that the deal between Mr Robertson and the Bank of Scotland was a PR disaster. Bank officials had been working hard to persuade prize customers, like the TUC, to remain loyal despite the deal. Yesterday the bank was trying to claw back ground by emphasising its Scottish heritage. A spokesman said the TV broadcast had been a surprise and that officials would be viewing and assessing its contents.

But an editorial in The Scotsman said the bank had "blindly wandered into partnership with a man who insults his customers" and whose views were not welcome in Scotland.

Up to 400 customers, including two Aids charities, have already removed their accounts. Independent financial advisers have warned that the bank is mistaken if it believes the deal with Mr Robertson - who also recently became a director of Laura Ashley - will not harm its UK business.

The TUC said it is reviewing its business with the bank. West Lothian Council said it had met bank representatives to express its concern over links with Mr Robertson: "Our position as a Bank of Scotland customer is still under review and a report is being prepared for the council's policy and resources committee."

Lloyd Quinan, Scotland's shadow deputy social justice minister, said he will raise in parliament the bank's association with Mr Robertson. "I certainly will be questioning whether the account with the bank can be moved," Mr Quinan said yesterday.

"We do not seek to damage a Scottish institution, but if a Scottish institution damages the country, then questions have to be asked."

The University of Edinburgh and the Church of Scotland were given special mention in Mr Robertson's list of Scottish religious slackers.

The university is a Bank of Scotland customer. Its chaplain, Iain Whyte, said: "This outburst makes the bank's decision look even more crass."

Gene Kapp, a spokesman for Mr Robertson, said the broadcaster's comments were taken out of context. "He indicated that Scotland has a great, proud history and like many places in Europe and in the US, what really needs to happen is a return to the more traditional values, period. It really had nothing to do with the homosexual issue," Mr Kapp said. "This deal [with the bank] is not about Pat Robertson, the religious leader.This is about Pat Robertson, the businessman."

In two weeks, the bank holds its annual general meeting. At the same time, a joint conference of Scottish churches will discuss the bank's deal with Mr Robertson. At the Bank of Scotland they must be praying to God to keep Mr Robertson's mouth shut until then.

Sport
Raheem Sterling and Luis Suarez celebrate during Liverpool's game with Norwich
sport Another hurdle is out of the way for Brendan Rodgers' side
Arts & Entertainment
The original design with Charles' face clearly visible, which is on display around the capital
arts + ents The ad shows Prince Charles attired for his coronation in a crown and fur mantle with his mouth covered by a criss-cross of white duct tape
Sport
Steven Gerrard had to be talked into adopting a deeper role by his manager, Brendan Rodgers
sport LIVEFollow the latest news and scores from today's Premier League as Liverpool make a blistering start against Norwich
News
People White House officials refuse to make comment on 275,000 signatures that want Justin Bieber's US visa revoked
VIDEO
Have you tried new the Independent Digital Edition iPad app?
News
Sir Cliff Richard is to release his hundredth album at age 72
PEOPLESir Cliff Richard has used a candid appearance on an Australian talk show to address long-running speculation about his sexuality

Sport
Mourinho lost his temper as well as the match
sportLiverpool handed title boost as Sunderland smash manager’s 77-game home league run
News
The speeding train nearly hit this US politican during a lecture on rail safety
news As the saying goes, you have to practice what you preach
Sport
Mercedes Formula One driver Lewis Hamilton of Britain (front) drives ahead of Red Bull Formula One driver Daniel Ricciardo of Australia during the Chinese F1 Grand Prix at the Shanghai International circuit
sport Hamilton captured his third straight Formula One race with ease on Sunday, leading from start to finish to win the Chinese Grand Prix

Arts & Entertainment
Billie Jean King, who won the women’s Wimbledon title in 1967, when the first colour pictures were broadcast
tv
News
Snow has no plans to step back or reduce his workload
mediaIt's 25 years since Jon Snow first presented Channel 4 News, and his drive shows no sign of diminishing
Life & Style
food + drinkWhat’s not to like?
Voices
Clock off: France has had a 35‑hour working week since 1999
voicesThere's no truth to a law banning work emails after 6pm, but that didn’t stop media hysteria
Arts & Entertainment
Maisie Williams of Game of Thrones now
tvMajor roles that grow with their child actors are helping them to steal the show on TV
Arts & Entertainment
Kingdom Tower
architecture
Life & Style
Lana Del Rey, Alexa Chung and Cara Delevingne each carry their signature bag
fashionMulberry's decision to go for the super-rich backfired dramatically
Independent
Travel Shop
the manor
Up to 70% off luxury travel
on city breaks Find out more
santorini
Up to 70% off luxury travel
on chic beach resorts Find out more
sardina foodie
Up to 70% off luxury travel
on country retreats Find out more
Have you tried new the Independent Digital Edition iPad app?
Independent Dating
and  

By clicking 'Search' you
are agreeing to our
Terms of Use.

iJobs Job Widget
iJobs General

Apprentice IT Technician

£150.00 per week: QA Apprenticeships: This company is a company that specializ...

1st Line Technical Service Desk Analyst IT Apprentice

£153.75 per week: QA Apprenticeships: This company is an innovative outsourcin...

1st Line Helpdesk Engineer Apprentice

£150.00 per week: QA Apprenticeships: This company has been providing on site ...

Sales Associate Apprentice

£150.00 per week: QA Apprenticeships: We've been supplying best of breed peopl...

Day In a Page

How I brokered a peace deal with Robert Mugabe: Roy Agyemang reveals the delicate diplomacy needed to get Zimbabwe’s President to sit down with the BBC

How I brokered a peace deal with Robert Mugabe

Roy Agyemang reveals the delicate diplomacy needed to get Zimbabwe’s President to sit down with the BBC
Video of British Muslims dancing to Pharrell Williams's hit Happy attacked as 'sinful'

British Muslims's Happy video attacked as 'sinful'

The four-minute clip by Honesty Policy has had more than 300,000 hits on YouTube
Church of England-raised Michael Williams describes the unexpected joys in learning about his family's Jewish faith

Michael Williams: Do as I do, not as I pray

Church of England-raised Williams describes the unexpected joys in learning about his family's Jewish faith
A History of the First World War in 100 moments: A visit to the Front Line by the Prime Minister's wife

A History of the First World War in 100 moments

A visit to the Front Line by the Prime Minister's wife
Comedian Jenny Collier: 'Sexism I experienced on stand-up circuit should be extinct'

Jenny Collier: 'Sexism on stand-up circuit should be extinct'

The comedian's appearance at a show on the eve of International Women's Day was cancelled because they had "too many women" on the bill
Cannes Film Festival: Ken Loach and Mike Leigh to fight it out for the Palme d'Or

Cannes Film Festival

Ken Loach and Mike Leigh to fight it out for the Palme d'Or
The concept album makes surprise top ten return with neolithic opus from Jethro Tull's Ian Anderson

The concept album makes surprise top ten return

Neolithic opus from Jethro Tull's Ian Anderson is unexpected success
Lichen is the surprise new ingredient on fine-dining menus, thanks to our love of Scandinavian and Indian cuisines

Lichen is surprise new ingredient on fine-dining menus

Emily Jupp discovers how it can give a unique, smoky flavour to our cooking
10 best baking books

10 best baking books

Planning a spot of baking this bank holiday weekend? From old favourites to new releases, here’s ten cookbooks for you
Jury still out on Manchester City boss Manuel Pellegrini

Jury still out on Pellegrini

Draw with Sunderland raises questions over Manchester City manager's ability to motivate and unify his players
Ben Stokes: 'Punching lockers isn't way forward'

Ben Stokes: 'Punching lockers isn't way forward'

The all-rounder has been hailed as future star after Ashes debut but incident in Caribbean added to doubts about discipline. Jon Culley meets a man looking to control his emotions
Mark Johnston: First £1 million jackpot spurs him on

Mark Johnston: First £1 million jackpot spurs him on

The most prize money ever at an All-Weather race day is up for grabs at Lingfield on Friday, and the record-breaking trainer tells Jon Freeman how times have changed
Ricky Gervais: 'People are waiting for me to fail. If you think it's awful, then just don't watch it'

Ricky Gervais: 'People are waiting for me to fail'

As the second series of his divisive sitcom 'Derek' hits screens, the comedian tells James Rampton why he'll never bow to the critics who habitually circle his work
Mad Men series 7, TV review: The suits are still sharp, but Don Draper has lost his edge

Mad Men returns for a final fling

The suits are still sharp, but Don Draper has lost his edge
Google finds a lift into space will never get off the ground as there is no material strong enough for a cable from Earth into orbit

Google finds a lift into space will never get off the ground

Technology giant’s scientists say there is no material strong enough for a cable from Earth into orbit