I cannot let this disappointing Tweet from our local MP John Glen go without comment. He made it on the day of the House of Commons debate about the Barclays / Libor debacle during which there was a pretty unedifying display of the kind of partisan, point scoring, shouting and insults that the public finds so disconcerting about our politicians. It was also the day after the Select Committee comprehensively demonstrated, with their pathetically inadequate questioning of Bob Diamond, that a parliamentary inquiry into the LIBOR scandal would be totally ineffective .
The facts and evidence are clear, deregulation and liberalisation of the City of London and the glorification of the greed is good culture, started with Margaret Thatcher and her neolibertarian colleagues supported by the powerful lobbying strength of the banks. They were followed by Blair and Brown and New Labour who just as enthusiastically followed the neolibertarian route of light touch regulation (lax regulation) and yielding to the lobbying power of the City Institutions. Meanwhile Osborne and the Tories were cheer-leading for the process, criticising New Labour for not going far enough in ridding the city of regulation. Clearly both major parties are up to their necks in blame for where we are to day – the evidence for this is incontrovertible.
In response to John Glen’s Tweet I would suggest that what the public wants is for our politicians to forget their petty party political squabbles and put the interest of the country first. The level of corruption, greed and clinical delusion in the city threatens the livelihood and well being of everyone of us, not least the poor people who work for the high street banks and other retail sectors of the financial industry and who are blameless*, but like the rest of us are suffering the consequences. (* except those who helped with the miss selling of PPIs and other dodgy financial products)
Yes the public want action – we want the Vicker’s commission recommendations to be implemented in full (not the watered down Osborn version), with a complete separation between High Street Banks and casino banking (rejected by Osborn) and we don’t want to wait until 2019 (another Osborne sop to the City).
We then want an independent enquiry into the whole financial mess in the vain hope that we can turn our brains on and avoid this all happening again.
NB: The narrow point that John Glen was making about Ed Balls, based presumably on the Osborn allegation that Balls interfered in the Libor rate at the height of the financial panic (since retracted by Osborn’s office) seems to be a pretty weak criticism. Ed Ball’s interference would have been in an attempt to save the financial industry in general and Barclays in particular from total collapse. It is crystal clear that Ball’s and Osborn’s behaviour towards the City would have been the same – any suggestion that Osborn would have regulated the City anymore effectively is risible.
Always Ask a Banker to Put the Lie in Writing (Bloomberg)
The revolving door between the City and Government: