Look I know everyone hates bankers. Thanks to a delightful mixture of media and political scapegoating bankers are now as beloved as Joe Kinnear in the North East. However at some point surely some common sense has to breakout and we as a nation actually stand up and say ‘No, no Mr Politician and Mr Media Mogul. This is enough of the lambasting of the banking industry and can you please move on to actually dealing with the issues of the day in a grown-up manner.’ I suspect though that I’m pissing into the wind on this. As I always seem to do.
Anyway what is this latest tidbit of absolute bollocks that Labour MPs want to bring in and the coalition certainly don’t seem opposed to? Oh yes jailing bankers. Pur-lease.
Let me at this point quote from the Telegraph:
Andrew Tyrie MP, the chairman of the Commission on Banking Standards, warned that bankers had escaped “personal responsibility” for their actions, and said that drastic reforms were the only way to restore trust in banks.
Personal Responsibility. An interesting term. I do presume that said MP (and in turn all senior MPs) back a law to jail senior politicians who screw things up? Surely if they think bankers should pay in terms of jail time for making errors that force the economy to plunge then there is no doubt that they should as well? Norman Lamont’s performance on Black Wednesday cost this country £3.3bn – I’m sure that is worth a few years in the slammer under this law?
All the Labour MPs who apparently let the bankers do what they wanted that led to this recent recession must take some responsibility, yes? They ran their government in a reckless manner by not overseeing the banking industry strongly enough. They saw the good times and let them do what they liked believing that the good times couldn’t stop. I’m pretty sure sticking your head in the sand isn’t a defence under the law.
Now the thing is I wouldn’t advocate this law. Running a country and a bank and in turn any giant multi-national is probably a rather tricky job and mistakes will be made. Things will happen that you couldn’t see and outside influences will have a significant impact on how you perform which are totally out of your control. However this proposal in the Banking Commission report isn’t exactly viable and in my opinion is solely a political cheap shot knowing that the public will lap it up.
Also shall we look at it this way. The government are telling banks that they need to lend more and get money circulating in one breathe but in the next they are saying they want to send bankers to jail who give out plenty of loans that in turn can’t be repaid as that’ll be running a bank in a reckless manner. Can you see the irony?
If you are a senior banker you basically shut the purse strings with the public and deal solely with large companies and countries where the risks are absolutely minimal. Why would they deal with risky investments like lending the average person money for their business or for a mortgage? It would make no sense. No sense whatsoever considering the money they make from the public is vastly inferior to what they can make from other avenues but is in fact one of their riskier investments. Did the world’s economies stall and tank because of bad mortgages? No but they were certainly a significant catalyst.
If the government wants to bring in a criminal offence called ‘in hindsight you cocked up’ then so be it – as long as they do exactly the same to their decisions in the House of Commons and then spread it to the House of Lords then I’ll be fine with it. Just putting a provision in place to criminalise one section of the economy who make poor decisions and not applying it to others is just wrong. However the best thing to do is ignore this proposal but of course deep down we all know they won’t as the banking industry and bankers have become the poster boy/girl for public and media anger about the economy.
Jailing bankers in hindsight of what happened. What absolute bollocks. sadly though this would certainly up any governments approval rating. At this point I shall retire and despair.
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