By Alex Robertson
I doubt if any reader of the newspapers or watchers of the television news coverage of the latest outrages in the banking sector could easily contain their sense of anger and betrayal.
From new flaky interest rate swap ‘products’ force-fed to their small business clients, to the market-rigging of the LIBOR rate which effected everyone in the country, the banking sector of the UK is utterly unfit for purpose and a total disgrace and disaster.
But it doesn’t stop there. My anger is aimed at the UK governments, firstly who allowed this calamity to happen, (thank you Messrs Brown, Darling and Balls who either knew or ought to have known that LIBOR was being manipulated 7 years ago, and did nothing about it), and even more for the cack-handed response of the Con-Dem coalition. How they trumpeted the need to reform the banking sector before, during and even after the last election. And then? Nothing.
For two years the coalition government have wasted untold millions on a fatuous referendum on a voting system nobody wanted, have spent billions in playing along with US imperialistic warmongering, and yet there has not been a squeak about banking reform.
What happened to the urgent need to split the retail banking sector from the dodgy investment banking sector? Or the disgusting bonus culture that is rife in the City of London and its outposts, identified before the last election by Dr. Cable as lying at the root of the 2008 crisis? And what happened to the urgent need to strengthen shareholder rights to restrain the unmitigated greed that permeates the entire business.
Nothing, in answer to each and every question above. Such silence raises the suspicion of corruption at the highest levels of government and banking. Indeed, if you listen to Mervyn King and Vince Cable, the City of London is corrupt to the core, a cesspit, and infested with a culture of cheating, rigging and activities which even the basest spivs would flinch at.
And Scotland is meant to somehow feel good about being a part of this unholy alliance of government and money-grubbers?
It is always much better to consider these matters free from any emotional distraction. And after I had gone for a good walk and worked off my anger, several points seem clear to me.
It is entirely possible that Westminster, or at least Downing Street, is in the pockets of the bankers, and in return for inaction they get bankrolled. The second point that comes into clearer view is that if we depend on Westminster to ensure a fair, honest and decent financial sector, then we are living in a fool’s paradise. And the third inference we can make is that this is just one more bit of evidence that the UK is a failed state.
I spent a long time working in South East Asia, and observed at first hand, in places like Indonesia and Malaysia, the deadly effects of corruption. Make no mistake, this is absolutely no time for timid pussyfooting around the problem.
The only way to tackle corruption is to root it out, from top to bottom, without fear or favour and to spare no effort or anyone’s feelings with a relentless, even at times apparently savage intent. We do not need an enquiry.
As Mr. Cameron and the Governor of the Bank of England say, we know very well what went wrong and what has to be done to fix it. The acid test is if Westminster will do the things they know are necessary or whether they defer to the fat-cats in the City.
The final conclusion I draw from this dreadful mess, is that anyone in Scotland who thinks it is a good plan to link Scotland to this corrupt UK needs to wake up. It is rather proof positive that Scotland is in danger of being dragged down by Westminster and London corruption and incompetence.
Better as far apart as possible in terms of government I should say.