Is Labour up to reform of the banks?

2013 is tipped, if not as the Year of the Dragon, then as the Year of UKIP, which only goes to show how disoriented and dysfunctional the UK political system has now become. Their philosophy – the country’s going down the drain, immigration and gay marriage show how far it’s been torn from its solid traditions, and the real answer is complete exit from the EU (a non-sequitur if ever there was one) – illustrates how far the national debate has been capsized by marginalities that distract from the real fundamentals. Those centre round the catastrophic collapse of the West’s business model and the unwillingness of any political parties to face up to the hard imperative of implementing an alternative that works. Continue reading

The proposed reform of LIBOR will still fail

Martin Wheatley, the head of the new proposed Financial Conduct Authority which is supposed to regulate and prevent wider issues of malfeasance in the City than the FSA was able (or rather, unable) to deal with, recently had this to say about the LIBOR (London Inter-bank Offered Rate) which acted as the benchmark for $300 trillions of derivatives across the international economy: “a broken system built on flawed incentives, incompetence and the pursuit of narrow interests that are to the detriment of markets, investors and ordinary peoploe”. Continue reading

FSA takes on City chancers – oh yeah! and only 6 years too late

Wow! “We need to have a low tolerance for firms that consistently bump along the bottom”. With a warning like that from the new head of enforcement and financial crime at the FSA, Tracey McDermott, the Big Five banks must be……………….laughing all the way to the bank. We’ve heard all this sort of thing before: mistakes were made, we express our regrets, but we’ve learnt our lesson, and these things will never happen again………..until the next time. Continue reading

Why are the Tories so coy about a judge-led inquiry?

Parliament was at its worst yesterday. The mud wrestlers Osborne and Balls were so dementedly determined to lay toxic blame on each other for the shocking LIBOR scandal that the City escaped with hardly a bruise to its name. The difference between a judge-led inquiry and a special parliamentary select committee inquiry is not that huge, but as at Ypres those few yards of terrain were fought over with such ferocity as though the next election depended on it. But one question hung over the assembled battleground, unanswered. Why were Osborne and co. so obsessively manic about blocking a judge-led inquiry? Continue reading

Cameron’s No 1 priority: protecting the City of London

How does Europe manage to do it? It’s demolishing the Tory party far more effectively than the Labour Party is. Can you believe it – Cameron is going to Brussels this weekend to save one thing – the City of London. No other industry, not the rest of us – only that part of the British system that brought about the crash which will push UK indebtedness to a staggering £1.4 trillion by 2014. Then he’s going to fight tooth and nail to stop a EU-wide Financial Transactions Tax which is needed to rebalance the economy away from finance to manufacturing (which Osborne keeps saying he wants to happen) and to discourage the recklessness and ‘animal spirits’ in the City trading rooms. Well done, Dave, that will really help. But that’s not all by a long chalk. Continue reading