Our straight talking Lancashire lass takes a sideways look at the daily news.
The banks are lurching from bad to worse
Oh dear. I swore to myself that I’d avoid the heavy-duty politico-rants, not only for the sake of my blood pressure but because I thought it might get a bit repetitive.
But the UK financial crisis is the gift that keeps on giving. And by ‘gift’ I mean the unwanted tat you sometimes get for Christmas from misguided relatives or the malicious office Secret Santa.
What’s happened this time? As if you need me to tell you. Barclay’s Bank has been caught with it’s fingers in the till (kind of). This week, they were busted for manipulating bank lending rates.
First, the books were fiddled so that Barclays appeared to be in healthier shape than it truly was during the banking crisis of 2008. Secondly, some of the staff will have profited personally from what is essentially fraud.
This will have a direct impact on some mortgage owners and small businesses, although what this will be is anyone’s guess.
And what will happen to those responsible? Nothing. Bob Diamond, Barclay’s CEO has been told off by the Prime Minister - which I imagine is about as harsh as being gently slapped in the face with cotton wool soaked in Amouage Die Pour Homme – but he still gets to keep his £17 million per annum job.
Barclays (and Lloyds, HSBC and others) knowingly sold dodgy financial products to small businesses. Products that were touted as being necessary to protect their customers from the very interest rate fluctuations they were fiddling.
The whole thing is a massive, unfathomably huge scam. But will we see criminal prosecutions? No. The worst they can expect is being knocked off David Cameron’s Christmas card list for a year or so. Then when things calm down they’ll kiss and make up, and go horse riding in Chipping Norton together. One big happy den of upper class thieves.
Couple this with the tax dodging antics of Gary Barlow and Jimmy Carr last week, and it paints a very sordid picture of an arrogant privileged few lording it over an increasingly impoverished population.
In contrast, today’s Guardian describes how we can expect to see food vouchers for the poor as part of the controversial Welfare Reforms. This comes after Cameron announced he intends to scrap housing benefit for ‘feckless’ under-25s, and also when we hear about UK hospitals facing closure because of bankruptcy.
I cannot believe that people aren’t attacking Westminster with their pitchforks right now. At a time when we are all feeling the pinch, these City crooks should not be allowed to get away with theft and corruption on such a grand scale.
I’ll finish off by saying that in the 1980s, as a family we boycotted Barclay’s Bank for their role during the South African apartheid because they helped fund the racist regime. That bank is, and always has been morally bankrupt. I am so glad to be with the Co-Op right now.