The lack of a proper inquiry into banking catastrophe seems odder by the day
Posted on 21 February 2012 | 8:02am
Am I missing something here? Am I the only one – with the exception I hear of Tory MP David Ruffley – who thinks there should be a full public inquiry into the banking catastrophe?
The thought came to me last night – to be honest it is never far away – watching Newsnight’s reporting of the seemingly never-ending Greece/eurozone crisis. For who should be exposed as being at the centre of the Greek drama but Goldman Sachs, golden boys of the banking world, self-styled masters of the universe?
Their defence for their role in hiding Greek debt – just a billion or two here and there – was basically ‘well, everyone was at it.’ It might just about get them through the embarrassment of a negative Newsnight package. But I would like to see the line tested by judges with powers to subpoena witnesses and call for papers and emails.
The Greece situation does seem to be coming to some kind of conclusion, admittedly not for the first time. None of the solutions are pretty.
It is possible to feel some sympathy for them at the thought of outside technocracts being installed to implement a terrifyingly austere plan. It is equally possible to sympathise with the Germans and the Dutch and all the others who are essentially having to foot the bill for the next bail-out. Where I feel little sympathy is for those European leaders of the political and fnancial establishments who shoehorned countries like Greece into the euro in the first place.
I now realise the terms of my banking inquiry are growing, but that too needs to be properly investigated. What was the purpose of the Maastricht criteria if countries were being welcomed into the euro when those welcoming them knew they had no chance whatever of meeting said criteria?
So back to Goldman Sachs, and the help they gave. Look back at recent economic history, whether sub-prime mortgages, the Global Financial Crisis, and now the Greek disaster in the eurozone, and B-A-N-K-S will be right there at the heart of what went wrong.
And there is to be no proper public reckoning? Really?
PS … thanks for all the nice comments and tweets about last night’s Panorama, and thanks too for the not so nice ones … at least you watched! But after the half hour on booze, tonight is the big one, an hour on bagpipes. First Love, Sky Arts 1, 8pm. I know there’s Champions League football, but this is bagpipes right!