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Same fear that stalled a press inquiry drives Cameron’s hesitation on banking inquiry

Posted on 1 July 2012 | 9:07am

I never fully understood why David Cameron fought so hard to resist an inquiry into the practices of the press. As the Leveson Inquiry has unfolded, the hesitation – finally overwhelmed by the tipping point of Millie Dowler – has become apparent.

He has been similarly resistant to the idea of an inquiry into the role of the banks in the global financial crisis, which – and I speak as a supporter of the Leveson inquiry – has had a bigger impact on most people’s lives and livelihoods than Rupert Murdoch. The scandal of the Libor interest rate rigging is looking like it will lead to the kind of inquiry that should have been held into the financial crisis in the first place. Such an inquiry, which some of us have been pressing for for some time, will no doubt raise difficult questions for politicians of all colours, as has Leveson. But I wonder if Cameron’s hesitation on banking is driven by the same hesitation he had on the press – connections, and his fear that a bright light shone on the bankers will show where his real DNA lies, and who his real friends are.

And please, would at least one Tory have the balls to utter the words ‘we’re all in this together.’

  • Andy Bear

    And (according to Observer editorial) Tories get 25% of party funding from the city.They have no interest in upsetting that golden apple cart.

  • monpix

    SO true, Cameron’s past will always be an issue, as as his friends and associates. His dithering with banks and press, and his priceless ability in picking and backing the ‘wrong- uns’ will be his legacy. Ed needs to capitalize on Camerons’ woes and get himself a decent pressman. Any ideas Alastair?

  • Jonb133

    Labour should run an ad campaign with the pictures of Cameron and Osbourne with the banksters and the Murdoch’s and the rest of his croniers under the “We’re All In This Together” slogan.

  • Dave Simons

    The Conservative Party has hypocrisy and opportunism off to a fine art, far more than any other UK political party. Maybe it’s because it’s been around longer or maybe it’s endemic to the position of its more well-heeled supporters in society. So I shouldn’t have been gob-smacked to read and hear dyed-in-the-wool Tories like Nigel Lawson blaming the latest round in the banking scandal on Labour’s policy of light-touch regulation in relation to the financial industry. Words like ‘bonfire of controls’ and ‘big bang’ suddenly spring to mind from that low, dishonest Tory-dominated decade, the 1980s, plus the fact that light-touch regulation is too much for a lot of Tories, who would ideally like no regulation whatsoever. I shouldn’t have been gob-smacked, but I was. The words ‘We’re all in this together’ need only slight modification. Swap ‘we’re’ for ‘you’re’ and change the order of the letters in the four-letter word.

  • Olli Issakainen

    Full inquiry needed.
    We need a full inquiry into the finance sector.
    This should include the 2008 crash and money laundering charges.
    It is time to finally take on the Big Finance.
    Politicians have been too close to bankers for decades. New Labour was even closer to the City than the coalition.
    Peter Mandelson, a member of the Bilderberg Group and Trilateral Commission, played a key role.
    He is as close to Rothschilds as you can get.
    Key former Blair advisers are also now working for the Rothschilds.
    According to FSA banks were unethical. They did not understand products they were selling.
    Barclays, HSBC, Lloyds and RBS mis-sold interest rate hedging products.
    Then there is the case of Libor manipulation.
    Rothschilds-controlled Barclays has manipulated borrowing rate.
    Chairman Marcus Agius sits on the steering committee of Bilderberg Group run by Rothschilds and Rockefellers. He is married to the Rothschilds.
    Bob Diamond is a member of Round Table organisation Council on Foreign Relations.
    Bilderberg Group controls IMF and answers to Round Table.
    Leading politicians like George Osborne belong to the Bilderberg Group too. Sir Mervyn King is also a member.
    This is not a healthy state of affairs. Top politicians and governor of the BoE are being influenced by bankers.
    Goldman Sachs controlled by Rothschilds had to pay $550m over credit default swaps.
    There is greed, incompetence and systematic corruption in the financial sector.
    We now need to reform capitalism. We need political response.
    Complex financial instruments must be banned. Investment banking must be separated from retail.
    But the leading politicians are in the pockets of City bankers.
    Rothschilds control Barclays and HSBC. They also used to control Lloyds.
    No politician dares to confront them.

  • reaguns

    I would have thought that Cameron could damage Labour more than the Tories with a banking inquiry. After all, if you asked people on the street who is in the pockets of the bankers, they’ll say the Tories. The reality is they both are, the bankers couldn’t have hoped for a more favourable PM than Gordon Brown. So the Tories rep would stay the same but Labour’s would go down.

    Of course, this is if we had a proper inquiry, rather than a toothless Vickers report / Leveson / All The Northern Ireland inquiries style one as we will inevitably have. This would be the sort of thing that Cameron and Blair love, ie make it look you are being tough and doing something, when actually you are being feeble and doing nothing.

    A banker inquiry (which would also have to be an inquiry into ratings agencies and very importantly into the abominable FSA and the Bank of England) will almost certainly be carried out by connected people, by bankers, former bankers, and FSA/BOE people. Why not look at the people who warned about the crash, and politicians who were vehemently against the bailouts and all the rest of it, people like Gillian Tett and Ann Pettifor, maybe some Americans. Why not have a real inquiry? Never gonna happen Alastair. Whitewash city here we come.

  • Anyone listen to Eddie Mair on Friday’s R4 PM programme. Suggest that the interview with Col.Tim Collins at about 9:30 mins in, is interesting alternative viewpoint to Camoron’s.

  • Anonymous

    Couldn’t agree more – now I understand what he means by “We’re all in this together!”  I’m one of those being fleeced by the fixing of interest rates and he, and his friends in the city are those benefitting from them  –  at last it all makes sense!

    As for the hypocrisy of the Tories that it’s all Labour’s fault because they should have set tighter regulations weren’t they the ones during their Opposition years that were screaming “There is far too much!”  Again, it all makes sense why they were screaming that regulation was too tight – it was inhibiting the amounts of money they could make. 

    Aren’t I stupid?  (No rude replies please).

  • Michele

    Yes, who might have had inklings about all this ‘shocking’ stuff for years before now (as in their having more …. like nods and winks)?

    I wouldn’t be surprised if we find this type of behaviour in stockbroking firms either … re the actual profits on deals vs what investors have been being told re their take. 

    Bankers and stockbrokers invest in no more than capital, why is nothing being done about the sitting-on of BoE funds that were meant for SMEs (which they’re availing themselves of in the meantime to invest on their own behalves)?
    We’ve got Cameron flouncing around at the moment kinda promising a referendum on us pulling out of our nearest markets with which total export trade increased by many % points in the last full year and which total more than 50% of our total foreign sales …. something that isn’t likely to change with all kinds of transport costs (themselves dutiable too) skyrocketing.

    Regardless of whether we import more from them than we sell, would any EU member actually believe his or nutjob voters’ threats or ambitions re us pulling out of 2-way (as well as closest) duty-free markets?

  • Gilliebc

    A real inquiry, that would be a novelty!  As you rightly say reaguns, it’s ‘never gonna happen’ I don’t know why I’ve bothered to sign that petition really.  More in hope than expectation I s’pose.    

    Regarding this Libor rate fixing.  Yesterday there were a couple of (brave) City Traders commenting about this Libor rate fixing on Telegraph blogs/comments.  What they both said was that the rate was manipulated down and the bank’s customers had benefited from lower interest rate charges on mortgages and credit cards.  Initially I thought ‘well they would say that wouldn’t they’  but thinking on about it, I came to the conclusion that what they said had a ring of truth about it because interest rates were indeed low at that time!    

    Apparently there is no specific law (as yet) against the manipulation of the Libor rate, so I’m wondering now what all the fuss is about.  I believe that politicians are jumping on this in order to divert and distract peoples attention away from them and their utter uselessness i.e. the LibLabCon!

  • Gilliebc

    Spot-on as ever Olli.  You are however ‘preaching to the converted’ as far as I’m concerned. 

    More and more people are catching on to how this world is really run, i.e. by a relatively small number of very wealthy elite whose tentacles spread far and wide into the various clubs and organisations you mention Olli. 

    People in the higher echelons of these organisations are well paid accomplices of the elite.  People in the lower orders haven’t a clue what’s really going on.  It’s both simple and clever at the same time.

  • Libdem

    You might put it down to ‘bad’ timing but TB and GB had plenty of time in power, if they’d really wanted reform they had all the time in the world. The motivation was obviously missing due to the level of income from bank taxes. They have been in the same boat as the Tories regarding the banks.

  • Libdem

    Don’t kid yourself, Cameron is promising to think about it and no more! The majority of citizens want an opportunity to have their say about our membership of the EU; this self-same majority might just decide to stay in. I really want to see a cost-benefit result but I doubt if the europhiles would ever want me to see one.

  • Libdem

    Nothing has changed since the scandal over politicians’ remuneration, in fact they’re still at it…eg. Warsi! There is a democratic deficit in this country and the main parties want to perpetuate the status quo. As usual, the soundbites are meant to satisfy just as the pseudo enquiries but the reality is they do no more than scratch the surface of the problem.

  • Anna

    As well as an enquiry, isn’t it time to invoke the law? I know the Serious Fraud Office is often left with egg on its face in fraud trials, but the prima facie evidence for a charge of  obtaining financial advantage by deception is there in this case, I think. Nigel Lawson also mentioned an offence called ‘abuse of the market’ which I presume is on the statute book and seems to fit the bill.

    In the US they come down hard on white collar crime. Here, there seems to be an unwritten rule that men in suits who fiddle millions don’t go to prison but benefit cheats and stealers of bottled water during riots most certainly do. Time for a rethink on City crime.  

  • Ehtch

    Cameron has the worrying ability of being reactive rather than proactive. He has as much forward thinking as an ostrich with its head in the sand.

  • Nick

    Cameron would claim that it was he who instigated Leveson !.However he did not expect to be found  slithering at the bottom of the can of worms it has opened !.
    As for the banks..we found out where his loyalties are by resisting the call for a transaction tax.His latest gaff on bringing up the Euro debate is obviously a blatant attempt to get some brownie points from his back bencher’s and divert attention from the banks.It will not work on both counts because once again he will be found to be a hollow gutless self interested posh boy with no real long term stratergy.The longer he stays where he is the better the Lib Dems and ultimately we the public have have outing him and his like minded rabble.

  • Michele

    Corruption in private schools organisations :

    Has the charity status of private schools been exploited via pre-tax donations in lieu of full fees paid post-tax??

  • Michele

     There was more to it than taxes, there was also massive employment and an estate that would have emptied only ten years after filling up, had companies upped and left as everyone (even including your lot) assumed they would, while other countries were more ‘hospitable’.

    Get it in to perspective; people should not be behaving honestly out of fear of being caught because their shoulders being looked over, they should be behaving well because they are honest.
    Put the blame for this where it belongs instead of trying cheap shots in that typical ner ner ner fashion.

  • Michele

     Why would you doubt it when the figures are as clear as day?

    If you don’t see the criteria as either union with our closest neighbours or as trade, name yours.

  • Michele

    You missed ‘kinda’  and the whole last paragraph?

  • reaguns

    Another reason to reform party funding. Cut Tories off from the city, cut Labour off from the unions, have democratic party funding. Let every voter be optionally allowed to fund any parties he likes up to the value of £10. Thats a maximum of what, 30 million x 10, so 300million – more than they get now, more than they need. Then we’d see some democracy, every party would have to implement at least one democratic policy per year/election.

  • reaguns

    We should make sure those people who set interest rates to artificial levels never get to practice ever again. I’m talking about Alan Greenspan, Ben Bernanke and the Fed, Mervyn King and the BOE of course!

    Oh and we should jail the barclays lot as well, obviously. We should also tell them they are going to jail for say 5 years, but then keep them there for 10 years so that they understand how annoying it is to be given false figures.

  • reaguns

    That’s right, Cameron is as europhile as they come, Blair and Clegg will have some competition when they seek to become president of the United States of Europe! (Of course at that point they’ll realise that this will only ever be a franco german or compliant belgian job.)

  • reaguns

    Off topic sorry but I meant to ask on an earlier thread, why you don’t like Ed Miliband? And who do you like… David Miliband?
    As well as Tony Blair, I thought I had seen you write in support of Ed Balls and definitely in support of Gordon Brown (and by implication Alistair Darling.) I would have thought Ed Miliband fell within that spectrum somewhere, ie to the right of Balls and Brown just about, though well left of Blair or David Miliband.
    In terms of competence and voter appeal, well I know he gets a hard time but again I thought he’d be regarded an improvement on Brown or Balls, he certainly interviews a lot better than them.

  • Janiete

    Oh  dear, Cameron is about to make another fundamental error. If the British people were disgusted with the antics of some parts of the press, it pales into insignificance compared to the outrage directed at the financial sector. 

    Greed, deceit, criminality and reckless behaviour in our banks have brought us the worst financial crisis since the 30s. Everyone has seen first hand or experienced the consequences of their abuses and expect the strongest possible response from the Government. We need a full public inquiry to ‘go wherever it needs to’ to uncover all aspects of wrongdoing,  dangerous and dishonest practice. 

    Unfortunately, David Cameron is unable to see beyond this week’s headlines. Piecemeal, small scale, limited, closed inquiries will not command public confidence, especially when inevitably, the next scandal breaks. 

    If, as Nick Robinson is suggesting, Cameron will announce a second short inquiry just to ‘shoot Ed Miliband’s fox’ it will be another example of Cameron falling woefully short of the standards we expect from a Prime Minister.

  • reaguns

    Two off topic points I wanted to share:

    1. Read an excellent point in New Statesman just now saying Tories complain about lords reform that voting for elected senators would be bad because they would compete with MPs. NS says Tories usually pretend to like competition, in any other setting they’d say a public sector elite was trying to save itself from competition – fair point.

    2. Reading Fault Lines by Raghuram Rajan, supposedly read by Ed Miliband. Rajan is a capitalist, I would guess a centre right guy. But strongly makes the case that America needs a stronger safety net, ie dole and healthcare. I agree. That’s why, though he has been disappointing, I hope Obama wins. I think he will win easy anyway.

  • Michele

     It’s nothing to do with liking or not, I don’t trust him and can’t believe anyone else really does.

  • Libdem

    I didn’t miss promise though and the last para…can you say it in normal English?

  • Libdem

    Which figures are you talking about M? If you’re talking about trade then it’s against us in the EU’s favour. That is without accounting for our contributions that are on an ever-increasing projection. To trade with the EU does not require that you be a member e.g. Norway, Switzerland, the rest of the World.

    The argument the politicians use is the threat of our losing millions of jobs and the lack of influence. We both know that both of these are scare-mongering and no more.

    Why we would want to be within a political union with its HQ in Brussels subject to increasing levels of majority voting? If you want political union why not try it with your immediate neighbours in your street and see how it goes?

  • Libdem

    Repeating myself but we all know it’s a stitch up between the Germans and the French. There are only a handful of solvent EU states and their answer to every problem is ‘we need to raise more taxes so we can spend more of your money’.

    The European parliament and the Commission are full of highly paid jobs-worths whose role in life appears to be an ever-expanding empire which in turn will bring about even larger salaries benefits etc…see the Kinnocks for how to get fat on the backs of taxpayers…..

  • Steve E.

    We should constantly remind the Tories of  Freeing to Compete.
    Published on Friday, August 17 2007, the Conservative Party’s Economic Competitiveness Policy Group, chaired by John Redwood, published its report, examining what David Cameron described as ‘the long term thinking required toreverse the decline in Britain’s competitiveness, and come forward with the policies needed for the new supply side revolution.’
    John Redwood claimed the report would ‘offer hope to theparts of the country… that have not enjoyed a rapid growth in financial and business services.’
    And as for financial regulations, the report stated that ‘Labour claims that this regulation is all necessary. They seem tobelieve that without it banks could steal our money… This shows ignorance of how a competitive market works. Our aim is to liberate the economy from the burden of unnecessary regulations.’
    The report, of course, was endorsed by George Osborne.

  • Michele

    Ho hum …. 3rd attempt
     Exactly what is democratic (never mind controllable, or at whose cost) about limiting donations from one’s own money? 
    What is democratic about cutting people off from whoever they consider their natural allies?

  • Michele

     What do you mean by ‘democratic deficit’?

    The Warsi matter comes down to people owning responsibility, not simply thinking ‘I’m not being worse than anyone else’ or relying on not being caught before they acknowledge they did wrong.

    She must have somehow had the impression that everything was permissible.
    As a self-employed solicitor beforehand she might have been unaware of the differences when representing another body during business travel.
    It was her new employer’s responsibility to advise her of ‘Class I restrictions (unless husb just happened to pay for his own travel and coincided it with her schedule).
    It’s been out in the open for over a year that her ‘husband’ (parenthesis due to him not yet being divorced from the preceding wife at the time) was present at her meetings; we’re turning in to a Potentate, it’s the stuff of a TV satire.

  • Dave Simons

    It was such a relief yesterday to witness Jack Straw and Alastair Darling reminding the people on the opposite benches that they initiated light-touch regulation of the financial industry long before Labour, but it would have been helpful if they had had some ready quotations from Tory comments on too much regulation during the period 1997 to 2010. I hope Labour researchers get that together quickly, otherwise we’re going to suffer another Tory mantra about how the current crisis was all Labour’s fault, as happened during yesterday’s not-so-glorified ping-pong match in parliament.

  • mightymark

    Absolutely right – and could we stop this silly “they did it to get the taxes” nonsense. The taxes (unless you are a real conspiratorial nutjob – and there are one or two posting here) are there to provide a health service, education  and all the other desirables that make this a civilised place to live.

    And while we are about it let’s no forget the huge amount of income and employment that financial services provide to the UK. I know it is popular, especially in the Labour Party to bemoan the loss of other industries and our dependency on the financial sector. I feel a bit the same way but it isn’t clear to me that
    there are any immediate prospects of alterrnatives and petulantly destroying a profitable bit of the UK (which for all its faults pays substantial amounts into the exchequer) looks to me like a death wish.

    What to do about the clear evidence of corruption? I think part (and only part) of the answer is to have a system similar to that in the legal and medical profession whereby wrong doing by individuals can lead to their being “struck off” – stopped from working in the industry – for life. No doubt there are all kinds of loopholes that would need closing etc, but fines for those employing such individuals should provide some disincentive to employing them when banned.

    Ed Miliband, who was not my choice for Labour leader, has played a blinder on the issue and the fact that the proposed Tory chaiman of Cameron’s “inquiry” is now getting cold feet about it suggests his (Ed’s) instincts are well tuned.

  • Gilliebc

    ‘If you’re old enough to commit the crime, you are old enough to face the punishment’     Cameron talking about rioting youngsters on the 10th August 2011           

    ‘People have to take responsibility for the actions and show they’re going to be accountable for these actions’      Cameron talking about   the (alleged) fraud at Barclays Bank on the 28th June 2012        

    The above info. came from RT’s Stacey Herbert.      

    One rule for the elite and quite another for the ‘little’ people. As per usual.

  • Dave Simons

    Thank you Steve – that information is just what’s needed. I wish it had been made available in the Commons on Monday.

  • Michele

     ‘promise’ melds with this, which is already ‘normal English’ but I’ll lay it out nursery rhyme style, just for you  :

    Regardless of whether
    we import more from them than we sell,
    would any
    EU member
    actually believe his or nutjob voters’
    threats or ambitions
    us pulling out of 2-way
    (as well as closest)
    duty-free markets?

    Cameron is pirouetting, showing off if you like.  He will soon slide in to side curtains and push someone else in to centre stage to handle the ‘referendum’ issue. 
    EU partners know fine well we cannot actually pull out and nor can Cameron risk a vote for us doing so.
    We do not have the ready markets to replace theirs with.

  • Michele

     Oh gawd do you do no other reading than here ?

    According to HMRC re our last full trading year (ending 2011) 8 of our top 10 customers are in the UK.
    You think replacing their custom with other buyers for our specialist / high tech exports could happen at the flick of a switch …… if so why wait to replace them rather than simply add to them if the markets are there and are profitable?
    Is their fact that our EU sales are duty-free part of the reason for our export markets?  How would we get round the lack of that advantage with non-EU buyers?
    Yes we import more from 8 of those 10 than we sell but we do so duty-free, NOT inconsiderable figures. 
    We also pay less for the freight of those imports over shorter distances  and freight itself is also dutiable.
    Your ‘comparison’ re other non-EU nations ignores freight (not to mention Customs delays).

    Regardless of the present state of our BoT with EU they presently comprise over 50% of our total export sales and as our exports are not whimsical purchases, much of it being serious stuff we simply wouldn’t want to sell more to some nations ….

    Lastly but as importantly, I wish to be a good neighbour that has good neighbours.  I find it works IRL.  Perhaps you’re the one that needs to experiment?

  • Michele

    Well said.

  • Michele

     Durrrrrr re my typo 2nd para ….
    According to HMRC re our last full trading year (ending 2011) 8 of our top 10 customers are in the EU.

  • Michele

    I’m not sure whether ‘lowest interest rates ever’ was mentioned in PMQs just now?

  • Michele

     I don’t think any activity has been described as criminal yet Gbc.
    Greed … yes … and on an even more massive scale than exists in retail (with ever-increasing margins once a brand becomes popular).

    In case any crime does become exposed I’m hoping people like Mr Diamond won’t escape back to USA (from where we know only too well extradition is unknown).

  • Michele

    Yawn ….. same old same old spleeny green crap.

  • Michele

     I listened to it on iplayer; I wish he’d been asked for feedback about the changes happening to our military, those families that are being shredded.
    Am not sure why he hasn’t been.

  • reaguns

    Exactly. The European Union may have been set up with grand aims, but it now exists for the benefit of the eurocrats themselves, not their subjects. Dunno if you saw Michael O’Leary address them last year when he lambasted their rules whereby it is “illegal” for euro commissioners to travel in taxis or on ryanair, only limos and first class doncha know.

  • reaguns

    Surprised you quibble this one Michele. I’d have thought the democratic point was obvious. One man one vote – that is democracy, but it isn’t really worth much if whoever he (and countless others) votes for is then manipulated by vested interests, whether that be billionaires, the banking industry, the trade unions, or the likes of Rupert Murdoch. A person with money, or an organisation with money, has more say than one man with a vote, or a comparable sized organisation with less money – that is not democratic, you agree with this hopefully?

    Regarding the cost, fair point, well as I’ve stated £10 per voter per year would amount to a sum far beyond what the parties currently receive. Obviously many people wouldn’t pay, particularly in the early years as parties struggled with getting used to having to do what voters want, rather than what they themselves and their clique of donors want, but I reckon there would still be more than enough to both cover the costs and to fund the parties better than ever. In fact it might have to be made £1 or £5 instead if too high, or make it compulsory if too low (those who didn’t want to vote could donate their whole stake to maintaining the system.) Their are plenty of civil service bods who could work it out.

  • Anonymous

    Suppose it shows that our democratic system is impotent to, and falls at the feet of, the press and The City. It seems that it has become that they set the rules we live with in our day to day lives.

    It is quite gaulling that the media and the financial sector have turned into some sort of perpetual motion machine, where they regard  that we are here for them, rather than the other way around, in which it obviously should be. That is how it was mostly in their histories. They have both become self-serving to a high degree, and bugger the rest of society, which must be 99% of it. Very bizarre situation.

    I have said it before, the main factor it has become a mess is the infinite increasing effectiveness of information technology capabilities in the last twenty-five years since that switch-on in The City in ’87, and with the media, the end of compositing and all that in printing. Mankind hasn’t even yet got the hang of it. Information in milliseconds is not always a good thing, as we are finding out. Blame it on bits of silicon/sand.

  • marika

    Why would we need to look for replacement markets, they’d still want to trade with us?

    The market argument doesn’t hold up financially, they benefit more than us even if we were outside.

    Forget Cameron’s gyroscopic contortions, we should leave before they want even more money from us….and they will!

  • Libdem

    Good neighbours say it how it is so, I’ll remind you.

    We do not need to be fully paid-up members of the EU to trade with them. We can still export to them and import from them. What part of that don’t you understand?

    If Switzerland and Norway can do it, why not us? You seem to be under the impression that it’s either the EU or non-EU, why not both? And it still doesn’t mean you have to be a member. Are China or the USA members?

    On purely financial grounds there is no argument for our continuing to be members of the EU.

  • Michele

     For someone that pontificates so much about tax you don’t seem to be too worried about our imports and exports ALL becoming taxable to us and our customers (as in being  dutiable) if we leave the EU.

    Empty threats (or promises as Cam would say it).
    There will not be a referendum, just as Cam did not veto the EU rescue package for Greece etc, he simply abstained but wrapped it in butch jargon.

  • Michele

     Blimey, he’s just really overturned the tables in the temple !!

  • Michele

     Do you seriously think that we would not affect the goodwill we currently share with our closest neighbours if we say ‘I’m alright jackass’?

    See many mentions all over elsewhere and for days about TAX as in duty as in on items as in on their freight as well as the goods. 

    At the moment all our trades with EU are tax/duty-free to us all – that means our sales (to EU customers) and our purchases (from EU makers/growers) are cheaper end-cost for buyer/s.  Isn’t it all very simple?

    Our sales there were growing in the last full year, especially to the new members.

    Our trade to / from anywhere except EU has unavoidable and  skyrocketing costs associated of flying/shipping/refrigerating/storing/customs commissions.  High invisibles?  Only till we have to pay for them and can see nothing in return.

  • Michele

     If a person does not want their support to be given to the party their union block votes for then they don’t need to join and pay subs.

    They can still enjoy the benefits the union achieves for workers.

    Closed shops are illegal though no doubt that’s flouted in places. 

  • Anonymous

    Furthermore, this should be of interest for ones that can get their heads round it in it’s implications and based on present judgements.

    I see it clear, but I have always been capable in science and maths, with simple applied engineering lines also to it. It is a piece of cake in crossover technical/philisophical thinking in inverse hindsight. But will no doubt turn out completely different, it always does. Link,

  • Anonymous

    offtopic, Murray is struggling a bit, ey Alastair. But did well to win the second set. Hope he pulls his pants up… and get on with it.

  • Michele

     I would imagine that these people’s CVs by themselves will sort out their futures.
    Given what was said by Bob Diamond today I wouldn’t be surprised if some of the ‘lower orders’ whose emails he found so repulsive get invited to the committee.
    There was a timely episode of ‘Secret History of our Streets’ this week, about Portland Rd where bankers have become the main owners, trying to claim some shabby chic cred …. 

    Msg for Ehtch …. there’s a lovely backside at the end 🙂

  • Gilliebc

    As far as I understand it Michele, it isn’t a crime as such. Just a but unethical I suppose. But as they (the traders) manipulated the rate lower rather than higher, which benefited the bank’s customers in terms of lower interest rates on their mortgages and credit cards, I can’t really see what all the fuss is about.     

    I do suspect however that this useless Tory led government is trying to take the focus of attention away from their dismal performance and put the spotlight firmly on the Labour government which was in office during the time that this alleged manipulation was said to have occurred.  It should not be forgotten that the Tories, then in opposition were forever squawking about fewer regulations!

  • Gilliebc

    Further to my previous reply to you M, I just wanted to draw your attention to a rather good piece by Sue Cameron in the ‘comments’ section in the Telegraph blogs, entitled ‘George Osborne’s Revenge on the Labour Party will Turn Sour’ 

    Yeah I know it’s what you refer to as the Toxigraph, but I promise you it’s well worth a read.  She says what I’ve been thinking i.e. that it’s a Tory plot to discredit Labour.  Only of course she puts it so much better than I can.

  • Anonymous

    I understand that, its not what I’m talking about, ie unions, I’m talking about all the current undemocratic methods of funding parties. But seeing as you mention this, union block voting is still less democratic than if all the union members voted separately for what they want personally (almost certainly different in most cases than what the union wants), before we even ask who gets to block vote on behalf of all those voters who aren’t in unions.

    Don’t get me wrong, I think unions exercising influence this way is preferable to Barclays, Murdoch, or Haliburton doing it. But it is still less democratic than the system I put forward. I certainly wouldn’t have voted for, or agreed with, the stance of any of the unions I was in, or any of the reps who worked for them. Useless to a man, and not in the way you perhaps think ie too militant, rather they were all poodles for management.

  • mightymark

    “I would imagine that these people’s CVs by themselves will sort out their futures.”

    One would certainly hope so but given that the “shabbiest” might be “employable” precisely because they are shabby (if you see what I mean) there should be strong disincentives to their doing so.

  • Michele

     Unions are well aware that many of their members are no more likely to exercise their vote than are any other members of society. 

    I wonder how much more likely voters  would be to stump up their tenners (or lesses).

    I don’t have an alternative suggestion to yours but still would not want that accepted.

    It’s not about conservatism or lethargy it’s about not being demonstrative and melodramatic for its own sake …. a la Gove and Shower.

    we’re back to my lack of appreciation for a wannabe ‘teach them all a lesson’ MO based on no expertise.

  • Michele

     There’s no ‘artificial’ about it.

    There’s manipulation which by its very nature unavoidably benefits one side or the other on any given day, lender or borrower gains or loses ( but the manipulation is managed by those that will always gain either way dependent on their colleagues’ activity). 

    That is their job whether we like it or not, it’s the size of their bonuses that needs taking out of the equation.

    Brilliant convo here

    If I had debts I would enjoy a low interest rate, if I had capital I would not
    < who has the most capital?  Will we get to the 'why' of initiation of an Inquiry happening at last and who's really most frightfully upset about the news? I think we will find way way far more corruption in stockbroking and pension funds.

  • Michele

     Thanks Gbc have bookmarked it for later ….. coffee’s over :-(. 
    I’m afraid it’s the posters there that turn me off most of its blogs, the EDL presence all over it is what’s scarey. 
    By coincidence Delingpole, whose columns used to get the most rabid battles (between greens and denyers), was on radio the other day and sounded much more calm than his columns there do.

  • reaguns

    I’m genuinely surprised. Thought democracy would be common ground. You’ve gone conservative on me again. I don’t see that it’s showy, my system (I’m sure it’s not my system) would genuinely increase the power of the ordinary citizen, but reduce the power of money, of business, of vested interest.

    As for expertise, in democracy we all have equal expertise. It’s not as if John Stuart mill, the founding fathers, the chartists, the radicals and the levellers are still around to guide us.

    Another one for your “experience” point. Yes there are times when experience brings clout. If it comes to treating a person with a disease, if I neither have the disease or can treat it, then there are limits to what I can say. But with education etc we all have experience from at least one end. You wouldn’t say that only bankers can comment or rule on banking.

  • Gilliebc

    I reckon your first para. in particular is almost spot-on Ehtch. The only slight quibble I would have is with the words ‘democratic system’.  Given the evidence in front of us, I would say we have the illusion of a democracy.  Or, as Dave S. sometimes puts it, ‘partial democracy’.  Which I think is a good and perhaps more accurate way of describing it.

  • Michele

    Are you really never ever going to realise that the question has ONLY ever been WHAT exp  …. sigh …. as in is it real or picked up and copied (or worse ….  expanded)?  
    We all have the right to opine, some do it based on known facts and some of us do it by agreeing with comments from elsewhere but extrapolating heavily. 

  • reaguns

    Really? I have said quite often, more near the beginning of his term, that he seems the most trustworthy leader of either party I’ve seen since John Major! I have no evidence for his trustworthiness or lack of it, just a kind of a hunch… which is how a lot of people vote after all. Then again many have different hunches about him, my father for example hates Cameron, and favours labour over the tories always, but says he just thinks Miliband is a nobody as well. My folks wanted David Miliband to be labour leader.

  • reaguns

    The artificial part I was talking about was an attempt at a joke (never that good an idea with economics), pretending I was on about barclays and libor, but really complaining about people setting artificial interest rates, which is the job of Mervyn King, the Bank of England, and his counterparts at the Fed.

    The rates central banks set are always artificial, real rates can only be set by the market. If market players try to set interest rates too high, they’ll lose customers, too low and they will lose a lot of money to bad customers so its in their interests to compete to get them right.

    Setting interest rates artificially too low was one of the main causes of the financial crisis, not the only one, but probably enough that it couldn’t have happened without it, arguably the main one (certainly in the top 4 with unregulated derivatives, bailout/moral hazard, and government pushing home ownership.)

  • reaguns

    Just clicked the link! Niall Ferguson?! Wouldn’t have had you for enjoying a conversation with him. I thought I was a fan of his, enjoyed his books, documentaries, and his battles with Paul Krugman, which I think he won hands down but I am biased… not for Ferguson… just against Krugman.

    Then I found out apparently he is a fan of Cameron! And even more surprisingly found out that he thinks Bush and the Fed, and also Brown, Darling, the Bank of England pursued “almost certainly the right policy” at the time of the crash. I don’t think he was talking about bailouts, though he may have been, but in terms of quantitative easing and all that. I disagree. I recognise he is much more of a scholar and an expert than me… but there are other experts who disagree with him on that. I do agree with him on a lot though. I loved the documentary “The Ascent Of Money” where he got variously striped economists on and let them talk, very interesting, its when I became a fan of Nouriel Roubini (who I think you liked the sound of when I mentioned him before.)

  • Anonymous

    My description of “our democratic system” is as it is now, which is not as ten years ago, it has eroded, and I am just doing my little bit for it not to be eroded by the same quantity by in ten years time.

    You could say increased communication abilities in our society is a charter for fascists to get quickly up and running, you could say, in a way Hitler and his propogandists of the early 1930’s could only dream of then.

    And by the way Gilliebc, excuse my spells, I am crap with it, no matter how many hundred lines I tell myself to write galling

  • Anonymous

    reckon london will come to a standstill with the semi tomorrow/today, the ladies especially, they like a bit of tennis… banging balls – ok ok, had to be said.

    Don’t bother going into shops tomorrow, especially hairdressers and clothes shops, I think service will be slow.

  • Gilliebc

    Yes I know what you mean about some of the posters, the ones who try to turn any blog on any subject into a series of vile slurs against our immigrant population. Muslims in particular.  I don’t personally believe we have anything to fear from muslims as they have no real power either politically or in any other way.

    One of the many problems is that people have been led to believe that muslims were responsible for 7/7 and that is just not true.  There is much hard irrefutable evidence out there to suggest otherwise.  There are many good vids and some not so good vids on YT on this subject.  One of the best imho is entitled 7/7 Ripple Effect.

    An ex-police advisor has recently lost his 17 year job with Yorkshire Police because he will no longer go along with the official version.  He and another bloke have made a video about it, but I found it a little disappointing because it’s too quirky with distracting stuff and awful background music. 

    I much prefer to have verifiable facts delivered in a calm straightforward way, which is why the Ripple Effect vid. is so much better. Again imho.  We all perceive things differently and hold varying beliefs according to our nationalities and upbringings.  But some things (such as death and taxes) are irrefutable.

  • Anonymous

    Response to below, due to disqus – my comment was giving you an outball.

  • Michele

     There can never be single policies that fit all requirements in every area; for every person that Govts want to help with low interest rates for mortgages etc there will be others that will be be getting the wrong end of the same stick re interest on their savings/capital.

    Proving criminal intent is harder than slinging mud.
    I fail to see any outright wrongness in the Libor scandal yet druggy Osbo is blaming Ed Balls although he was Children’s Minister at the time!

    What’s wrong about it is the flippancy of the fairly menial types whose days were about setting it …. yet more examples of the Smith >< Michel 'dialogues' ....... overpaid clerks thinking themselves knights, thinking 'If I'm getting it I must be worth it'. Does anyone think Diamond was cc'd into the messages the glorified (and probably overgrown) clerks sent each other? Bonuses are the poison, just as they are in any business area where performance is judged on profit margins which by its nature means the preceding part of the chain just has to be exploited.

  • Anonymous

    In terms of interest rates, you are right there can never be a policy that suits everyone, and indeed Mervyn King and co set the rates low or high based on their genuine beliefs for the overall good of the country (I have different beliefs).

    However there are policies that can be called capitalist and policies that can be called anti capitalist, and we can say for certain that the policies at the Bank of England and at the Fed from the year 2000 onwards, were not capitalist, because under a capitalist system saving should be relatively rewarded and borrowing relatively punished, we had the exact reverse of that, and of course its even worse now.

    That’s fine, they may do that for the good of the country at this point, though in hindsight the earlier policies did not serve the country, but it means people who say “Capitalism has failed” are very very wrong because low interest rates are not capitalism.

    And nor is having interest rates set in this soviet central planned command economy fashion. It is a bit strange to watch those who manipulate interest rates artificially tell off barclays for manipulating interest rates artificially! I do recognise the difference of course.

    As for the clerks, well yes but the done thing is usually that the CEO gets highly paid (as Diamond did) but takes the fall for things like this. A worse crime he has committed is get paid £120 million over a time when if you’d paid £1 for a barclays share it would now be worth 29p.

    As for Balls, don’t think the Childrens minister thing matters, no one would deny his influence on economic policy would they. Andrew Neil when interviewing them this week seemed to say there wasn’t necessarily anything wrong with figures in govt wanting libor depressed… and that they should come clean. 

  • Anonymous

    Big balls are being banged in Centre Court in SW1 at 2pm tomorrow. That is the right postcode, is it? Always puzzled me why London has “special” postcodes, the facist living twats.

    Anyway, show your balls Murray, song for you, since, when I have had a chance on beeb telly, have looked in your eyes, so found, myself, your karma Andy, so a song to play as you approach tomorrow – I know you butt, you Will like this, play it, and think of it, when on a piece of grass, in that england,

  • Anonymous

    Whats goodwill got to do with anything in terms of markets? Prices rule. Look how many cars Japan sells in China.