Finally someone from the mainstream, Dan Baker – http://www.guardian.co.uk/commentisfree/cifamerica/2010/sep/20/tarp-bailout-banks-wall-street has been published stating what many of us knew to be a reality – the banking system was not in crisis, the bankers were!
There is a very strong case for splitting up the casino-type activities of the banks from the commercial activities. The case rests on two key points:
- Customers deposits are guaranteed by the Government and provide banks with a huge source of capital with which to go and borrow and play at the tables of the casino
- The core activities of banking that is essential to the economy – managing money and lending to consumers and businesses
There is only one argument against that I give any credibility
- If we hamper our banks in that way then a sector that accounts for 15% of tax revenues and 10% of GDP will disappear
Over the last 30 years there has been such a brain drain into financial activities that add no value at all to the society that I would have no fear for its future if the financial sector shrank considerably. I long for the day that an engineering graduate or a maths graduate actually have a wider choice of potential careers. one thing is for sure, they would have more of chance of adding value to society if many of the casino-like activities of the financial sector disappeared.
UK, last 20 years. Bankers freed from regulation shower politicians with money and jobs after politics. Politicians continue to deregulate the financial markets. The financial markets run wild and start heaping debt on to debt of ever more spurious pedigree. No one is worried because everyone is making money.
Suddenly the whole thing explodes. The bankers are now in a position to ask for favours under threat of devastating the economy. 1 trillion of favours. The Bank of England reduces rates and starts pumping in money to keep up the bond prices. Woe betide us if they ever fell.
Finally, only in the last few days have articles appeared that state that Governments are helpless and that with no more to borrow they can do nothing if the developed economies slip into recession again. Where are the bankers now? The bankers are on their boats mate!
I cannot believe, especially after seeing the recent interview with Tony Blair, that I voted for these idiots. They had never run anything, let alone a country. How could I vote for policies without any question as to the capability of the people behind them to actually implement them! That was in 1997 – at least I have mended my ways an no longer vote at all!
The Third Man’s most interesting discovery isn’t that Mandelson is just not very smart, ever, but that Tony Blair and Gordon Brown were never on the same wavelength. In brief, the first 5 years were wasted and by the time Tony Blair realised what needed to be done Brown was in a position to thwart his every attempt at actually implementing a progressive policy.
Finally, how could such a man as Mandelson be any near the corridors of power? OMG.
What does reassure me though was Blair’s admission when speaking to Andrew Marr that pragmatism rules, not ideology! He came as an ideologue and left as a nobody pelted by crowds. I have invented an old maxim “If you have 5 years in Government, just pick one thing and do it well”. We remember Churchill for war, Atlee for the welfare state, Thatcher for market liberalisation etc..
What doesn’t reassure me is that neither Cameron no Clegg seem to have actually managed anything in the real world either.