Shine On You Crazy Bob Diamond?

‘We don’t think for a second that any bank should be a burden on the taxpayer.’ Bob Diamond in February 2010. Makes you wonder why Barclays borrowed nearly $68Om from the US Federal Reserve aka the US Taxpayer between 2007 and 2009, doesn’t it? (Private Eye, 21 January 2011, p.32)

‘There was a period of remorse and apology; that period needs to be over’ Barclays Bob Diamond told the House of Commons Treasury Select Committee a few weeks back. He was helped in his preparation by Lord Mandelson, the man who back in April last year -when the Labour Party leadership was desperately trying to convince its supporters that it was worth voting for in the upcoming General Election- said that Mr D was the ‘unacceptable face’ of banking. However, after Labour were kicked out of office Lord Mandelson’s:

views appear to have undergone a remarkable transformation and he has become an adviser to investment bank Lazards. Now it has emerged that he met Mr Diamond in the run-up to the banker’s appearance before the Treasury select committee earlier this month.

A source said the peer had offered the banker ‘some tips before giving evidence’. Mr Diamond faced tough questioning over bonuses and his bank’s use of offshore accounts. But the advice of Lord Mandelson, a silky media and Parliamentary performer, apparently paid off.

In fact, the  evidence suggests Lord M’s bash the rich phase died sometime between the polling stations closing and Labour’s post-General Election negotiations with the Lib Dems:

When presented with the Lib Dems’ plans for a mansion tax, Peter Mandelson allegedly uttered this pearl: ‘Haven’t the rich suffered enough?’

Now Mr. Diamond is to take a £9m bonus, which is a one big raspberry in the ears of all those Government ministers, from Call Me Dave down, who have threatened punishments and/or pleaded for pay restraint from the City.  Not that Labour’s leadership has much more credibility on the issue.  After all, which party presided over the boom that ended in bust? Current shadow Chancellor Ed Balls told the City of London Corporation in October 2006 that:

‘our light touch and risk-based regulatory approach- combined with the great pool of talent gathered from across the planet-…underpins London’s success as a modern international financial centre.’

The same month he told the British Bankers’ Association that:

‘my starting point as a Treasury minister, is this: what can I do- can we do together- to support and enhance the critical role that the banking industry plays in our economy?’

A few months earlier he said:

‘It is important that the Financial Services Authority continues to deliver a light-touch and risk-based regulatory approach.’

As far as is known, Ed Balls did not help Lord Mandelson with his advice to Bob Diamond (all quotes from ‘Ed Balls Balls’, Private Eye, 4 February 2011, p.5).

So we are left with a situation at the moment where:

… no-one of any weight within British politics is willing to simply say to the banksters: ’If you don’t like it here, piss off. And if you do we’ll try and ensure that you never do any business in the UK or with the UK government.’ Robin Ramsay Lobster 60, p.56.

However, things will change- surely…

Published in: on February 7, 2011 at 3:09 am  Leave a Comment  
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