Monday, 2 July 2012

A Bunch of Bankers

Not before time, David Cameron has announced an parliamentary inquiry into the morals and ethics of the banking sector.

Considering that by all accounts, it appears that there has been widespread illegality and dubious sharp practises for some years, the comparison with the media inquiry as run by Lord Leveson makes the argument for a similar setup for the banking side just as compelling.

Lets be fair - the BBC reports that "This committee will be able to take evidence under oath, it will have full access to papers and officials and ministers including ministers and special advisers from the last government" which is good going for a Parliamentary Select Committee.

I am sure that as the head of the Treasury Committee, Andrew Tyrie has the relevant experience (being advisor to the then Chancellors of the Exchequer, Nigel Lawson and John Major; and as an economist at the European Bank for Reconstruction and Development), but the perception it creates about the relative importance of fully investigating the banking sector compared to the media means that an independent Judge led inquiry is crucial.

What is clear that all through the economic downturn and in the last few years, the Tories have argued for our European partners to be mindful of the status of the City and its contributions to the global economy when discussing the Fiscal Compact Treaty. It is clear now that the City does not suffer from a surfeit of red-tape but a lack of it.

Damn the cost of any inquiry. The banking sector has been growing fat at our expenses for years, time to call their bluff, investigate the sector fully and let anyone who whines go and find a job elsewhere.

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