Banking and a New Deal for Scotland
“An epitaph for an age of irresponsibility symptomatic of a financial system that elevated greed above all other concerns and brought our economy to its knees“. – Chancellor, George Osborne
What do we do with bank robbery and broken Britain? What’s the connection between the British State and the rotten financial system?
As I write the BBC’s Nick Robinson tweets: “Chairman of proposed banking inquiry told me it will be “A ring-fence job not trying to work out how to reform the whole banking industry”. Of course it will be. Another Leveson – another bloody inquiry headed by some establishment figure to cover up the whole rotten system is the last thing we need.
Last year Bob Diamond said “There was a period of remorse and apology for banks and I think that period needs to be over”. Today that comment looks just a wee bit premature.The reality is that the restoration of integrity in the City will not happen without serious criminal sanctions against venal traders, and this is not going to happen.
Earlier this week Lesley Riddoch posed the question would Scotland be economically ‘viable or vulnerable’ under independence? – and argued: “We are currently witnessing the collapse of de-regulated Britain. All we can anticipate is a welter of sticking plaster solutions when we need fundamental change. Radical change requires firmly held, widely shared moral beliefs so that any new reforming government is empowered to avoid shortcuts and dispense with stop-gap solutions. Britain needs a New Deal. But only the Scottish part of British society may be capable of seriously considering or delivering it.”
Over at Our Kingdom Tony Curzon Price writes: “Britain really did become a large hedge-fund with a small country attached to it. No country in the world faces as large an imbalance as we do, and rebalancing will take much more than resignations. Or public inquiries.” According to the IMF, the British stuck £1.2 trillion behind the finance sector. Read that again: well over a trillion pounds in bailouts, and loans and state guarantees on bankers’ trading. That means each one of us has forked out twenty grand to the banks – to banks we don’t control at all.
So is it time for more radical ideas about breaking up the banks and imagining a more equal Scottish economic system?
Here’s Manufacturing Consent co-author Ed Herman on global finance and power structures in an interview with America’s Real News with a few ideas:
Maybe it’s time to consider the economic questions not within the narrow prism of Euro versus the Pound but what sort of economy do we actually want? What sort of currency would best maintain that economy? What would banks look like in a Scottish society not predicated on greed, avarice and corruption?
We need to be asking more fundamental questions: what is money for?