No one should above the law, be they politicians, bankers or the rest of us. The latest blatant illegality on the part of the banks should result in a criminal investigation into affairs at Barclays (the bank was fined £290m for manipulating LIBOR interest rates between 2005 and 2009). This latest criminal act is a direct result of the financial crisis and its lack of legal consequences, the banks (and the bankers) have got away with it in recent years. Where guilt and criminal intent can be established then those responsible should be charged for their crimes.
The banking sector has developed a culture of entitlement, with its something for nothing operating culture. The Financial Services Authority (FSA) has now established that there was systematic abuse and manipulation of interest rates in Barclays’ favour. Any individuals who illegally claim benefit or try to manipulate the system to their benefit run the risk of criminal convictions and prison terms – so why not the bankers who have rigged the market to the tune of billions of pounds? Since when has it been acceptable for a to be fined £290m and the only sanction is to offer to give up your bonus.
It is no more acceptable for the rich people to scam money than anyone else. Such behaviour might be acceptable under a New Labour or a Conservative Government but it is not acceptable to the rest of us. It is worth remembering that much of the illegality took place under the last Labour government, when Ed Balls and Ed Miliband and the rest of them were ‘relaxed’ about people becoming filthy rich.
There is little difference between New Labour and the Conservatives when it comes to their fawning attitude towards the mega-rich in the finance sector and it was their ‘light-touch’ (near nonexistent) regulation which helped City money men rake it in at our expense. The scandals over MPs expenses, newspaper phone hacking and the economic collapse all broke when New Labour were running the shop.
The Con –Dems and New Labour have been happy to stand up for the mega-rich and have cared little for the ordinary citizen. Resignations (and no doubt ‘golden parachutes’) are not acceptable; there have to be some real lasting consequences. So enough off the court of public opinion it’s time for some appearances in the law courts!