Wednesday, 12 January 2011

Banks should stop apologising? When did you start.

Over the last couple of years, we've all been plunged into a financial crisis which we won't recover from for years or even decades to come. A crisis that was largely caused by the careless risk taking of the financial sector, in the full knowledge that they were too big for governments to allow to fail. Now, one of the biggest figures in banking has said 'I think that period [of remorse] needs to end'. My question? When the hell did it start, and how did I miss it?

No Diamond, you can stop apologising once you've shown genuine remorse, no sooner.

In questioning from Chuka Umunna (you read it here first, this guy will be very big in the Labour party in years to come. Articulate, intelligent, and with strong values, definitely a rising star) it was revealed that not only is Bob Diamond wildly out of touch with reality, but that his company engaged in large scale tax avoidance.

It was revealed that they had large numbers of subsidiaries in well known tax havens like the Isle of Man. As Chuka said, 'your tax efficiency is our tax avoidance'. It's no good to say that this avoidance is legal, Diamond signed an agreement to adhere not just to the letter of the law, but to the spirit of the law. Clearly, running your money through tax havens is not in the spirit of the law.

You can see the full questioning by Umunna here, from 10.49.

Another interesting fact to come from the questioning later on, Diamond admitted that neither Cameron or Osborne had spoken to him directly and asked him to show restraint when deciding the levels of bonuses. You'd have thought even if they were being lax on the banks by handing them tax breaks, the very least they could do was have a quiet word with Diamond and ask him not to be so excessive and insulting to the taxpayer with the massive bonuses being handed out.

The banks can stop apologising when they show restraint, and when they show genuine regret for bringing the economy to its knees.

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