Wednesday, 4 July 2012

Lie Bore

I've just tortured myself watching Bob Diamond's testimony to the Treasury Select Committee.  It illustrated why Cameron's proposal for a Parliamentary Inquiry, just can't stand.

One of the members of the Committee even said to Diamond that if he were an England Cricketer he'd be called Geoff Boycott.  That was a reference to the fact that just as Boycott was able to stonewall the opposition bowlers, so Diamond responded to every question bowled to him with a straight bat.  We've been here for three hours the MP admitted, and "I'm not sure we have got any further forward."

Financial Analyst, Ralph Silva, on CNBC, immediately after the hearing, said it was clear that the Committee was not made up of Banking specialists, because they had failed to ask the right questions.  On BBC News, one of the Committee, David Ruffley, a Tory MP, also admitted that they were not satisfied with the answers they had obtained, but continued to support Cameron's attempt to keep any inquiry in house.  He claimed that "We know all the facts."  But, the BBC's Huw Edwards pointed out that clearly we do NOT know all the facts.  We don't know all the facts about what happened even within Barclays let alone the 20 other global banks said to be involved.  We don't know all the facts about who knew what and when within the Bank of England, within the Treasury, and within Government.

The Shewsbury Two - Des Warren & Ricky Tomlinson -
were banged up for conspiracy to do something which
was not itself illegal, but bankers get off scot free.
One Financial Blogger on the BBC News a few days ago claimed that, following a failed attempt to prosecute a number of bankers, back in 1992, an associate of his had been told that no more bankers would be prosecuted.  And unlike the US, none have!  Why is it that during all of this period, with all of the wrong doing and criminal activity, by the Banks, the Police have not brought any prosecutions?  Why is it that, even in recent days, the word was put out that there were no laws that would allow any of the bankers to be prosecuted, when clearly the laws in relation to fraud, and in relation to Conspiracy clearly enable prosecutions to be mounted.  In the 1970's, the Shrewsbury Two, Des Warren and Ricky Tomlinson,  were prosecuted, and sent to gaol on Conspiracy charges, for conspiring to do something which itself was not illegal!!!!  Clearly, the cops and the Cpitalist State can find laws to bang up workers when it suits them, but bend over backwards to avoid banging up the rich.  This has all the hallmarks of the Police reluctance to prosecute their friends in the Murdoch Empire!  The Media also have questions to answer.  It was revealed in the Inquiry that back in 2008, academic papers were discussing the existence of manipulation of Libor rates.  Why is it that no section of the media picked up on this, and reported on it, in the way the MP's Expenses Scandal was revealed?  In the end it was the CFTC in the US, and the Wall Street Journal that exposed the scandal.

TUC should organise an Indpendent Workers Inquiry into the
Banks and the connections with the State, Politicans, Police and
Media to find out who knew what and when.
That's another reason that Cameron's cover up attempt, by a cosy ineffective Parliamentary Inquiry, cannot be allowed to stand.  There are two things needed for an effective inquiry.  The first is that those conducting it, should be independent, and have no hint of taint with the Establishment.  The second is that they should have the forensic and intellectual tools needed to question those in front of them.  The Select Committee, yesterday, showed MP's are neither independent nor have the necessary skills.  We cannot allow Judges to be responsible, for this inquiry, because they fail the first test.  The Labour Movement is the only organisation that can fulfil both these requirements.  The TUC can appoint one or more trusted lawyers that have demonstrated their impartiality by defending ordinary working people.  We also have all of the forensic and intellectual tools we need to conduct such an inquiry.  We have academics from Universities that understand all of the necessary financial technicalities; we have trade union members who work in Banking and Finance; we have people who work for the Co-op Bank; we have Trade Union members who work in Revenue and Customs, in the Treasury etc. who can provide the necessary background for the lawyers to use in their forensic questioning of witnesses, and to verify or otherwise the responses provided.

The TUC should begin convening a Workers Inquiry into the Banking Scandal, and into the connections with the Bank of England, the Treasury and the Police and Media.   We should demand that Parliament give it full legal powers to subpoena witnesses to come before it and give evidence under oath.  We want to know who knew what and when did they know it?


Anonymous said...

Beyond an enquiry, the public mood is for prosecuting some bankers. The TUC needs to start developing its own legal wing to bring private prosecutions so as to bypass the state prosecutors who will never touch beyond the surface, if they even go there.

Boffy said...


That's a good idea. However, I think that without the TUC organising a Workers Inquiry to get at the facts, it would be difficult to organise private prosecutions. The burden of proof in private prosecutions, as opposed to Civil Actions, is high.

The police would give no support for the case, and we could rely on no sympathetic hearing from any judge.

But, the other thing is that a Workers Inquiry that brought out all of these links would serve another purpose. The TUC and Labour Movement in general should be using the current situation to encourage individuals and organisations to close their accounts with thes Banks and to set up accounts with the Co-op Bank.

I'm not suggesting that the Co-op Bank is much better in some ways. A while ago I tried to find out about going to a Co-op Members meeting, and found out the nearest one was in Wales about 60 miles away! We also need the TUC and Labour Movement to organise a campaign for the democratisation of the Co-op, to ensure that it is brought properly under the control of those who work for it, and those who are members of it. That again is something that socialists and rank and file Trades Unionists will have to push for from the ground up through the workplace, the union Branch, the LP Branch etc. as well as simply joining the Co-op as an individual member, and organising within it, for greater democracy, as happened with the LP back in the late 70's. Then we had the Campaign for Labour Party Democracy, today we need a Campaign for Co-operative Democracy, as part of a struggle for real demcracy throughout the Labour Movement.