Tuesday, 3 July 2012

Open All The Books – For A Workers Inquiry Into The Banks

There is something rotten in the state of Britain! The latest revelations about the activities of the banks once again demonstrates the truth of the maxim that a fish rots from the head down. It is not just the banks. The last few years have shown the greed and corruption of politicians in the Expenses Scandal; we have seen the greed, corruption, and criminal and immoral activity of the press and media as revealed over the Hacking Scandal, and further exposed through the Leveson Inquiry, which also demonstrated the connections between that media, the politicians, the police, and the Civil Service; we have seen the extent to which the members of this ruling elite, whatever Cameron's claims that we are “All In This Together”, see themselves as above the laws and rules governing the rest of society, as exemplified by the extent to which it has been revealed that Big Business, and the rich in general exempt themselves from even paying the taxes the rest of us are compelled to cough up for the running of the Capitalist State.

Back in 2009, as the Expenses Scandal broke, I wrote,
If the Torygraph have raised a moral panic over the issue of MP’s expenses they have done a great service by opening a Pandora’s box on the whole gamut of abuses that constitute the functioning of bourgeois democracy as a whole. Finding out what MP’s are claiming is only the start. We need to demand the same kind of opening of the books of the whole system of bourgeois democracy that is now being demanded of MP’s. We should have all of the expenses and other payments to the top Civil Servants, the judges, the Police Chiefs, the Military and all those other Governmental and Quasi-Governmental bodies set out in full detail, for all to see, and checked over by committees of inquiry under the control of Trade Unions. We should see all the payments and claims made by the Royal Family and their hangers-on. Similarly, the head Vicar has come out and criticised MP’s for greed, which is a bit rich from an institution, which for the last 2,000 years has leached off the poor by various means, and whose spokespeople today are wholly dependent upon the income derived from the huge wealth so obtained during that period, and on the current generosity of strangers, as well as a continuing support from the State! Let’s open the books of the various Churches and see how much wealth they have stored up on Earth, and what the expenses claims of ITS top bureaucrats are getting too.

But, more than that workers should be able to see how much of the profit of the companies they work for, are being drained in similar expenses by their top bosses, and the various Board members of those companies too. And bourgeois democracy, is about more than just the people who are elected to Parliaments and Councils, its about the whole structure of the society we live in, including those who provide the information on which the politicians are judged. Its all well and good journalists shaming MP’s, but we should also have full disclosure of THEIR salaries and expenses too. Certainly, we should know how much these rags are being paid by the bosses in one form or another to run stories, and how much they are paying out to obtain stories.

The Torygraph may have started something it didn’t anticipate. But, workers anger should necessitate a thorough investigation into the functioning and corruption of the bourgeois state as a whole.”

Open The Books On Bourgeois Democracy

How prescient that turned out to be!

Of course, workers should be able to trust their Workers' PartyThe Labour Party – to conduct such an Inquiry, but we cannot, because that very rottenness described above afflicts the head of our Party too. The leaders of New Labour were wholly embroiled in all of the mesh of connections with Murdoch's Media Empire, with the Banks and other sections of Capital that stand behind and alongside it. They are distinguished from the Tories only to the extent that slightly fewer of them are on the payrolls of the Banks and large Corporations. For example, Tony Blair is on the payroll of J.P. Morgan. The Tories refusal to agree to an Open Public Inquiry, is a blatant attempt to let their friends in the City off the hook, and prevent any investigation spreading out to uncover more of these connections, and at the same time to blame the last Labour Government – the only tune the Liberal-Tories know how to play – for the scandal. Their claim that action is needed immediately is hypocritical. There have been several Parliamentary Inquiries into the Banks, which have set out immediate measures to take. The latest of these is the Vickers Inquiry, but the Tories have refused to implement a number of Vickers' proposals! Taking immediate action does not at all preclude opening a wide ranging investigation into the misdeeds of the Banks, and their connections with other elements of the Establishment. According to the FT - Bob Diamond Threatens To Hit BackBob Diamond has threatened to hit back by revealing Barclays embarrassing dealings with regulators. Now that cat is out of the bag, we should demand in any case to know what these “embarrassing details” were!

Nearly all the Establishment from the
 CEO's and bankers, to the politicans,
 to the top cops, military brass, Civil Servants,
Judges, and Journalists come from the same background.
They all piss in the same pot.  We should trust none of them!
But, the Liberal-Tories do have a point. New Labour was close to all these Banks, did not overturn Thatcher's deregulation of Financial Services, though, of course even then the Tories wanted even less regulation than New Labour introduced. There is at least a hint that any Public Inquiry would postpone revelations about this to several years down the road. Moreover, from what we have seen so far why should workers trust ANY part of the Establishment, including the Judges to hold an impartial Inquiry into their cosy club? After all, as former T&G General Secretary, Ron Todd pointed out some years ago, when it comes to industrial disputes,

The days must go when employers can wake up a judge at the dead of night, give him a drop of brandy, show him a headline from the Sun and get him to sign an injunction” (The Guardian 5th October 1989)

If we are to have a truly independent Inquiry into the actions of the Banks, and all their dealings with Politicians, the Bank of England, Treasury Officials, the Media, the Judiciary and the Police, then we cannot leave it up to representatives of any of these organisations to conduct it impartially. We need a comprehensive Workers Inquiry Into The Banks. It should be established by the TUC, and should utilise the resources of trusted Labour Movement lawyers to conduct the necessary forensic questioning. It should call on TU appointed specialists from Revenue & Customs, and from the Treasury, and wherever else to uncover and expose the actions of the Banks, and their dealings with other sections of the Establishment. The TUC should demand from Parliament that such an inquiry has all the force of law behind it, including the right to subpoena under oath witnesses.

Its time for the British workers to clean the Augean Stables of British Capitalism.


Anonymous said...

It is disappointing hearing all these calls for the establishment to be investigated by... the establishment. Can judges be expected to hold media corporations to account? Or politicians to hold banks to account? Maybe, but only to the extent of censuring them for damaging the broader establishment, for undermining the smooth running of capital accumulation and bringing the system into disrepute.

markwrightuk said...

hi comrade i've linked to your blog now sorry for the mix up no offence intended i did intend to link to the bit you'd put although i'd not used much only the last paragraph which summed up my feelings entirely. sorry wont happen again

Boffy said...


Thanks for that. No offence taken. Imitation is the sincerest form of flattery as they say. I have to say I think it was a bit more than just the last paragraph, for example all the bits about using specialists from Revenue & Customs etc.

However, if those ideas get taken up I will be more than happy. I hope the SP will be taking up those demands, and as you are a member, I hope you will be pushing them to do so.