Saturday, 30 June 2012

The Banks and others


On receiving an invitation from St Brides to a discussion on "Holding the City to Account" I must admit that we hesitated, and when the venue moved to St Mary's in the Elephant and Castle, very nearly gave our appologies. However we would have missed a very timely treat. It was the day that the Barcleys Bank rate fixing story broke. The speakers included Greg Palest, author of "Vultures' Picnic", a renowned investigative journalist, and expert on corporate exploitation and corruption. He was joined by Brain Basham, veteran financial PR person who could be regarded as poacher turned game keeper when it came to the question of the City and particularly banking and political ethics.

Opinions from the platform ranged beween the belief that in the least regulated society the worst people rise to the top, and that the Euro crisis is being used to eliminate regulations, through to the belief that corporations manage the world, not politicians. The latter point was ably illustrated by Greg Palest. I was going to raise the subject of Hubris, championed by Lord Owen, but it seemed inappropriate as the audience appeared to be made up largely of the St Pauls brigade.

The Q & A session was mainly devoted to what to do to the bankers and the degree to which the City needed to change. Little time was spent on how to do it and with what. Against the might of the corporate and banking enemy there was the hint of a Dad's Army defensive. There is a need for politicians to turn on the exploiters - but first they must understand their opponents.

As we left we bought Greg's book, "Vultures' Picnic". It looks like a frighteningly revealing, yet somehow entertaining, read.

John Flynn
Master Marketor  

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