People in the UK were appalled when the Barclays banking scandal broke a few weeks ago. Those in the inner sanctum of government and business would have known what was coming. The case had been ongoing and it only became public when Barclays was fined for wrongdoing.
It appears that staff had been involved in rate rigging. The LIBOR rate had been manipulated in a way that meant customers had lost out. The fines levied against Barclays were huge. In UK Parliament politicians called for an inquiry. Labour politicians demanded an independent investigation.
Chancellor Osborne, PM Cameron, and others at the opposite side of the House, used the excuse that speed was essential to claim an MP based inquiry would suffice. Alarm bells rang in most people's heads and sure enough they sounded a true alarm.
The MP panel who will investigate Barclays, which is a majority taxpayer owned bank these days, have been carefully selected. Selected for skill and experience you may ask?. No selected so that the whole inquiry will be either a fiasco or a whitewash.
Opposition MPS had smelled a rat when Osborne waffled on about the inquiry. If you think that the MP led panel will cost British taxpayers less then think again. An inquiry will be costly no matter who participates.
One notable exclusion from the inquiry panel is plain speaking Labour politician John Mann. MP for Bassetlaw, Mt Mann, sits on the Treasury select committee (TSC) which has already given Barclay boss Bob Diamond a pasting. He did not pull his verbal punches when questioning Diamond including statements such as "grossly incompetent", "complicit and negligent", and labelling Barclays as a "rotten, thieving bank".
Mann let his anger, at being left off this panel, vent on Twitter. He Tweeted that the "New finance committee is a total joke," and on the face of it we have to agree. Panellists carefully selected to go so far and no further is a fair assumption, but we would love to be proved wrong.
Currently it smacks of lip service to keep people happy.
A few days ago the TSC was told that Mr Diamond had graciously waived his £20 million pay and bonus package, instead just taking the £2 million plus basic.
This followed his resignation from Barclays following a public outcry. It is doubtful that Barclays where the only bank behaving in such a manner. Once again it is watch this space. Barclays have been shown to be the worst offenders to date but that is all. Other cases are ongoing.
Andrea Leadsom and John Mann have been two of the most fiery inquisitors on the TSC. Both have been excluded. Those selected are Conservative Treasury committee chairman Andrew Tyrie, Conservative Mark Garnier, Labour MPs Pat Mcfadden and Andy Love, and Liberal Democrat John Thurso,
A defiant John Mann has said he will begin his own investigation into the banking system. We wish him luck with that one.
Plans for the inquiry panel will still have to be passed by Parliament, which it is expected will be sometime next week. What a sham.
Are you a UK resident? Do you want news that could either make you howl with laughter, cry in pain or spit feathers? Well hold on to your hat here it comes.
The UK government has offered £10bn ($15bn) in loans to the International Monetary Fund (IMF) to help economies in trouble. WHAT! I hear you scream.
IMF, international monetary fund, managing director Christine Lagarde is hoping to swell the coffers considerably. She wants an increase of $400bil. Of course other countries are being asked to contribute. Right now the details of countries and their additional contributions are, Australia will contribute $7bn, Singapore $4bn and the Republic of Korea $15bn.
Details of this farce can be read at the BBC here. For what it is worth here is this blogger's opinion.
UK citizens are experiencing job cuts, pay freezes, high taxes, inflation hikes, welfare cuts, increased retirement ages, cuts to the military, emergency services cuts, NHS reform, and more. That we are told is the tough medicine we need to swallow to survive. We may not all agree but we will probably all begrudgingly accept this at least for now. The next election will see most people expressing their view then by way of the ballot box.
We do not however want to be told to tighten our belts for the government to squander money to a worthless cause. Let's face it the government keeps telling us that the UK is up to its eyeballs in debt already. The EU is finished. Pouring good money after bad is not a sensible option. If you have a house that is beyond repair you tear it down and start again. That is unless you have money to waste and are happy spending on a "money pit".
Governments may feel that they have no other option but that is short sighted. It the EU is going to fail they are simply delaying the inevitable and making a mess of economies in the process.Countries such as Greece that have been thrown into deep debt will not survive without radical change. For them it will be an exit from the EU. It has to be. Those countries just protecting their own ends are not being helpful. They are adding to the impending disaster.
Asking UK people to work longer for less money and fewer entitlements may seem all well and good to our illustrious Coalition government but the people may not agree. After all telling us we will have to "suck it and see" when the people of countries we will be bailing out retire earlier and enjoy higher benefits and lower taxes is a nonsense. If Chancellor Osborne has money to squander perhaps he could reverse the granny tax, stop NHS waiting lists increasing, put more police on the streets, improve the minimum wage or commit to 100 and more other improvements sorely needed in Great Britain. Money to burn? Yes it seems when it suits there sure is.
Eileen Kersey manages TEK Staff Blog