Austerity: a fancy word for class war

The business secretary, Sajid Javid, has ruled out nationalisation for Britain’s ailing steel industry. On the other hand, when the banks were in trouble in 2007, state aid was lavished upon them in mind-boggling quantities. In the period from 2007 to 2010, the British taxpayer directly subsidised the banks to the tune of £1,162 billion. Try thinking about that for a second. That’s one thousand, one hundred and sixty two thousand million; or one thousand, one hundred and sixty two followed by nine noughts. It’s a huge number. So huge, in fact, that it’s almost impossible to imagine it. But … Continue reading Austerity: a fancy word for class war

It’s offensive how banks try to play with our emotions

Have you noticed how the banks have been trying to humanise themselves through their adverts recently? I first noticed it with the Nationwide advert which was aired in the run-up to Father’s Day. It’s a real tearjerker. I won’t go into the details as I’m sure you will have seen it. Suffice it to say that the storyline involves an old scarf which gets lost on the bus, and which a Nationwide employee finds and returns: all set to a simple piano tune and a querulous voice singing deeply emotional words. I don’t know about you, but I find it … Continue reading It’s offensive how banks try to play with our emotions

Prosecute scandal bankers

As part of my irregular series of columns investigating the state of the modern economy, I’d like to introduce you to one William K. Black. Black has a background in financial regulation. In the 1980s he was a regulator for the Savings & Loans Industry in the United States. “Savings and Loan” is the American name for what we call Building Societies. He was responsible for convicting several hundred bankers for fraud. He developed the concept of “control fraud”, which he describes as follows: “Control fraud is what happens when the people who control… a seemingly legitimate entity, use it … Continue reading Prosecute scandal bankers