Since the Global Financial meltdown of 2008 and the resultant need for banks to be bailed out using tax-payers money, there has been a relentless surge in media attention on the financial sector and all that is wrong with it. Yes there is an awful lot wrong with it – there are corrupt, un-ethical and downright devious people who work in it. Just like every other industry – public sector or otherwise – in the U.K.
The fact is that the media do seem to like a sensationalist story that satisfies what they believe to be the “way” the general public is thinking. The media it seems are almost fuelling a witch hunt in the U.K financial services sector. To a degree that is justifiable because there are people in the U.K financial services sector who should be punished – but we already know who they are , where they are [ mostly in new and better paid jobs] and yet nothing seems to be done about them?
Why focus solely on the UK financial services sector when Instead of/ as well they could be getting their teeth into the absolute myriad of corruption, waste and un-ethical behaviour in the U.K public sector – something has contributed a far greater weight to the current state of the U.K than the financial sector ever did In terms of its cost to the British taxpayer! The media choose instead to continue to focus on every new story and every new revealing insight into “City” shenanigans. Don’t get me wrong – the most recent scandals to beset the city – the LIBOR scandal and the UBS rogue trader scandal – are both symptomatic of what is wrong with the Financial Sector – and that is a lack of capitalism in a capitalist sector? What do I mean by this?
Go back 100-150 years when the U.K was a great industrial empire , as was the U.S for that matter , and you found that senior people in large corporations basically had a large ownership stake in the companies they ran. There was accountability to the stock holder because senior management took responsibility for their decisions [they were the stock holder]. Not only that but senior industrialists were accountable for their actions and most probably feared the consequences of miss-management and corruption too. After all back then we had a proper legal system that actually had the balls [if you’ll excuse my French] to punish people. If problems ensued people starved – plain and simple. Come back to the present day and now what do we have? We have a system where those in charge at major U.K institutions [including the banks] have no stake in what they are doing, they are not punished for their devious and downright stupid acts and they find it easy to deny responsibility for their actions – corrupt or otherwise. The examples are too numerous to mention but what is Fred “the Shred” doing now? What is John Corzine , x- Goldman CEO and CEO of MF Global as it became the 12th biggest bankruptcy in U.S history [ in very spurious circumstances] doing now? Are they in prison, in a lunatic asylum or banished to the heap of “never to take on a senior job every again society”? No they haven’t even been punished or struggled to get back into good jobs? What happened to the management team at UBS responsible for overseeing the rogue trader there that cost the bank £1.6 Billion? Are they in prison too? I bet they haven’t even left their jobs if the truth be told!
So talking of a lack of management, responsibility and un-ethical behaviour we can turn our attentions to the U.K public sector. Excuse me but didn’t the Government fail on the biggest I.T project in history – the NHS computer system? Wasting tens of billions of pounds of British taxpayer’s money trying to develop a system that doesn’t even work? What about the scandal after scandal in U.K local councils? Their dubious contracts with the private sector, their wastage of tax payers’ money and their in-efficiency? Excuse me but didn’t the last Government in the U.K waste and spend the U.K into oblivion for the next 50 years? Who is responsible for this? Why aren’t the media focusing on these issues? Yes the financial sector needs better regulation and yes there are scandals in the U.K Financial services sector but let’s get some perspective here.
Then of course there is Europe – the definitive example of corruption, miss-management, un-ethical behaviour and the one place that most media commentators seem up in arms about the prospect of the U.K departing from its clutches?
Ask yourself a simple question. What percentage of the U.K population is un-ethical, devious and criminally minded? Then compare this percentage to the people who work in the financial services sector, the Government, in industry, in the public sector – in any walk of life and I’d bet not only would the financial sector come out cleaner than most but it’s probably sitting at the top of the “ethical behaviour” league.
Wake up and smell the coffee somebody.