Apologies for linking to The Daily Mail link. Strange days. They happen to be doing a fair bit on the issue at the moment.
“We must get the banks lending” is a phrase that’s now been patronisingly trotted out to us for longer than World War 1 lasted.
Hundreds of billions have been thrown at institutions of proven and endemic fraud (i). Curiously, our iron willed leaders haven’t brought similar success to influencing them as they have to smashing social infrastructure, handing it to corporations for private profit (often with themselves on the board) or screwing the poor to save the odd 10 million which we’re told is vital to saving the economy.
The banks are still failing to properly use the money for the reason it was intended. Every now and again there’s a new wheeze – again heralding that soon we’ll see the “green shoots”.
In the WWI analogy, the “green shoots” canard has roughly the same function as “home for Christmas”.
The ideas about getting the banks lending don’t vary much. The central plank generally involves giving lots and lots of money to banks, or at least under-writing the potential of it.
Where does the money come from? Well it’s funny money in lots of ways, but it will certainly come back to bite the little people where the sun don’t shine.
Government these days doesn’t trust itself much to lend money to the sort of business that could get the wheels moving properly again. Government is just a bunch of people we elect to supposedly represent us and run important stuff. Government tends to say government is useless, and banks are sufficiently competent at organising money instead – just as the evidence precisely doesn’t suggest.
Last July saw the launch of a scheme called “Funding For Lending”.
This passage from the linked Mail piece gives a vital and jaw-dropping point that either I previously missed or forgot (my emphasis with the capitals)
“Under the scheme, banks are allowed to borrow an unlimited amount of money for as little as 0.25 per cent as long as they MAINTAIN, or increase, their lending.”
Yes, you did read that right. Banks have been given LIMITLESS amounts of dirt cheap lolly in the hope of changing their behaviour. In return, they don’t have to change their behaviour.
It’s like a parent saying to a child: “If you don’t do your revision, I’ll encourage you to do it by saying you don’t have to bother, and I’ll also put a deposit down for the new X Box for you.”
This policy can not be a deliberate product of intelligent thinking in our interest. We must not allow ourselves to believe politicians are that stupid. It’s tempting to joke about it, but it lets them off the hook, and they get supposedly quality advice.
How else might such a stupid policy materialise?
As I keep repeating (because few others do), it was confirmed by a Sunday Times sting early last year that the going rate for bribing the Tory Party in return for policy influence is £100-250k. (ii)
That’s total chicken feed to these guys, individual hedge fund managers indulging in market manipulation can make that kind of money in under 10 minutes (iii). Don’t bother thinking they pay tax on it either.
A vast amount of Tory funding comes from the City Of London – lead engine room of global finance fraud.
Is there a sound reason to think “Funding For Lending” couldn’t at least partially a product of corruption, from nods and winks to out and out bribery?
What is being done with the cheap money?
Is it being saved towards the next black hole?
Are they pissing it up the wall on derivatives again?
It seems this magic money is a prime cause of buoyant markets that lack a corresponding uplift in real-economy productivity. (The US now has an “infinite” quantitative easing program)
The recent Queen’s Speech was not as bulky as they sometimes are. One item quietly dropped was modest regulation requiring a register of lobbyists, the well funded people who pressurise and smooth talk our “leaders” regarding which policies to draw up and which to drop.
Lobbying is the scandal that never was. Cameron said it would be the next scandal, and he knows plenty about why it should be with his background in public relations.
Labour are too scared of the issue because of attacks they get regarding union donations. Yet those donations are at least fully above board and democratically sanctioned, even if some of us may think the unions are silly for giving them.
Although investigative journalism is expensive and less fashionable than it was, I am convinced there is a rich unfinished seam to mine in regard to last years Sunday Times revelation. Each new odd looking policy and each major contract of government should be investigated for corruption.
It could be complex painstaking work. We learned from the last Labour government that donations could be channelled through 3rd parties (presumably 4th and more parties beyond too).
This probably shouldn’t be a matter for the press at all, but for the police.
Ideas on taking this forward appreciated.