So here goes. Its well past time to stop pussy-footing around the establishment…according bankers and their hangers-on with a sycophantic respect that they have long since ceased to merit. Its time to take some real action.
Its time to ASBO the bankers.
Huh? Well, sure. What could be more anti-social, at base, than fixing the interbank interest rate. Forget all the guff being sprayed around by financial experts this week, about exactly what the practice involved. Its intent – making money for some already spoilt and over-remunerated brtats – and its result – quite possibly deepening and lengthening the recession for every other being on the planet – are pretty clear.
The law isn’t working
As action its the height of selfish anti-sociability. And yet, despite a load of rhetoric and woolly hand-wringing on the part of the authorities – David Cameron included – about heads having to roll, there is little prospect of that happening any time soon. because, for all that its consequences are far-reaching in the extreme, this is such an obscure little piece of criminality that it might turn out not to be criminal at all.
So those responsible will get a slap on their wrists – and walk from one high-powered job,taking their six or seven-figure severance packages with them, on to the next. That’sjust not on. It really isn’ton.
Funny, really, that those in authority are having such difficulty finding a punishment to fit the crime…because when it comes to some young unemployed person on a council estate who has reacted to a lifetime of disaffection and under-resourcing by kicking out at society, the response is swift, brutal: the ASBO – its a civil order, under which individuals found guilty of anti-social behaviour can have their future behaviour restricted in a way that contributes to rebalancing the social order.
Like being banned from a certain shop – or restricted to only going to a twon centre at certain hours of day or night.
Why ASBO’s fit the banking crime
OK. They are problematic. I’m not a fan of the ASBO in general. It mixes civil and criminal law in a way that is thoroughly unhelpful. They introduce the principle of hearsay into criminal proceedings. They can result in people being punished when actually they need help.
But there is a real point to this call. As the legal experts have argued so forcefully already: to bring these genius bankers to book could take months, years, if at all.
An ASBO could be imposed in very short order indeed.
Short sharp shock needed for corrupt bankers
And, for a government that responded to rioting youth last year by explaining in the sternest terms how necessary it was to send a signal to rebellious youth – a short, sharp shock designed to deter repeat offending, this would do the trick, in more ways than one.
Imposing ASBO’s on members of a class that expect deference would go a long way to proving that in the UK, there is not just one law for us, one law for the rich and powerful. By banning these individuals from working in the banking or financial services industry for five years, we might, just, for oncemake the punishment fit the crime.
And at the highest level of all, by joining in the call to ASBO the individuals concerned, the Prime Minister, the government would be, as they are happy to do in other circumstances, giving out a message, which is roughly this. That they are prepared to put their money where their mouth is…that they are prepared to come down hard on the fionancial hooligans that have done such damage to the fabric of UK society and worse, have trashed the reputation of british banking across the world.
In the end, it feels like this is almost the only avenue left for government to prove it is on the side of the peopleagainst the financers – and to prove to the rest of the world that British banking is sufficiently regulated that other nations can have confidence banking here.
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