Lincoln Drill Hall

Wednesday, 11 February 2009

I'm going on a witch hunt

Last night I sat and watched as the select committee questioned the four bankers who are being pilloried but also skapegoated for the banking collapse. This was poor drama, far too well rehearsed and so wide of the mark it was embarrassing.
I mean how convenient for RBS to have ABN to hand? How convenient for HBOS to have questionable lending decisions? How frankly undignified to have four unquestionably intelligent men in the dock.
Does anyone seriously believe it was their fault? As always on such occasions the metaphor is to be found in sport: if the rules permit it you do it, to do otherwise will guarantee defeat and defeat would serve no one admittedly least of all those set to gain most through their bonuses. The point though is surely that deregulation had made possible the fantasies of financial engineering that filled the balance sheets of financial institutions. So it was obvious that the brightest and best would be recruited to invent ever more fantastic devices and the banks would milk them dry of profit. Was I the only one to raise a slight eyebrow at the RBS results following the NatWest acquisition. I rather doubt that results like that didn't come just from cost savings.
The point though remains that the banks did what was only natural, given the environment in which they were allowed to operate.