There has of late been a great deal for those on the genuine left to feel somewhat smug about, provided of course you aren’t a Bollinger Bolshevik with an offshore bank account.  If it weren’t enough that the capitalist system seems quite content on eating itself, were it not for the continuing interventionist attitudes of governments in bailing it out.  (Funny though I seem to recall this sort of practice was rather frowned upon by many of the same people who are now coming for handouts when they looked at Eastern Europe and the Developing World.   I believe they stated that it was proof that the “socialist” economic model could not work.) Let us hope the World Bank and IMF are not quite so buccaneer in their terms and conditions when lending money to these countries now.

I like a large proportion of the population owe a fairly large sum of money to the banks, I do not have a mortgage and therefore a house to show for it as many do, nor do I have any savings unless I should be able to reclaim the £6,500 my bank has charged me in fees over the last five years.  Thus my enthusiasm to pay for the negligent greed of a bunch of pinstripe-suited idiots without a chin between the lot of them is somewhat mooted.  I always thought there was something of a caveat in the financial system in that the values can go up as well as down, that’s kind of the point with speculation, if there’s no prospect of down then there isn’t really a great deal to speculate on.

That the banks and their illuminati should be allowed to use tax payers money to shore up their problems is bad enough, that they should not have to pay back the profane dividends, bonuses and pension plans that they have liberally awarded themselves is yet worse, but the fact that the same government so intent on pouring money into the financial institutions as it did to Iraq should attempt to tell us that there is no money for welfare, no money for education, no money for public sector employees to be paid even at the rate of inflation is perhaps the bitterest pill to swallow.

I have never had a problem with income tax, in fact I have always made it quite clear that I think all taxation should be means-tested in the classic Marxist fashion of “from each according to his abilities, to each according to his needs.”  I have therefore had no problems with any party’s manifesto pledge that talks about tax rises to pay for essential public services as these services should be paid in this fashion.  However to have spent the last 11 years under a Labour government where the public transportation system is a shambles, the NHS is progressively privatised by the back door, the welfare system is unfair and people are told to look out for the benefit cheats and asylum seekers and illegal immigrants as a smokescreen to distract from them seeing the fact that the pittance that is offered to a great many people is not enough to live off and is quite simply an embarrassment in a so-called civilised society.

There is clearly now a hegemony of the neo-liberal and neo-conservative agendas such that we have lost sight of the priorities of our taxation income.  This money is paid so that the government can provide public services for the good of the population as a whole.  Whichever way you look at it the banks are not and never will be run as a public service and therefore have no right to receive any of this money.  My criticisms may be dismissed due to my politics the same way as when the minimum wage was brought in I had little time for the businesses that claimed they could not survive if they were forced to pay employees a basic wage, a wage that was in itself a sum equivalent to £144 gross for a 40 hour week – hardly the stuff dreams are made of.

To my mind if the banks cannot themselves navigate the system they effectively prop up then they must be allowed to go to the wall as this is the free market, and yes I do find it a tad uncomfortable to be in the situation of agreeing with the most traditionally right-wing free marketeers!  What I find a great deal more uncomfortable is to hear a spokesman for the banks on the news today talk about how he felt that the banks’ current system of self-regulation had been successful and should remain, this smacks at best of the head in the sand theory and at worst that flagrant disregard for the facts and a concept of the consequences of decisions in offices on those in the real world that we have sadly come to expect from the banks.

What has not been discussed is just what this means for the future of the sector and for our tax money.  What safeguards are going to be put into place to ensure this does not happen again, and should not these be worked out before we start handing over billions?  And when we have handed over the family silver as it were are we to expect it back at some stage?  Will we get good rates of interest on this “loan”, are we lending at a high rate of interest to these credit risk institutions the way they have for many years been allowed to exploit the less well off?  Can we send the boys round if they do not pay, can we charge an administration fee, an arrangement fee and debit interest if they default on any of the terms and conditions?

More importantly can I now go to the Bank Of England with my financial documents and state that since financial confidence is low in me at the moment I need money to bail myself out, after all I have children to support, they can’t afford to let me go to the wall!

Song Of The Day ~ Stereolab – Ping Pong