Barclays

Perhaps they should send some to jail

Stuff.co.nz

There is a growing banking scandal unfolding in the UK. Instead of bailing them out all the time shouldn’t we explore putting a few of them in the slammer:

Barclays chief executive Bob Diamond suddenly quit on Tuesday over an interest rate-rigging scandal that threatens to drag in a dozen more major lenders, but suggested the Bank of England had encouraged his bank to manipulate the figures.

“The external pressure placed on Barclays has reached a level that risks damaging the franchise – I cannot let that happen,” said Diamond, 60. The terms of his severance were not announced, though Sky News said the bank would ask Diamond to forfeit almost £20 million ($39 million) in bonuses.

Politicians and newspapers have zeroed in on the scandal – which revealed macho emails of bankers congratulating each other with offers of champagne for helping to fiddle figures – as an example of a rampant culture of wrongdoing in an industry that stayed afloat with huge taxpayer bailouts.

Barclays released an internal 2008 memo from Diamond, then head of its investment bank, suggesting that the deputy governor of the Bank of England, Paul Tucker, had given Barclays implicit encouragement to massage the interest figures lower during the peak of the financial crisis in order to present a better picture of the bank’s financial position.

According to the memo, Tucker told Diamond he had received calls from senior government officials. “It did not always need to be the case that we appeared as high as we have recently,” Diamond said he had been told.

The Bank of England declined to comment, but analyst Ian Gordon at Investec said: “Based on first inspection it does seem to suggest that Barclays have received a message from the Bank of England which provided, to put it mildly, significant encouragement.

“So they’re maybe trying to share the blame but with justification. It raises a whole bunch of questions, and they’re very serious and they’re for the Bank of England to answer.”

James Delingpole on the Hypocrisy of the left

The Telegraph

James Delingpole excoriates Jimmy Carr for his breathless hypocrisy:

I can think of at least two differences between me and the brilliantly funny, heroically near-the-knuckle comedian and satirist Jimmy Carr. One is that I don’t earn in excess of £3.3 million a year. And the other is that in the unlikely event that I ever did and were – very sensibly –  to channel it through an elaborate Jersey tax avoidance scheme, I could do so without the slightest stain on my conscience or my credibility.

James then gives a brilliant description of his position on wealth and keeping it that I am sure Cactus Kate would agree with:

Why? Because, as I make perfectly clear in every article I ever write on the subject, I believe that tax is legalised theft and that earners have a sacred duty to stop as much money as they (legally) can getting into the filthy hands of Big Government, because it will only go and spend it on something completely useless. It doesn’t matter whether someone is an entrepreneur like my brilliant brother Charlie (of Market Invoice) or a hugely talented comic like Carr, they make important contributions to the British economy because they create value and add to the economic growth from which the whole nation benefits. Their reward, therefore, for their talent and risk should be to keep as much of the fruits of their labour as they reasonably can, consistent with their duty to help fund the basic external costs of defending their liberties – eg defence of the realm, property rights, etc.

That is the same position I maintain too. Not so for Jimmy Carr though:

But imagine how much of a hypocrite you’d have to be to put your money through a (perfectly legal) tax avoidance scheme, when you had earned that money in sketches like this one from Channel 4’s relentlessly Left-wing 10 O’Clock Live:

Last year on Channel 4 Jimmy Carr took on Barclays for carrying out a tax-avoidance scheme. Carr donned a blonde wig to play a female bank clerk. ‘Why don’t you apply for the Barclays’ 1 per cent tax scam,’ she announced to her customers. ‘You will need the world’s biggest, most aggressive team of blood-hungry amoral tax lawyers. If you meet the criteria, you’ll pay 1 per cent tax, like Barclays do.’

How could you live with your conscience? How could you face your fans? How could you expect your sixth-form spray-on-Lefty politics to be taken seriously ever again by all your sixth-form spray-on Lefty mates like Charlie Brooker and Graham Linehan and Ben Goldacre and all the rest of the Guardianista Twitter gang who think the only solution is bigger government spending, higher taxes, more regulation and greater impositions on “the Rich”?

Actually, scrub that last question. I expect half of them are up to the same game themselves.

This is the same sort of hypocrisy that sees Labour politicians send their kids to private schools while campaigning to protect teacher unions.