Jul 3rd, 2012
By Ian Palmer
Can an inquiry fix the banking industry? That’s what David Cameron is claiming. He’s announced an inquiry to investigate our banks.
This inquiry could be a real step forward in cleaning up our banking system. Or it could just be another political talking shop which lets the banks off the hook. It really depends what kind of inquiry it is. The terms of the inquiry will be fixed in the next few days – now’s our chance to demand a proper inquiry with real teeth.
One thing’s certain: relying on politicians to tackle problems with our banks hasn’t worked so far. So let’s not leave it to them – let’s pile in in our thousands and write to our MPs. We’ll send them a clear message: put politics aside, we want a real banking cleanup to stop the rot.
Public pressure has already forced banking scandals up the political agenda. Can you demand that your MP supports an independent inquiry with teeth?
Without public pressure, it’s unlikely we’ll get real answers about what’s gone wrong with the banks. Most politicians have awkward questions to answer. Many of the current problems developed under the previous government. The Conservatives rely on the city for a big chunk of their funding. Only pressure from voters can force MPs to shine a real light on this murky, powerful set of businesses.
This inquiry could be our best chance to root out the crime, corruption and recklessness that seems too common in British banks. It’s not just about the latest sleaze at Barclays. It’s four years now since banks’ sub-prime mortgages brought the UK economy crashing down. We all felt the consequences – and many lost their jobs or even their homes. But we still don’t have the answers. And many of the same bankers are still awarding themselves big bonuses.
Only people power can take on the power of the banks. They have huge sums of money at their disposal, and cosy links to politicians: a stranglehold over our economy and our democracy. But we’re voters and customers, and when we come together in big numbers we can challenge the rich and powerful.