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The Real Culprits?

(40 Posts)
Eloethan Fri 05-Apr-13 16:50:01

While we're all arguing about family size, welfare bills, public v. private workers' benefits, etc., etc., should we not consider the following from today's Guardian:

"Three bankers who brought down HBOS - Bank so poorly run it would have gone bust even without 2008 crash" [report finds]

This Bank, under the changing stewardships of Lord Stevenson, Sir James Crosby and Andy Horny, racked up £47 billion of losses. Interestingly, Sir James Crosby sold two-thirds of his shares just before the banking crisis hit. Crosby has retained his knighthood and his £570,000 annual pension. Hornby is now the boss of Coral bookmakers. Stevenson insisted he was not to blame because he was only a part-timer - earning £735,000 a year.

"PM urged to act over British Virgin Island"

Leaked evidence continues to mount that politicians and tycoons from all over the world have used the British Virgin Islands to hide funds. Lord Oakeshott said "How can David Cameron call for the G8 to make big business pay tax when we let the BVI use British law and British protection to suck in billions in dirty money?"

"175,000 UK companies go offshore for directors"

A Guardian/International Consortium of Investigative Journalists investigation documented the activities of more than two dozen "sham directors" - Britons each listed as directors of sometimes thousands of companies registered across the world, allowing the real powers behind them to stay in the shadows. One pair of British expats appeared to have a global empire of 2,250 directorships.

absent Fri 05-Apr-13 16:56:52

So prolonged was our conversation about this over breakfast news this morning that tea, eggs and toast went cold. I think I have run out of things to say and run out of steam (for coming out of the ears). So angry at the irresponsibility and lack of accountability, so angry at the getting away with it, so angry about the government's flaccid attitude, so angry, so angry – so exasperated and frustrated.

Greatnan Fri 05-Apr-13 16:59:41

Three down, how many to go? A step in the right direction. I gather the knighthood could be removed, but not the peerage.
These and those like them are the real villains who have swindled billions.

whenim64 Fri 05-Apr-13 17:03:09

Hear, Hear, *Absent. Arguing about who is and isn't receiving the benefits that they are entitled to is simply diverting everyone from the real financial problem of these plundering fat cats who are bringing the country to its knees angry

Nelliemoser Fri 05-Apr-13 17:09:44

Eloethan An excellent point made there.

Those greedy bankers were the beggars that got us into this economic mess. Dealing in bad mortgages totally irresponsible lending etc etc.

No doubt the sellers of these badly secured loans got their bonuses for getting more business and so on up to the fat cats at the top.

Then they had the nerve to complain that the government or the the FSA or whoever had "failed to regulate them."
I hear them saying....

"It wasn't my fault I accepted these bad loans to earn a fast buck you should have stopped me."
Whatever happened to responsible business.

It would be interesting to know how many politicians had business interests in these bad dealing practices.

j08 Fri 05-Apr-13 17:17:24

I agree a lot of it is down to the fat cats. But then there were the wannabe fat cats, taking on loans and mortgages they would never be able to handle.

Greed is widespread.

POGS Fri 05-Apr-13 17:20:45

I couldn't agree more. Let's get all the buggers from the last government, the defunct FSA down who let all this take place. After all the points raised didn't happen last week, they have gone on for years.

So many with grubby little hands.

Movedalot Fri 05-Apr-13 17:22:48

I wonder how the auditors of these banks got away with it? They used to pick our accounts to bits.

I fail to see though what this has to do with anyone receiving benefits. They are entirely separate things, neither having any bearing on the other.

Movedalot Fri 05-Apr-13 17:24:10

Gosh POGS, something which is not the fault of DC & cogrin

granjura Fri 05-Apr-13 17:26:42

Exactly, the Fat Cats didn't 'force' people to take loans for houses, cars, holidays, etc, that people knew very well they could not afford.
But yes, their tactics were despicable 'Want a 100% mortgage, why not have 120% then you can change the kitchen, the bathroom and take the family on a holiday to the Seychelles too?' 'Thanks a lot, excellent idea- but we are on very low salary and won't be able to repay, oh well, never mind'

The Fat Cats were definitely to blame, that is for sure. But those who fell prey to them also have to take some responsibility - all schools now teach about debts, interests, repayments, etc- so people know what they get into when they buy on the never never. And don't talk to me about the *ankers who gambled our savings away!!!

But what I can never ever accept is this new mentality - the Fat Cats were wrong and greedy - so anything scupper the country.

MiceElf Fri 05-Apr-13 17:30:32

Excellent points Eloethan. And Nelliemoser. I think it's instructive ask why the banks in Australia and Canada remained responsible.

They were and are tightly regulated. Why? Because sadly, bankers, or at least investment bankers, are not to be trusted.

And our politicians were so in thrall to these masters of the universe that they awarded them knighthoods and baronies and appointed them to all sorts of boards which regulated, amongst other things, mortgage lending. Talk about putting a fox in the henhouse.

Now, clearly there are other factors involved in the global recession, but here in the UK I think the villains of the piece are pretty obvious.

Nelliemoser Fri 05-Apr-13 17:35:54

Movedalot I think the point of the OP is that it is this reckless behaviour by the rich fat cats that has caused us the real financial hardship.
Not paying welfare benefits for the poorer in society .

MiceElf Fri 05-Apr-13 17:37:09

What's it got to do with benefits?

Well, the strategy of Osbourne, Cameron Et al is pretty clear. They cannot use the usual Tory election slogan of the economy being safe with them so instead we have the divide and rule of the disgraceful 'strivers and skivers'. A clever alliterative slogan which if repeated enough begins to take hold of the popular consciousness. Let's all demonise anyone on 'welfare' and divert attention from all those who made mighty fortunes and hid it overseas or indulged in other dubious money secreting activities.

It's going to take a very skilful opposition to turn that rhetoric around.

Nonu Fri 05-Apr-13 17:46:24

No-One ever seems to mention Gorden Brown and his part

sunshine still

Movedalot Fri 05-Apr-13 17:47:30

In NL they normally give 105% mortgages, I wonder why it works there? Perhaps they give a lower multiple of salary?

I can't agree with "Let's all demonise anyone on 'welfare'" because I don't think that's what we do, certainly not on GN. I think people are intelligent enough to know the difference between 'scroungers' and people who need help. Both exist and it is far too simplistic to think otherwise.

All governments use all sorts of slogans which most of us see through but I don't think this government has compared bankers to those on benefit (happy to be shown I'm wrong) and I don't understand why it keeps coming up here. We don't compare those on benefit to the defence budget and we don't compare bankers to aid to other countries. Just a couple of examples of how our money is spent. Why therefore do we keep comparing bankers and benefits?

MiceElf Fri 05-Apr-13 18:05:49

I am making two separate points.

Firstly that investment bankers (not the other decent sort) were greatly to blame for the present recession. I was not making a point about the national expenditure on anything.

Secondly, I was pointing out why this Condem government has chosen to demonise (and I stick to my use of that word - just look at Osborne's comments disgracefully describing Philpot as a product of welfare) anyone who is quite legitimately claiming benefits.

Yes, they want to be elected. Yes, all parties use slogans. Yes, they are simplistic.

But this one, the Strivers and skivers is in my view immoral and disgraceful. It plays on people's fears. And while I accept that debate here is more informed than in many other places, it cannot be denied that supposition and surmise based on poor information or extrapolating general principles from one or two personal anecdotes is common elsewhere.

Eloethan Fri 05-Apr-13 18:27:15

The whole tenor of this government has been: in order to tackle the economic crisis we have to get to the root of the problem. And - flying in the face of all the evidence - according to Cameron, Osborne, et al, they continually point to public spending (not just welfare) as being responsible for our current situation, rather than reckless private speculation.

That is why people on Gransnet keep bringing up the matter of the financial sector's conduct - because welfare benefits (of which the greater proportion goes to pensioners) are being blamed for our present economic situation, as opposed to the "casino banking" which is widely acknowledged (not just by left wingers) to have caused an economic meltdown.

I'm no apologist for Labour - they were at fault in a lot of ways and got too cosy with big business and the financial sector. Ironically, the Conservatives now blame Labour for the lack of regulation of the finance sector, when at the time they were urging that regulations should be significantly reduced.

Movedalot Fri 05-Apr-13 18:36:26

Who is blaming welfare benefits for our present economic meltdown?

Ana Fri 05-Apr-13 18:44:01

Yes - I've not heard anyone on Gransnet claiming that welfare spending is the sole cause of the UK's present financial predicament.

Greatnan Fri 05-Apr-13 19:05:24

Is it greedy to want to buy a house? I thought home ownership was encouraged as a method of making people responsible. People were led into believing that house prices would inevitably rise and did not know their jobs would be in danger.
Yes, the people who sold the mortgages were paid on the number they sold, not on whether they were eventually repaid.
This is not a matter of right versus left - Blair and his minions were as deeply enmeshed with the rich and powerful as any Tory government has ever been. Gordon Brown was quite proud of his 'light touch' regulation.
And as for auditors.........they were hardly likely to make unfavourable (or honest) reports on the very businesses that were paying them millions in fees.

j08 Fri 05-Apr-13 19:08:42

Of course it's not greedy to want to buy a house. But trying to climb ladders before you have the ability is not good. Sometimes we have to be content. And wait.

granjura Fri 05-Apr-13 19:10:18

it's 'funny' how we can see that strikes and refusal to make changes in Greece, Spain, etc- is obviously seen by most of us as futile and making things worse, stabbing themselves in the foot comes to mind - despite the fact they have also been the victims of the Fat Cats. And yet can't see it for the UK - even though most of us agree the 'people' were not responsible for the we are in.

Brown comes a good Protestant ethics background - where, like with our past Quaker business people, it is believed that those who can have the duty to create wealth, and then share it with those who are not so able. To run social services and welfare, schools and the NHS - you NEED WEALTH - which has to be generated- so business is hugely important. He actually is too honest and good a man, and I am sure believed that the bankers and investors would create wealth fairly - become rich in the process, but also create wealth for the country, and for all the above. One thing the old style socialists never seemed to be able to grasp. So many hate New Labour - but they understood that wealth as such is not a dirty word- and that wealth is needed to support services. Brown was a victim of his true honesty and 'Protestant Ethics' - which he passionately believed in. One could even say he was 'naive'. I cannot bear to hear wealthy Conservatives blame him for all, and New Labour to boot. I loved Michael Foot and his traditional labour values, - but how can one produce the necessary wealth, and tax, to support services for all, including the 'poor'. Can anyone hazard how many Labour supporters were among the Fat Cats who took us to the wall and made huge money in the process?? I'd say none.

granjura Fri 05-Apr-13 19:16:06

No, its not greedy to want to buy your own home - but you still have to be realistic surely. Here you have to have 30 to 40% of the price saved before you can buy and get a mortgage, in order to stop people getting indebted beyond their means. It is cruel to encourage people to get into debt knowing they are very likely to fail - like our youngest did, and having that chain around her neck forever. The lenders were to blame, but so was she for wanting that 'dream' home, knowing full well she couldn't afford it - and she suffered so much for it.

FlicketyB Fri 05-Apr-13 20:35:48

DH refers to these people as 'banksters' and like all bank gangsters they should be made to take responsibility for their actions.

I am a trustee of a small educational trustee. As a trustee I am responsible to the full amount of my assets for any financial mess the charity gets into. I can see no reason why the Directors of any company that is brought down by the reckless behaviour of the Directors should not also be held personally responsible to full amount of their own assets for the actions of the company.

Eloethan Fri 05-Apr-13 23:01:50

Isn't it reasonable for people to have assumed that if a financial institution was willing to lend them 100% of a mortgage then that institution had done the appropriate calculations. Of course, we know now that bankers here and in the USA were making vast amounts of "virtual" money with these risky transactions and then selling them on in "toxic packages" to other financial institutions, who, in turn off-loaded them until the whole thing fell apart.

Personally, I feel very sorry for young people like granjura 's daughter who got in over her head and who were encouraged to do so. Given the huge cost of renting these days, I can quite understand why people feel they ought to try and buy rather than pay a landlord's mortgage. What a terrible shame that those who can't get help from their parents will be stuck in rented accommodation for ever.

We're not just talking about the banks encouraging unwise borrowing but also committing acts of dishonesty such as fixing the libor rate, deliberately misselling a multitude of complex policies etc., etc.