thinking green (greed, not eco)

13/12/2011


i’m bored of hearing about ‘the national interest’ + how david cameron has ‘fought for britain’. he’s fought for the banks. let’s compare some of his reasons alongside some hard facts.

defence claim: banking makes a large contribution to employment.
facts: the finance sector employs only around 1m people in britain, + 80% of those are running the retail side, nothing to do with the investment bankers whom cameron has protected. for comparison, our almost non-existant manufacturing sector alone employs more than 2m.

defence claim: banking pays a substantial amount towards our countries tax revenue.
facts: over the six years during londons banking boom (between 2002 + 2008), banks paid a collective total of £193bn in taxes. since 2008 british taxpayers have paid £289bn in ‘direct upfront financing’ to bail out the banks. when including the government loans the banks have received (paid for by taxpayers), the total increases to a staggering £1.19tn.

defence claim: our banks lend to developing business + industry, supporting our economy.
facts: at the height of bank loaning in 2007, 40% of loans went on purchasing residential or commercial property, + 25% went to financial intermediaries.

defence claim: our government is protecting an important source of national income.
facts: our government is protecting a small + expensive sector of london which coincidently provides more than half of the conservative parties funding. david cameron has effectively declared that the national interest of britain can be defined by what suits one square mile of it.

i know there were issues with the lisbon treaty, + jumping in without some renegotiations would have been a mistake also, but let’s be clear about the basics. the financial regulations being considered are a direct response to the financial crisis. measures such as a ‘financial transactions tax’ + the reform of short-selling + hedge-funds are all designed to force banks into acting more responsibly.
the banks have seen this as a threat; it’s supposed to be.

also, the veto wasn’t really a veto, in that it hasn’t stopped anything. the remaining majority (23 of 26), if not all the other eu members will go ahead with the treaty regardless, without britain there to oppose any further alterations + without any support were it able to.

it has however provided an excellent media distraction from environmental issues.

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