COOP BANK EXCLUSIVE: How Westminster MPs are stealing small bondholders’ life savings to save their necks

Pre-Election Labour cover-up becomes constitutional crisis because LibDems also Bank with CoOp

Brown, Balls, Darling, Cable and Osborne implicated

Bailin proposal will stuff innocent older people on smaller incomes

If ever there was a scandal to demonstrate how none of the three main UK Parties care about any of us, this one is it. Sources close to the team working round the clock to reconstruct the Cooperative Bank say this tight group is facing a huge dilemma on several fronts – and yet not a squeak is emerging from the multiply-mouthed MPs at Westminster. The Slog analyses why.

In an unbelievable tale of perfidy, cover-up and backside protection, the situation at the effectively insolvent Cooperative Bank is threatening to drag several senior MPs into a scandal which may well, before its finished, wind up forcing the taxpayer to State-subsidise the funds of two Parties – Labour and the LibDems – in 2015 Election. This is what I’ve argued for over seven long years, but the manner in which this could come about is well beyond disgraceful….and currently, unconstitutional.

Everyone involved in this series of mendacities comes out of it minus any pretensions to dignity. And it reaffirms more than ever the need for an apolitical organisation like the UFD to start applying pressure on the reptiles in charge of Britain.

The story starts at the Financial Service regulator (FSA) during 2008 when, despite the fact that most High Street banks at the time were close to the edge and facing near-certain ruin, the Coop gaily carried on paying dividends and underwriting the activities of the Coop’s supermarkets suffering from intense price competitition. An insider at the time reports that “there was no way either the regulator or the Treasury and the Bank of England could have failed to notice the Coop’s inexplicable behaviour.”

ballshiftyWhere the chicken and egg positions lay at this time is a matter of conjecture. Some believe Alistair Darling didn’t want a “cooperative” bank being seen to fail, others that Gordon Brown was the prime mover in turning a blind eye to it and applying massive pressure to the FSA. But one thing seems certain based on most accounts: Ed Balls was (and is) a Coop sponsored MP, and he knew that 30 or more others were. He made it aggressively clear to all the parties involved in the Labour Movement that the end of the Coop would be the end of the Labour Party as a solvent political influence.

So everything was to look normal. The Coop was married off to the Britannia Building Society, presenting the two of them as strong players free of the neoliberal banking madness. In fact, Britannia’s real situation was awful. But Balls, 32 Labour MPs, Unity Bank -  and all the Trade Unions of any size – were mightily relieved. So too were Nick Clegg’s LibDems, who also bank with the Coop.

cableshiftyAnd so an election came, with a limpwristed Tory campaign forcing them into a Coalition of convenience with Clegg’s minority Party. Thus former Labour man and Libdem economic spokesman Vince Cable became Business Minister. He too was desperate to save the Coop, and taking over the Lloyds branches (after the EU’s competitiveness/monopoly intervention) seemed like manna from Heaven: the Coop could be bunged support funds on the grounds of helping the bank bailout in general.

David Cameron didn’t want a bankrupt Coalition partner. George Osborne didn’t want more banking trouble….and his LibDem cohort Danny Alexander didn’t want to lose his funding either. And of course, the Labour Party remained as frightened as ever….thus, as silent as the grave.

This entire mess has become the Scandal that Dare not Speak its Name at Westminster. But with the coming of the Coalition, the Coop crisis is today a constitutional crisis waiting to happen…if it were to be nationalised.

But it isn’t going to be nationalised: there’s going to be a bailin. Just like Cyprus.

The bailin is not just a ‘preferred’ method of solving the problem: it is the only way of saving both the Government and the Opposition’s necks. Vince Cable has been forced to accept that, if nationalised, the Cooperative Bank would belong to the State….and the State would thus be underwriting all the debts, deposits, pensions, donations and election funding of the Labour Party, the entire trade union movement, and the LibDems.

What should really happen here is that the depositors should be protected, and the creditors’ interests sold off. But in the current environment, there wouldn’t be any buyers. So we’re going to have a bailin….and this is going to be disastrous for tens of thousands of Labour and older voters who have, all their lives, trusted in the honesty and probity of the Cooperative Movement.

The situation is that, as per the template that never was (but now is in perpetuity) the bondholders take the brunt of the haircut. But the bondholders in this case are – research has now shown – older, downmarket people aged 70+ who have nothing beyond their Coop Bank deposits apart from the State pension.

Since the General Election, the debt allegedly owed to the Coop by both Labour and the LibDems has become beyond belief – another cover-up of gigantic proportions. 25 Labour MPs are sponsored by the Coop, and a further 90 by the Unite Union. 158 Labour MPs in total are members of trade unions banking with the Cooperative.

To save the Coalition and Labour Party necks, older innocent citizens are to be wiped out.

To save the faces of Alistair Darling, Gordon Brown, Nick Clegg, David Cameron, and George Osborne, thousands will lose their savings.

Now let’s put all this into some kind of recent-history perspective.

From 2005-2008 – cognisant of the coming crash via George Brown and the Treasury/BoE pronouncements in private – senior Whitehall and Local Government Mandarins basically cooked up the biggest insider-trading scam in history. They illegally awarded themselves massively increased pension pay-outs.

From 2008 until the present day, both New Labour and the Tory Party have acquiesced in the de facto bankruptcy of Britain by turning a blind eye to banking bonuses, derivatives and other jiggery-pokery; bailed out banks and rebuilt them at the taxpayers’ expense…while watching their employees continue to take massive bonuses; and helped banks like RBS steal from and otherwise defraud the entrepreneurial future of the country.

Now we see that, having loaded both the Coop and Nationwide banks with politically face-saving debt, the Westminster shower propose to stuff their own citizens in order to avoid a constitutional Party funding crisis….and avoid threatening the livelihoods of around 160 MPs and Trade Union bosses.

We cannot trust any of these self-serving, idiotic nasties. They act only in the interest of their tribes and their sugar daddies. Without an Unaligned Front for Decency (UFD) or something similarly apolitical, we are going to lose both our livelihoods and our assets to save their worthless arses.

Footnote: Someone on the Left I admire has pointed out that the reference to ‘Golf Club’ in relation to the legal UFD entity sounds especially off-putting. Let me reassure everyone that, from Nigel Farage downwards, nobody of the rabid Golf Club sectarian tendency would be welcome in the UFD. It is meant to be culturally radical, not politically revolutionary. It is trying to arrive at something more in keeping with Nelson Mandela’s dignity than Pol Pot’s insanity. It is merely using the same egalitarian mutualist form as a golf club: any other resemblance is highly unlikely.

 

58 thoughts on “COOP BANK EXCLUSIVE: How Westminster MPs are stealing small bondholders’ life savings to save their necks

  1. Won’t the £85,000 government guarantee protect the old depositors? Everybody has been warned for years not to have more than £85,000 savings in one bank.

    Re UFD, political scoundrels are nothing new. It seems to be the nature of the beast. I have just been reading about the Battle of Britain when the future of the nation was at stake. Dowding and Park superbly organised the defences and saved the nation, but being practical types, they stepped on a few political toes in order to get what they needed. So, after the battle was won, grateful politicians sacked both of them.
    https://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Battle_of_Britain#Aftermath

    • As far as I understand it, Co-op Bank bonds are not considered savings, but investments, and are not covered by the £85,000 guarantee. But of course the Co-op Bank claimed the ‘bond investments’ were bullet proof…until someone fired a shot.

    • I might be wrong, but I would not have thought that there would be a huge number of Co-Op Bank customers with over £85k sitting in a deposit account doing nowt. Which surely makes this story all the more interesting.

      Either The Co-op are unlikely to raise enough money from a Bank Bale in, if the “Up to £85k” is honoured …and the bank will go bust………

      OR the rest of us UK taxpayers are going to have to pay to ‘Save’ political parties and individuals that we may have little afinity towards.

      OR the £85k deal won’t be honored (or will be kicked into the long grass until after the UK General Election)…which would not do anything for anyones fragile confidence in any UK (or EU) Bank Investments.

      I have a very bad feeling this is going to be a UK taxpayer hit to ‘save’ our ‘Democratic Processes’…… in which case, if there is not a UFD candidate by 2015…I might vote Monster Raving Loony…since they appear to run a much better political accounting system than the rest.

      • “I have a very bad feeling this is going to be a UK taxpayer hit to ‘save’ our ‘Democratic Processes’…”
        This is my take on it too.

    • @BillK – My understanding is that the £85k government guarantee covers deposits in bank savings accounts and NOT bonds. With bonds you get a higher return in exchange for taking on more risk. The investors about to get burned are not depositors they are bondholders and its therefore game on to give them a pretty severe financial short back and sides. These naïve Coop customers who trusted the oh so ethical Labour supporting Cooperative were probably very cynically misled as to the true nature of what they were buying and the risk they were taking on. Lurking behind the Coops Ethical social friendly banking persona is a bunch of hard nosed greedy financial spivs every bit as ruthless as the rest of the UK’s rotten financial services industry. The political shenanigans going on behind the scenes opens up a whole new rotten dimension and this really has the potential to become a monumental political and financial scandal.

      • Yes, you’re correct. Savings and deposits are protected up to £85,000.
        There seem to be relatively few bondholders. Maybe 5,000 to 7,000 with less than £25,000 invested. Still a problem for these people if that is all their savings and they invested it in risky bonds. That is another problem, that ZIRP is causing people desperate to get some interest on their savings to invest in more risky investments and risk losing everything.

  2. This is precisely the type of issue that will be sidelined in the MSM and bravo for JW’s tubthumping on this nasty jiggery pokery.

  3. Since Feb 15th,(See Post That Day) Miliband has supported or absconded from attacking the government on many contentious points,even to the point of alienating the Unions,it does seem that his actions are that of someone over a barrel,he has chosen expediency over moral fortitude & Lib-Dems failure to control or exert due pressure on the government policy is also their to be seen
    Obviously the question is why haven’t the Tories also taken advantage & closed down their rivals,(that will become clear later)at the moment the Tories are happy to govern with no real opposition at all,but should Labour/Lib-Dems go to the wall,it is in the Tories hands when that will happen at their choosing,nearer to a election the less likely the other parties will have time to reform,the choice then is do they scrape the elections & create a constitutional crises & shoe horn themselves into power,allowed under the constitution in those circumstances or do they go to the electorate for a mandate has the sole party,standing against independents & smaller groups of Lab/Lib Dems,That without UKIP may still leave them with only a small working majority if that depending on the fall out
    I have mentioned no election taking place in or before 2015 & special emergency powers to allow this shortly after feb 15th this year,my question is have Labour/Lib-Dems & the Tories already done a deal

  4. Absolutely blxxdy disgraceful, John. All involved deserve but the briefest of hearings at the Nuremberg Tribunal for Economic War Crimes and a quick march to the firing squad. There should be no sympathy. The GFC is now more than five years old and the next generation faces a no jobs/no careers/no families non-future. How utterly obscene are Brown/Balls/Blair/Clegg/Cameron and the banking criminals.

    • Alan,

      I’m a fairway off what you’re driving at there, are you a little green around the ears? . Do you have any links for your comment? Of course you do…

      I’ll get me coat.

  5. You liked the suggestion of wigs then, JW? Hat tip to Manos Limpias, which wouldn’t sound too good in English (too bathroomy), but Safe Hands might? You could make something of SAFE as an acronym, but there are much more creative minds than mine on this board.

  6. Investing in Bonds that pay a high rate of interest is more akin to your average pensioner as investing in shares in a bank that subsequently very nearly went bust – or in reality did – like most of them. This article is not clear enough that it bears little if any resemblance to putting your hard earned in a savings account in the Co-Op or any other Bank. All involve a degree of risk, as does stuffing notes in your mattress, buying rare stamps, or even gold bars that might actually not have as much gold in them, as you were told – or even paper certificates – supposedly bearing some relation to whatever “the authority” indicated they represent. Do you trust any of these people, and if so why, and if you don’t what exactly are you going to do about it?

    This article is more political than factual, and is not a good start for Fear, Uncertainty and Doubt or whatever its name might be.

    Must do better. Read Professor Bill Mitchell’s billyblog for an introduction of what this money stuff might be all about.

    He is one of the few economists that actually makes any sense. Most of them seem to be over 50 years out of date.

    http://bilbo.economicoutlook.net/blog/

    Tony

  7. Third attempt ( I am trying to work out which word is not acceptable – or maybe I have been banned)

    Investing in Bonds that pay a high rate of interest is more akin to your average pensioner as investing in shares in a bank that subsequently very nearly went bust – or in reality did – like most of them. This article is not clear enough that it bears little if any resemblance to putting your hard earned in a savings account in the Co-Op or any other Bank. All involve a degree of risk, as does putting notes in your mattress, buying rare stamps, or even gold bars that might actually not have as much gold in them, as you were told – or even paper certificates – supposedly bearing some relation to whatever “the authority” indicated they represent. Do you trust any of these people, and if so why, and if you don’t what exactly are you going to do about it?

    This article is more political than factual, and is not a good start for Fear, Uncertainty and Doubt or whatever its name might be.

    Must do better. Read Professor Bill Mitchell’s billy blog for an introduction of what money might be all about.

    He is one of the few economists that actually makes any sense. Most of them seem to be over 50 years out of date.

    http://bilbo.economicoutlook.net/blog/

    Tony

    • Tony

      I got 178 new comments needing moderation yesterday. And there’s only me. Assume incompetence, not conspiracy.

  8. The trouble (to my dirty mind) with ‘Unaligned Front for Decency’ is that it conjures up an image of an ageing exotic dancer just failing to position her fan correctly.
    English seems to lend itself to constructive misinterpretation so ‘front’ suggests a deceptive facade, ‘movement’ has lavatory connotations and as for ‘union’…
    How about Association of Citizens for Ethical Standards?
    (Notwithstanding the above: I’m in, whatever the name)

      • Has someone suggested Campaign to Restore Ethics and Trust in Public Life, or some variation of it? After all, it WOULD be a campaign, as much as a movement and perhaps the notion of restoring something that has been lost (more correctly, ‘stolen’) would appeal.

      • Campaign to Restore Ethics and Trust in Public Life – a fantastic name. Who couldn’t support that?

  9. This is one of the reasons the recovery is still built on sand. There is no point having higher GDP figures unless the rest of the situation is sound. Our battered ship is seaworthy only as long as the weather is fine.

  10. What about sending this blog to every rum politician involved in this scam?? Including Unite? With the thread that we will expose them in the national press by taking out full page adverts? It will mean starting to gather soe money to pay for this unless we can find a disgruntled money man who would like to finance this? But whatever it should be shouted from the roof top and get the maximum publicity. anyone cleverer then me has any ideas how to do this??? John, what about your past experience in the media???

    In short How do we get the bastards by their short and curly??

  11. Nothing that I can see in the MSM. Are the journos (NUJ) conspiring in a cover-up? Do they bank with the Co-op too?
    I suppose this will be spun & spun until Joe Public is conned into thinking it is his Patriotic duty to bail them out to ‘save the country’.

    • ‘I suppose this will be spun & spun until Joe Public is conned into thinking it is his Patriotic duty to bail them out to ‘save the country’.
      Mmmm, methinks you have hit the nail on the head…

    • Also completely O/T but perhaps a sign the BBC are waking up to their remit to report impartially, or perhaps waking up to the need to save face in the event there’s an about-turn in the so-called “consensus”. Until now, their take on AGW has been almost completely one-sided.

      “The scientists say, pauses in warming were always to be expected. This is new – at least to me. I’ve never heard leading researchers mention the possibility before. I asked why this had not come up in earlier presentations. No one really had an answer, except to say that this “message” about pauses had not been communicated widely. But what about another possibility – that the calculations are wrong? What if the climate models – which are the very basis for all discussions of what to do about global warming – exaggerate the sensitivity of the climate to rising carbon dioxide? –David Shukman, BBC News, 22 July 2013

      • @ alexei Quite….we appear to be teaching Global Warming in UK Schools which in many ways is not dissimilar to the teaching of Creationism in US schools …i.e why we fill our childrens heads with such bunkom is beyond me. Anyone in any doubt of the serious threat of Global Cooling over the next (and predictable) 10-15 years can go and Google it. Just check out the following facts.

        Firstly the Earth stopped getting warmer in 1997 and has been getting cooler every year since 2002. The trend is predicted to continue well into the 2020s

        Secondly, the amount of CO2 in the atmosphere has nothing to do with global warming….check out online how much more CO2 there was during the last ice age.

        Thirdly check out the fact that 99 % of any climate change on his planet has always been to do with Solar Activity ( the rest is Volcanos and dust and the fact that a decent eruption puts more CO2 in the atmosphere in a few months than the entire EU has since its inception. Now check out Solar Cycle 24… We are right at its peak…it is way lower than peak of Cycle 23 some 11 years ago and almost 60% of Cycle 22.

        The loss of ice around the Arctic in days last year was because of the biggest Arctic Storm in Met history breaking it all up…..to say Global Warmin would suddenly achieve that in 4 days is bonkers.

        We have politicians of all colours across Europe persuing a 1980s flawed science policy because it is unthinkable to announce that it is seriously bad science. The Earth is going to have very cold winters between now and at least 2025.., check out the last time Moscow had the coldest winter on record and the rate per year than snowfall is moving further south in the US each year since 2010.

        I have just ordered up a full log shed tonight, buying more oil lamps at the weekend….we cannot count on power supplies longer term with these idiot so called Green Policies turning off our ability to make electricity and replacing it with broken windmils and dodgy solar panels.

  12. The natural scepticism re’ global warming/climate change is fine, but what is surely indisputable is that fossil fuel resources are finite while global demand for them is growing. Alternative sources of energy surely DO need investing in.

  13. Graham D, enjoy the summer melt that goes with your deep frozen winters. Me, I just put up with more unseasonal drought in my green and temperate antipodean land

  14. @Graham
    Wrt manmade climate change, you’re preaching to the converted – I’m right behind you!
    ” …. why we fill our childrens heads with such bunkom is beyond me. ”
    It’s for the same reason they only teach a pro-EU position in the school curriculum (and have done so for many years) thus brainwashing an entire generation. You will also find that in most British libraries, the selection of books available on the EU is heavily and disproportionately favorable to the EU’s existence and our membership of it.

  15. The Co-oP are currently holding an election in the North West region.
    one candidate Peter Nurse is a Labor Councillor and is known to myself
    as an accomplice in several serious offences. I have made a formal
    complaint to the Returning Officer. I have not obtained a respoce
    as of today.

    Watch this space for an update ! if it happens ! it will blow you away.

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  17. Call-me-Dave is a PR man, he isn’t a Prime Minister.
    So he isn’t going to make this Co-op funding an issue cos he thinks it will make the Tories look like they are taking advantage of their opponents’ incompetence and corruption.
    He thinks he has to safeguard ‘Parliament’.
    He is going to allow his shadow men to get the taxpayer to fund political parties, and of course by that, it means ‘big’ parties only -not the little ones we are all going to set up.

    by the way, UFD is a DUF name, and you know that. If you think of it as a rock band or a 5-a-side football team I bet we could come up with a decent name between us.

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  19. This co-op merger business and its ramifications for bond holders is enough to make your blood boil. On july 4th Sutherland the new chief exec was in the process of ordering an independent enquiry to find out what went wrong. http://m.guardian.co.uk/business/2013/jul/04/co-op-bank-black-hole

    Nothing further heard so far about who is to do it.

    Is it a coincidence that former MP John Butterfill (cons Bournemouth West), who piloted the private bill that allowed the merger and was fingered in the lobby gate scandal, was well known to Ed Balls and was big mates with his dad. To what extent did either the Co-op or Britannia lobby for this bill and on whose instigation and for what motive?

    Has any slogger and co-op member found a good way to make representations to the co-op?

    • On 12 July the Co-Op appointed Sir Christopher Kelly to chair a committee to inquire into the decisisions made by previous board members that led to the black hole. It will start in September and report to members in May 2014.

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  22. We had a 10 year endowment loan with the the Britannia Building Society .
    This loan in fact was with Axia (on closer examination).
    The point I wish to make is : When the term ended they told me I owed them just over £100 .00! I had never missed a payment and the Stock Exchange had risen most years during this period. Most folk I know in fact did do quite well at this time.
    I got no explanation whatsoever.
    It made me think about the big wheeze at TSB ….Looked as if they had bought a load of shite from their mates before the sold themselves to LLoyds!
    dofornow

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