Ignore the bankers’ accountancy spin – they have ruined Britain

After the patronising spin of Eric Daniels (Lloyds) and Bob Diamond (Barclays) the Office for National Statistics this week gave anyone who cared to go to its site the unvarnished truth about what banking idiocy has cost the country – and it’s 13 numbers long.


(to the nearest billion)

If you took the whole GDP of Britain, and then added another 50% on top, it would still be several billion short of the amount highlighted above. And what it shows quite conclusively is that all the Government guff about ‘making a profit on the shares’ and ‘the purchases only cost £80 billion in all’ is total bollocks. Because the assets purchases, debt liabilities and short-term cash-flow props to stop RBS, Lloyds and others sinking without trace cost over £1.3 trillion – the highest cost per taxpayer of any country in the world.

The comparisons are infinite and shocking. The bank cockup now represents 58% of the total UK national debt. It has given us by far the biggest monthly deficits and debt costs in a thousand years of history. It more than doubled the national debt in four months flat. And not one UK-based banker – absolutely nobody anywhere – is on the streets, dead or in jail as a result of it.

The Labour Government given five separate chances over that period to stick a fiduciary duty charge on those taking the taxpayer shilling failed to do it even once. That and that reason alone is why today the ungrateful recipients – these grotesquely smug clowns – show no remorse, pay themselves fat bonuses again, and once more trot out the spectacularly daft idea that they know best, and all regulation is evil.

Because of Labour naivety, Coalition cowardice and corporate financial greed, libraries and pre-schools are closing, a further 600,000 (at least) have no job, money is being removed from an already hard-pushed hospital service, police numbers are to be cut yet again, the justice system is approaching meltdown, and the UK economy has had an additional strain put upon what was already something of a non-recovery.

Before any more apologists join The Slog’s comment threads to protest that these are unwarranted charges, let me add  few more incontrovertible ONS figures. Each month now, thanks directly to the bailout costs, an average £14 billion is no longer available to spend on British citizens’ welfare. Median-level retired investors using interest-bearing accounts have lost £1.22 billion in income. Britain’s monthly debt repayment bill is on average  in excess of £20 billion. And we could yet lose our Triple A credit status as a sovereign State.

“Every year,” said a senior City gonk the week before last, “British banking puts £140 billion into the Exchequer”. Therefore, he argued, we have to go on paying very high bonuses, or else….

The ‘or else’ is a myth nailed rather well by Simon Jenkins in the Guardian on Monday. And what, pray, is £140 billion in the Exchequer if you just emptied it to the tune of £1.33 trillion?

Obscenely overpaid bank executives display a form of dependency just as sad and ruinously expensive to the country as welfare recipients described as ‘economically inactive’. The difference is, you could double the number of couch-potatoes, and the cost of keeping them would still be under 5% of what the UK financial services sector has cost us since 2008.

It is extremely difficult to forgive reckless, brainless behaviour on that scale. But to lie persistently about the scale, show no remorse about the scale, and then starting behaving in a manner likely to further increase the scale….that is unforgivable, period. And for a Government to allow it is scarcely believable favouritism.

Banker bashing? Revenge? Bollocks: punishment and justice. That’s what the overwhelming majority of citizens want. And they are not getting it.