The scandal engulfing Barclay’s bank should hardly come as a surprise; nor is it surprising that the Financial Services Authority has other banks ‘in its sights’. The finance sector has long ceased being merely another facet of the economy and has, for a long time, been a cartel of vested interests which only cares about its own interests. Both Labour and Conservative politicians have fallen over each other to each blame the other for this but neither Party can admit the simple truth; both main political parties have connived in this carve-up of our economy and the Liberal Democrats are now in a government which is the bankers best friend.
Barclay’s has cruelly exposed the free market myth; that a ‘free’ market delivers opportunity for all. In fact, it does the exact opposite, it entrenches the power of the wealthy few to use the wider economy as their plaything because the only power potent enough to challenge the corporate behemoth is the state. Furthermore, the state is more likely to do this because at some stage it requires the consent of the people to govern. Freedom delivered through market mechanisms is a cruel lie, an ideological sleight of hand to conceal the real agenda of its proponents.
Economics aside, the outrage over the actions of Barclay’s shows us the democratic deficit inherent in corporate control of the economy, people are alienated even from control of even their own money, the money they work so hard for. The political class, too long in the thrall of this control, needs to grow a backbone and stand up for the interests of the people who they are ultimately accountable too. We have seen a lot of harsh words today but what we really need is action, a firm stance from politicians against the cartel of controlling interests and a determination to break that control using what they have at their disposal, above all, the banks, the City spivs, need to be reminded that in a democracy they are the horse and not the rider, only then will we be able to save the economy and society from the death-spiral their greed has locked us all into.