After Barclays, an inquiry isn’t enough…….
When the phone-hacking scandal broke, I supported Ed Miliband’s call for an inquiry then, in the hope it would start to challenge the undemocratic monopolisation of the media by one individual. However, the Leveson Inquiry has turned into a three-ring circus, worse still its become a gigantic excuse for our politicians to do nothing. So, excuse me for viewing Ed Miliband’s call for an inquiry into our banking system with scepticism. It seems to me that calling for an inquiry is a cheap substitute for not having an actual policy. It’s an excuse to say and do nothing. I can understand why an opposition leader might make this call because practically they are in a position to actually do a sum total of nothing. However, I expect better from an aspirant to the highest office in the land.
I expect a clear statement of at least some value-driven reforms that a Labour government would pursue in office. In short, I expect a coherent answer to the question that was put to me by a colleague this week; namely, how will Labour make things better? I rather suspect I am not alone in this, I think the country feels roughly the same way. Ed could make a start by distancing himself from Labour’s past record in government, a record of frankly, rank canoodling with the finance sector. If the City expects this Party, let alone the country, to jump as high as it wants whenever it whistles then it should be told in no uncertain terms this will not be happening.
Furthermore, Ed could win general applause from the Party and the country by committing to an economic strategy that reduces vastly our dependance on the City. The banks have got away with murder, well fraud at least, precisely because we have handed them the loaded gun that they hold to our heads. All of this can be done without recourse to an inquiry. An inquiry can still be held but in making it his key demand Ed makes it look at best like he doesn’t know what to do; at worst, he looks like he wants to kick the issue into the long grass. This is becoming a worrying trend. Indeed, it looks like we are cursed with a u-turning, rudderless, government and an opposition that has about as much clue where it wants to take the country. We do have to observe the Parties collective policy -making process but that in no way stops our leader using some broad brush strokes and painting a picture of the kind of Britain we want to see. Its time, Mr Miliband to start painting on that blank canvas.