Better Together chief Alistair Darling was Chancellor when financial crisis started
Scottish news: Libor scandal discredits 'Better Together' chief
Evidence is piling up, from the Libor scandal revelations, that Britain's banks may have been awash with fraudulant practices, causing untold damage to lives of ordinary people and raising questions over why taxpayers' money was used in a seemingly futile attempt to rescue the UK financial sector from insolvency.
In terms of who should take responsibility it is the UK Chancellor who has overall responsibility for regulation of the UK's financial sector and so in the lead up to the near collapse of the banking industry, Alistair Darling, was 'at the wheel'. Now Darling, chief of the Scottish independence 'Better Together' campaign finds that his credibility during the financial crisis has been ‘fatally undermined’, according to the SNP, following a spate of criticisms from those close to him at the time.
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During a House of Lords debate on the Libor scandal this week, Lord Tunnicliffe, speaking for the Opposition, said:
“Criminal sanctions are extraordinarily difficult to bring about because of the burden of criminal law.
“It is fair to say though that you can’t find them in the current legislation. And, yes, OK, it’s our fault.” He added quickly: “I hope my leaders don’t hear me say that.”
This follows claims last month from Bank of England Governor Sir Mervyn King that Darling’s failure to act quickly in the Northern Rock crisis cost Britain a million jobs. If true this would translate to around 100, 000 jobs in Scotland.
Two weeks ago, FSA Chief Executive Hector Sants said that Darling had ignored advice which could have prevented the run on Northern Rock, the event which precipitated the crisis in the UK.
SNP Treasury Spokesman Stewart Hosie has said that it is now clear that the leader of the "anti-independence" campaign cannot now pretend to lecture others on financial competence.
Commenting, Mr Hosie said:
“Alistair Darling’s credibility as the face of the anti-independence campaign has been fatally undermined by yet another damning criticism of his handling of the financial crisis.
“Lord Tunnicliffe’s comments show who really crashed the banks.
“These ongoing and recent revelations lift the lid on Labour’s economic mismanagement, and ring true after the comments from the Bank of England governor and Hector Sants of the FSA over Alistair Darling’s failure to act on economic warnings.
“Alistair Darling’s failure to act brought on the banking crisis, causing a recession, which led to the sharp increase in unemployment."
Leveson inquiry for the banks
Since the financial crisis emerged in 2008 few journalists have had the courage to ask important questions over how the banking sector works and how it is regulated. Instead they preferred to look the other way and advance their own careers. Those who did ask difficult questions were often labelled as 'extreme'.
Most reports on the state of the banking sector and the economy have shamelessly and unthinkingly repeated City propaganda and the consequence is that what was a financial sector collapse has now become an economic crisis threatening the way of life of millions.
With the journalistic class effectively acting as PR flunkies for a widespread confiscation of the citizens' wealth a new culture of citizen journalism has sprung up on the web.
The lack of media exposure given to those economists who dared challenge the views of conventional economists, those who neither predicted the crisis nor yet know how to deal with it, has been scandalous in itself. Instead of reporting that our economic crisis stems from systemic fraud in the financial sector the media has reported that the economic crisis was merely a deep recession. In so doing they have allowed politicians to lavish taxpayers money on suspect banks and impose austerity measures on the population in order to further bail out these zombie institutions.
Now, internationally renowned economist Ann Pettifor has launched a petition calling for a Leveson-style inquiry into conduct in the British banking sector. The petition states "We the undersigned call for an independent, judicial public enquiry into fraud, wrongdoing and ethics of British banks, their management and their staff, and the role of the British Bankers Association."
Ms Pettifor is Director of PRIME Policy Research in Macroeconomics and a fellow of the New Economics Foundation, London. She is the author of books on sovereign debt and international finance.
To access the petition click here.
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