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Bankers need to realise that things have changed

2 February 2012

6:08 PM

2 February 2012

6:08 PM

In a speech tomorrow, Ed Miliband will call for ‘one nation banking’. The
Labour leader will argue that banks have to show that they are part of the society in which they operate.
 
But, perhaps, most interesting is Miliband’s point — previewed in the political column this week — that the behaviour and pay structures of banks are fair game for parliament
because they are ‘either directly or indirectly supported by the taxpayer.’ Labour will, indeed, propose a vote on the broader bonus culture. The clear target of this motion will be
Barclays and Bob Diamond.
 
Before the bailouts it would have been easy to dismiss all this as left-wingery gone mad. But seeing as public money has been used to rescue some banks and to guarantee the banking sector as a
whole, things are no longer this simple. Indeed, those of us who believe in the free market urgently need to make bankers realise that the bailouts radically changed their position. If we
don’t, this country will move, worryingly, to the left.


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