Thursday, February 12, 2009
Bankers and parliament
Watched the heads of UK banks giving evidence to the parliamentary finance committee yesterday live on Sky. It was riveting stuff. Varley from Barclays came across with that patrician English style that often masks a sharp mind. The poor guy from Santander was clearly wondering why some Scottish MP with an impenetrable Gorbals accent and little knowledge of banking was berating him over the loss of E20m in the Madoff funds. HSBC had sent along a typical corporate apparatchik who did his best not to gloat over his peers weak balance sheets and runaway bonus culture. The frightening thing was the hectoring manner and visible lack of knowledge of many of the MP's on the committee. Their populist rudeness was a disservice to democracy and had the perverse effect of generating sympathy for the bankers. The new boss of RBS had the guts to reply to one of his new masters that his allegations were 'outrageous'. Well done.