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Flagrant Contempt of Parliament by Crony Capitalist Sir Howard Davies of RBS

Do we live in a truly decadent age?

Can anyone get away with anything?

These are questions I feel compelled to ask after watching just a few minutes of Howard Davies and Ross McEwan, of the taxpayer-owned Royal Bank of Scotland (RBS), giving evidence before last Tuesday’s Parliamentary Treasury Select Committee.

To not, as a society, vehemently question the goings on at these proceedings implies a collective post traumatic stress disorder following the 2008 crash that has robbed us of the dignity and empathy that we need to recover.

But recover we must. Current tolerance levels for corruption and injustice remain incredibly high and we all too often simply carry on.

Dialectic-as-a-service

 

Rushdie used to quote Kundera by saying that man’s struggle against the system was like the persistence of memory when trying to forget.

What happens when we can’t forget?

Madness is rare in individuals – but in groups, parties, nations, and ages it is the rule. Friedrich Nietzsche

What happens when powerful individuals are given platforms to defend corporate criminality while the rightful anger and people’s sense of injustice is segmented and siloed off to the point of non-existence, like the risk on a series of high risk collateralised debt obligations (CDOs) repackaged as Triple A reliable investments during good times only to re-emerge as toxic during the bad.

The risk and the anger never go away. They just get stored up for a later date. “They that sow the wind, shall reap the whirlwind”.  Some will wonder why no-one heeded the warnings. How the journalists are to blame just as much as the government and the bankers.

Maybe the warning signs are hidden in the business pages. As Harvey Cox says in The Market as God, the concepts in the business pages are theological. Redemption and Retribution. People getting away with stuff and others getting punished. Why does God permit it?  Nowadays we have PR people, Regulators, Central Banks, Blacklisted Whistleblowers and a growing number of unhappy customers.

If you kick off about this stuff, people ridicule you for making a big deal out of nothing, for being an anti-business Social Justice Warrior that knows nothing about the way of the world.

If the facts of life really are conservative then why make a fuss about anything?

Anyway, here’s that master class in how to carry out state-sanctioned cannibalistic, rampant Crony Capitalism in broad daylight — and get away with it.

Lots of innocent Small Business Owners have been asset stripped of their families, marriages, businesses and homes by the RBS Global Restructuring Group (GRG), and all many of them will get is this:

It is hard to see which features of Crony Capitalism don’t apply here:

Crony capitalism is an economy in which businesses thrive not as a result of risk taken for them, but rather as a return on money amassed through a nexus between a business class and the political class. This is done using state power to crush genuine competition in handing out permits, government grants, special tax breaks, or other forms of state intervention[1][2]over resources where the state exercises monopolist control over public goods, for example, mining concessions for primary commodities or contracts for public works. Money is then made not merely by making a profit in the market, but by profiteering by “rent seeking” using this monopoly or oligopoly. Entrepreneurship and innovative practices, which seek to reward risk are stifled, since the value-add is little by crony businesses as hardly anything of significant value is created by them, with transactions taking the form of “trading”. Crony capitalism spills over into the government, the politics and the media,[3] when this nexus distorts the economy and affects society to an extent it corrupts public-serving economic, political and social ideals.

The term “crony capitalism” made a significant impact in the public as an explanation of the Asian financial crisis.[4] It is also used to describe governmental decisions favoring “cronies” of governmental officials. In this context, the term is often used comparatively with corporate welfare, a technical term often used to assess government bailouts and favoritistic monetary policy, as opposed to the economic theory, described by “crony capitalism”. The extent of difference between these terms is whether a government action can be said to benefit the individuals rather than the industry.

Off with their heads. No questions asked.

But for some reason, the British sense of fair play perhaps, they remain.

But how long can this carry on?

Here are the rules on lying to Select Committees from a Parliament Document: 

So none of what is said in a select committee hearing can be relied upon in civil or criminal proceedings against anyone but attempting to mislead is Contempt of Parliament.

I’m still waiting for the full transcript of Davies and McEwan’s hearing to go up. I feel the people at Parliament are dragging their feet.

I’m realising that Howard Davies’s chiaroscuro can be found near pretty much every financial crime scene going. With previous like you wouldn’t believe.

McKinsey, Treasury, Seconded Special Adviser to Nigel Lawson when he was Thatcher’s Chancellor of the Exchequer, Bank of England, Head of the Audit Commission which is now defunct but was instrumental in overseeing Thatcher’s Privatisation and Denationalisation agenda including Fraud Investigation, the London School of Economics from where he had to resign because of his closeness to Colonel Gaddafi, and now he’s the Chair of the Fraud Machine that is the 71% taxpayer owned Royal Bank of Scotland.

Here he is on PFI. 

For more on how banks treat their customers, their staff, and the whistleblowers that speak out, follow Real Media, financial adviser Stephen Middleton, Bank Confidential,Kam Sandhu, Joel Benjamin, Ian Fraser, and Whistleblowers Mark Wright & Nicholas Wilson:

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Telegraph thoroughly defrauds its readers over RBS – again

The Financial Conduct Authority has accused Sunday Telegraph journalists Ben Martin and James Quinn of attempting to launder RBS’s reputation despite several reports by Buzzfeed, The Times, The Daily Telegraph, and BBC Newsnight, of RBS’s rampant and widespread criminal behaviour.  

RBS knowingly missappropriated its SME customers’ assets to improve its capital ratio and meet regulatory requirements in what the banks executives themselves referred to as their own ‘dash for cash’.

The Daily Telegraph has form when it comes to lying to its readers. Former chief political correspondent Peter Oborne quit in early 2015 over its unwillingness to report accurately on HSBC fraud.

Martin and Quinn’s piece this morning gives RBS a headline and a platform with which to pretend that the GRG allegations are all false despite overwhelming evidence that RBS knowingly defrauded its SME clients.

The FCA say they are not in  a position to comment on GRG till they publish their findings. 

When that will be remains anyone’s guess.

So we have the ugly prospect of two sets of state employees continuing to score points against each other by withholding and ignoring the truth about their own involvement in withholding and ignoring the truth.

The mind boggles at the unfathomable depths to which these civil servants will plumb in order to prevent justice and transparency and protect the shadiest part of the state’s fraudulent investment portfolio.

Is it morally right to cannibalise your own citizens if you do it via the people’s de facto sovereign wealth fund?

Innocent British businessmen were sold ‘protection’ on loans they took out with the bank but unknown to them the small print stated they were on the wrong side of an unlimited downside spread bet with the bank in which they had unwittingly remortgaged the roofs over their families’ heads.

Given that fraud is the banking industry’s business model all this should not come as a surprise.