Tuesday, 2 August 2011

Brave New World

In order to limit the distress my sixteen year old son foresaw if he had to endure a family holiday without teenage companionship, I suggested he invite a friend from school to come too.  It was during a conversation with his friend, who plans to do a law degree, I discovered the Inland Revenue spend vast sums of money on legal cases involving people who find their tax bills a distressing infringement of their human rights.  Having been a self-employed 40% tax payer for the much of my working life I can  most definitely relate to finding a tax bill distressing but have to admit I have never considered it a violation of my human rights but merely the bane of the fortunate.

In the same way it would not occur to me to take the Inland Revenue to court on an issue of this nature, it did not occur to me, to seek human rights or equal opportunities advice when HBOS told me it was too late to save my home in October 2008.  I believe HBOS profited from a naivety on my part and when they decided to forego scruples, morals and decency in favour of seizing an opportunity to rail-road me out of my home in an effort to replenish their under capitalised coffers.Until recently, I  did not understand why my mortgage paying proposals fell on deaf HBOS ears. I have Stop HBOS campaigner Nicolette Turner (and victim of the HBOS Reading scandal) together with Ed Milliband’s recent speech on the feral elite to thank for my Eureka moment.  Their words have helped me see not only did I borrow too little to register above the radar for help but they have also enabled me to see I fell into financial difficulties too early to enjoy the benefit of government recommendations to lenders that followed, via the Ministry of Justice Pre-action Protocol in early 2009.

While I was looking to work with HBOS to reach a solution which worked for both of us, the HBOS executive were busily shouting from the roof tops “ it wasn’t me” to every accusation which came their way.  I believe the capital within my home became part of their hurried re-capitalisation plan which was supposed to sweep their recklessness towards risk management under the carpet and save them face along with their jobs. I can think of no other reason why my home saving proposals got me nowhere at a time when the media were declaring help was on its way in the form of government funding and FSA guidelines aimed at helping those caught in the credit crunch crossfire.Regrettably for me, our meritocratic culture encourages the celebration of the good fortune of the early bird without giving a second thought to the bad luck of the early worm. When it came to the forced sale of my home I fell foul of being one of the very early worms which was consumed by unbridled HBOS self interest.

When Ed Milliband recently said, “The powerful are very good at talking about the responsibilities of the powerless but they aren’t very good at looking at their own responsibilities,” he could have easily been referring to HBOS and the way they have continued to expect me to pay the price of their mistakes. Unaware of Franklin Roosevelt observations, “In our personal ambitions we are individualists but in our seeking of economic and political progress as a nation, we all go up or else all go down as one people”, Lloyds and HBOS have continued to offer victims of their greed nothing but contempt for the stressful HBOS created predicaments they find themselves in.
I can only hope the newly launched Public Jury Campaign provides  a definitive step in the right direction towards a brave new world which limits the power of " the cosy elite" because, again in the words of Roosevelt, as a rule,"men are moved by two levers, fear and self interest” and while “we have always known that heedless self interest was bad morals: we now know that is bad economics.”

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