Ardent socialist, co-founder of the London School of economics, novelist and playwright George Bernard Shaw once said, “Until the men of action clear out the talkers, we who have social consciences are at the mercy of those who have none” and true to form, the talkers would have us believe austerity measures along with the reform of banking regulation have put both the heart ache and the economic implications of the banking scandal firmly behind us.
Keen to keep us all abreast of the good news we are told;
- “Britain is holding its nerve...the British economy is on the mend...[and]... we are going to make sure that everyone benefits from this recovery.” Chancellor George Osborne
- “People need clarity over interest rates... to remove any uncertainty and to allow them to make economic decisions.” Governor of the Bank of England, Mark Carney
- “Britain is seeing the green shoots of recovery...it is healing...and it is out of intensive care,"David Cameron’s spokesman to Reuters (on a daily basis)
- "Investors from around the world [are] investing in a British bank [and it] is a sign the British economy is turning a corner", George Osbourne after the sale of 6% of Lloyds bank to overseas investors.
However, for the 99% of us who occupy the real world, the picture remains significantly less rosy;
- The long overdue FSA/FCA investigative report into the collapse of HBOS is to be delayed until next year.
- “Economic recovery has been restricted to those at the top...it is not recovery for most people” Labour spokesman to Reuters
- “A significant cohort of UK borrowers could experience financial difficulties if interest rates were to rise during a period of subdued income growth,” Financial Stability Report
- Living standards in the UK are lower than they have been for a decade because inflation is still outstripping wage increases Reuters
- Barclays and Lloyds have set aside a further 450 million to compensate people they have defrauded and Lloyds have used delaying tactics to encourage complainants to give up on their claims
- The recently published bi-annual Financial Stability Report states, the banks Financial Policy Committee relaxed the regulations for the UK’s big four lenders to allow them to "reduce their capital requirements by 20%" and in so doing has provided them with a further 70 billion of cunningly disguised bailout.
Meanwhile, trapped between the legacy of widespread and hitherto unpunished banking avarice and the greed of my landlord, my family and I wait, without patience, for;
- HBOS to supply me with information I require to progress my case of complaint to the FOS
- The FOS to respond to my 1 August request that they ask HBOS to supply me with the information I have been awaiting for eight long months
- My landlord's builders to finish their noisy decimation of the Grade 2 listed property I have called home for the past five years
- A letter from my landlord’s solicitor to advise me he wishes to increase my rent by a staggering 50% as a result of the installation of an extremely expensive, entirely unsolicited, sustainably fuelled heating system.
In October 2012, Any Haldene, Executive Director of Financial Stability and member of the Financial Policy Committee, made a speech to Occupy Economics to advocate socially useful banking. He said “concrete, practical proposals for change” would be delivered by way of banking reforms which addressed the five “c’s” (culture, capital, compensation, credit and competition) and further stated, “We know too that the costs of crises are felt disproportionately by the worst-off in society whose living standards tend to fall not just relatively but absolutely”. Yet, five arduous years on since my family and I lost our home, our livelihood and our financial futures, the talk continues while, for the 99%, the painful consequences of the crisis remain unchanged.
Stoic philosopher, inspirational master of equanimity and the last of the five good emperors of Rome, Marcus Aurelius, once said, “The guest at the lower end of the middle couch...who is digging in his big mouth with a toothpick is a fraud. He has no teeth” and while I wait, without mercy for the toothless Financial Ombudsman Service, to progress my miss selling complaint against HBOS, I can only conclude both the talkers, the bankers and the regulators are precisely the same.