The revelation that Paul Flowers, the disgraced and former chairman of the Co-op Bank, knew "next to nothing about banking" , and was £44bn wide of the mark when asked about the assets of his bank, came as a shock; his lack of knowledge and experience in the sector should have excluded him even as a candidate for the job. However, it does suggest there may be a need to check on the suitability of many of those holding key positions in our society, starting with the Chancellor of the Exchequer. The heir apparent to the Osborne baronetcy left the Bullingdon Club with a degree in modern history,and worked as a researcher and speechwriter with the Tory party before becoming an MP in 2001.He was Michael Howard`s third choice as Shadow Chancellor in 2005, and ran Cameron`s leadership campaign.Where are his accountancy skills and expertise in micro amd macro-economics? If he had any, perhaps he would not have praised the Co-op for its attempts to spend £750m which it clearly did not have, on buying Lloyd`s branches,or,as Andrew Rawnsley tells us, tried to "persuade other finance ministers to waive capital requirements" in order to promote the purchase.
This is the man who is so in cahoots with the City he has allowed "the regulators to appoint a head of their own choice" for the inquiry set up to investigate why the regulators saw nothing wrong with the Co-op Bank`s affairs! Osborne also ignored the parliamentary commission`s advice on bankers` bonuses by skedaddling off to Brussels to claim the EU`s bonus cap was illegal! Banking on interest rates not rising significantly until after the 2015 election is clearly his "essential gamble", but this shows exactly how the Chancellor`s pursuit of political power takes priority over the needs of our society, just like the bankers` pursuit of profit and bonus has precedence over the requirements of their customers and the taxpayers.
There is definitely a case for "ethical leadership by independent people",as suggested by the Centre for Public Scrutiny,but until the priorities of our party politicians change, it seems a distant and unlikely prospect.Harping on about transparency is all very well, but without, for instance, insisting on publication of the personal tax details of all politicians and those holding public office, is what can be described as "all talk and no trousers"; our politicians appear well qualified for that at least!