Wednesday, 24 August 2016

May`s "naming and shaming" and other "peashooter" solutions

Graham Ruddick rightly emphasises the point that the "naming and shaming" of 198 employers failing to pay the minimum wage is "shameful", not simply because there are so many companies on the list, which make such vast profits and which clearly think their success has nothing to do with the hard work of their employees, but because the government must know that such public unveiling is simply "window-dressing" (Poor payers: time to act, 12/08/16). It receives scant attention from the media, especially when released at a time when most people`s attention is focussed elsewhere, but, as Ruddick says, without the added threat of criminal charges, company directors will continue the practice.
 The idea that embarrassment, caused by widespread public knowledge, will deter such anti-social behaviour as tax avoidance and failing to pay the minimum wage, has long been proved a non-starter; has transparency stopped CEOs of FTSE 100 companies taking home 183 times the pay of their average worker? Has the banking industry stopped paying obscene amounts in bonuses, the expensive tastes of MPs been sated by the expenses scandal, or public knowledge of the Speaker`s ridiculous travel claims changed his means of transport?
  If May thinks the voters will be fooled into thinking she is tackling  capitalism`s problems, she is mistaken.

 Eleven "peashooter solutions" to fix the banking industry in the last seventeen years, despite those institutions "reliably" working "against the interests" of the British public, demand a response from the Tory government, especially as May has promised to "reform capitalism" (It isn`t our banks that need an overhaul - our watchdogs do too, 10/08/16). Clearly what is needed is not just for the "state-owned institutions" to be "mandated to lend more", but for them to be amalgamated to create a People`s Bank, working for the benefit of the country as a whole, and not simply to create profits to be divided up into shareholders` dividends and obscene.bonuses.
   It would not only create real competition to the remaining high street banks, but also a nationalised bank would force them to mend their ways, and end such ridiculously callous and greedy practices like, in Larry Elliott`s words, "penal rates for unauthorised overdrafts", not to mention fixing Libor rates, and laundering drug money (Flimsy whip for banks, 10/08/16). Above all, would it not challenge their obviously confident belief that the 3 per cent of customers switching banks is not set to rise in the foreseeable future?

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