Julian Knight: Why shoot the media when you can't miss banks?

It may not be most people's idea of fun, but I actually like meetings of the Treasury Select Committee – well some of them at least. They have provided some good knockabout stuff. The MPs on the committee are really in their element when a banker (preferably American) comes blinking in front of them trying to defend the often indefensible.

Often, the MPs hold their own competition to see who can think of the best soundbite to get on the television news. Some go further and bring their own props – such as a letter from a constituent threatened with having their first-born seized and auctioned if they don't pay off their overdraft or credit card debt.

After an hour or so of facing MPs' indignation, the suitably humbled bankers agree to supply more information to their customers before fleecing them – or to "improve transparency", as committee chairman John McFall loves to say. In short, something that costs a couple of hundred grand can be dumped on the marketing department and no one reads it. The media love the process because it's easy meat, while the politicians get to appear to care about things that don't involve their own expenses.

However, last week's committee meeting with some of the masters of the business journalism universe was less knockabout, more waste of time.

For a start, the MPs seemed a bit star-struck to have such luminaries as BBC business editor Robert Peston in front of them – men they might, after all, need to cosy up to in future.

And when they did eventually get to the nitty-gritty – that reporting of the banking crisis had been over the top and helped spark the run on Northern Rock and the subsequent collapse in other banks' shares – they were on to a loser straight away.

The journos had them for breakfast. After all, they are not a group of dissembling bankers; their job is about the truth. The MPs simultaneously accused them of over-reporting the crisis and not reporting it enough. It was embarrassingly confused. They ought to stick to beating up the bankers; there are plenty of potential new victims out there.



Stone cold on the Rock

Northern Rock is back in the mortgage market, offering a host of new deals. The big idea of paying back the state's multi-billion-pound loan in double-quick time has been put on ice as the Treasury looks to use the Rock to kickstart the UK home loan market. But as we report on pages 88 and 89, look closely at the nationalised bank's deals and they are a long way from being best buys.

For many people, what's more, the Rock is a broken brand, always to be associated with greed and incompetence. And since nationalisation it has been over-zealous in chasing debtors and raising rates to arm-twist borrowers into remortgaging, so cash can be freed to pay the Government. That's hardly covering itself in glory.

Independent Partners; request a free guide on NISAs from Hargreaves Lansdown

Voices
The Sumatran tiger, endemic to the Indonesian island of Sumatra, is an endangered species
voicesJonathon Porritt: The wild tiger population is thought to have dropped by 97 per cent since 1900
Arts and Entertainment
Beast would strip to his underpants and take to the stage with a slogan scrawled on his bare chest whilst fans shouted “you fat bastard” at him
musicIndie music promoter was was a feature at Carter gigs
News
news
Arts and Entertainment
Story line: Susanoo slays the Yamata no Orochi serpent in the Japanese version of a myth dating back 40,000 years
arts + entsApplying the theory of evolution to the world's many mythologies
PROMOTED VIDEO
News
Performers dressed as Tunnocks chocolate teacakes, a renowned Scottish confectionary, perform during the opening ceremony of the 2014 Commonwealth Games at Celtic Park in Glasgow on July 23, 2014.
news
Life and Style
Popular plonk: Lambrusco is selling strong
Food + drinkNaff Seventies corner-shop staple is this year's Aperol Spritz
News
Gardai wait for the naked man, who had gone for a skinny dip in Belfast Lough
newsTwo skinny dippers threatened with inclusion on sex offenders’ register as naturists criminalised
News
Shake down: Michelle and Barack Obama bump knuckles before an election night rally in Minnesota in 2008, the 'Washington Post' called it 'the fist bump heard round the world'
newsThe pound, a.k.a. the dap, greatly improves hygiene
Arts and Entertainment
La Roux
music
Arts and Entertainment
Graham Fellows as John Shuttleworth
comedySean O'Grady joins Graham Fellows down his local Spar
News
people
News
Ross Burden pictured in 2002
people
News
Elisabeth Murdoch: The 44-year-old said she felt a responsibility to 'stand up and be counted’'
media... says Rupert Murdoch
Arts and Entertainment
tv
Extras
indybest
Sport
Arsenal signing Calum Chambers
sportGunners complete £16m transfer of Southampton youngster
Finacial products from our partners
Property search
Latest stories from i100
Have you tried new the Independent Digital Edition apps?
Independent Dating
and  

By clicking 'Search' you
are agreeing to our
Terms of Use.

ES Rentals

    iJobs Job Widget
    iJobs Money & Business

    Data Governance Manager (Solvency II) – Contract – Up to £450 daily rate, 6 month (may go Permanent)

    £350 - £450 Per Day: Clearwater People Solutions Ltd: We are currently looking...

    Java Developer - Banking - London - Up to £560/day

    £500 - £560 per day: Orgtel: Java Developer FX - Banking - London - Up to £560...

    HR Business Analyst, Bristol, £350-400pd

    £350 - £400 per day + competitive: Orgtel: My client, a leading bank, is curre...

    Account Manager - (Product & Account Management, Marketing)

    £26000 - £30000 per annum + Benefits: Ashdown Group: Account Manager - (Produc...

    Day In a Page

    The children were playing in the street with toy guns. The air strikes were tragically real

    The air strikes were tragically real

    The children were playing in the street with toy guns
    Boozy, ignorant, intolerant, but very polite – The British, as others see us

    Britain as others see us

    Boozy, ignorant, intolerant, but very polite
    Countries that don’t survey their tigers risk losing them altogether

    Countries that don’t survey their tigers risk losing them

    Jonathon Porritt sounds the alarm
    How did our legends really begin?

    How did our legends really begin?

    Applying the theory of evolution to the world's many mythologies
    Watch out: Lambrusco is back on the menu

    Lambrusco is back on the menu

    Naff Seventies corner-shop staple is this year's Aperol Spritz
    A new Russian revolution: Cracks start to appear in Putin’s Kremlin power bloc

    A new Russian revolution

    Cracks start to appear in Putin’s Kremlin power bloc
    Eugene de Kock: Apartheid’s sadistic killer that his country cannot forgive

    Apartheid’s sadistic killer that his country cannot forgive

    The debate rages in South Africa over whether Eugene de Kock should ever be released from jail
    Standing my ground: If sitting is bad for your health, what happens when you stay on your feet for a whole month?

    Standing my ground

    If sitting is bad for your health, what happens when you stay on your feet for a whole month?
    Commonwealth Games 2014: Dai Greene prays for chance to rebuild after injury agony

    Greene prays for chance to rebuild after injury agony

    Welsh hurdler was World, European and Commonwealth champion, but then the injuries crept in
    Israel-Gaza conflict: Secret report helps Israelis to hide facts

    Patrick Cockburn: Secret report helps Israel to hide facts

    The slickness of Israel's spokesmen is rooted in directions set down by pollster Frank Luntz
    The man who dared to go on holiday

    The man who dared to go on holiday

    New York's mayor has taken a vacation - in a nation that has still to enforce paid leave, it caused quite a stir, reports Rupert Cornwell
    Best comedians: How the professionals go about their funny business, from Sarah Millican to Marcus Brigstocke

    Best comedians: How the professionals go about their funny business

    For all those wanting to know how stand-ups keep standing, here are some of the best moments
    The Guest List 2014: Forget the Man Booker longlist, Literary Editor Katy Guest offers her alternative picks

    The Guest List 2014

    Forget the Man Booker longlist, Literary Editor Katy Guest offers her alternative picks
    Jokes on Hollywood: 'With comedy film audiences shrinking, it’s time to move on'

    Jokes on Hollywood

    With comedy film audiences shrinking, it’s time to move on