Simon Carr:

The Sketch: Banking cannibals are likely to gorge on us once again

Share
Related Topics

While we are on the subject of trust, what about the banks? Do we trust them? What do we trust them to do? They've enjoyed the biggest blood sacrifice ever – can we trust them to behave in such a way that we don't have to do that again?

Will they live hereafter a godly, righteous and sober life? Or will they be more that familiar mix of John Terry, Russell Brand and Karakatakataka the Cannibal Queen of Zanzibar? (They gorge on our substance, and suck the marrow from the bones of our wives?)

Lord Turner, our top financial regulator, appeared in front of the Treasury Committee to address this fundamental question of the modern financial services industry. Will banking cannibals once again suck the marrow from our wives, and laugh in our faces as they do so?

He said it was important "to create the ex-ante belief that subordinated debt holders will suffer loss". That sounded suspiciously like a yes.

He went on to talk about "inherent pro-cyclicarities". The suspicions deepened. There's no need to talk like that. It might have meant anything. It might have been a recipe for marrowbone jelly.

Lord Turner had a number of solutions. The ones any normal ignoramus could understand were silly, and so I assumed – perhaps unfairly – were the ones we couldn't.

To stop a boom while it was still booming he was recommending a "macroprudential committee" on which he had placed "maverick economists" in order to "institutionalise intellectual challenge". That's like sending missionaries into the Big Feast armed only with the New Testament printed on sugar paper.

Turner was lofty about the failings of the "free market" but in fact we never saw the free market at work chastising the wrongdoers (by eating them – it's the only thing they understand). The free market would have released their special counter-cannibals. Those characters in private equity are even more bloodthirsty and carnivorous than bankers.

But back to the committee. Andrew Tyrie gave the regulator quite an elegant kicking over his assertion that "the whole financial system had grown bigger than was socially useful". That statement had been modified to "some parts" of the system, and now reduced further to "a case for saying some parts were too large". Turner caused laughter with his finesse: "If parts were swollen the whole would have been bigger."

Yes, he is a master of missionary-speak but it won't be enough. He hadn't been able to control those credit instruments last time and he won't next time. He knows they mutate (sharper teeth and longer nails).

There's five years before we have to think about controlling a boom again, they all felt. But that doesn't solve the immediate and ongoing problem of these mutants continuing to gorge on us.

simoncarr@sketch.sc

React Now

  • Get to the point
Latest stories from i100
Have you tried new the Independent Digital Edition apps?
iJobs Job Widget
iJobs General

Recruitment Genius: In House Counsel - Contracts

Negotiable: Recruitment Genius: This leading supplier of compliance software a...

Recruitment Genius: Associate System Engineer

£24000 - £30000 per annum: Recruitment Genius: The Associate System Engineer r...

Recruitment Genius: Executive Assistant

Negotiable: Recruitment Genius: An Executive Assistant is required to join a l...

Ashdown Group: Marketing Manager - B2B, Corporate - City, London

£45000 - £50000 per annum + benefits : Ashdown Group: A highly successful, glo...

Day In a Page

Read Next
Zoe Sugg, aka Zoella, with her boyfriend, fellow vlogger Alfie Deyes  

If children are obese then blame food manufacturers, not Zoella

Jane Merrick
Amos Yee arrives with his father at the State courts in Singapore on March 31  

Singapore's arrest of a 16-year-old YouTuber is all you need to know about Lee Kuan Yew's legacy

Noah Sin
General Election 2015: The masterminds behind the scenes

The masterminds behind the election

How do you get your party leader to embrace a message and then stick to it? By employing these people
Machine Gun America: The amusement park where teenagers go to shoot a huge range of automatic weapons

Machine Gun America

The amusement park where teenagers go to shoot a huge range of automatic weapons
The ethics of pet food: Why are we are so selective in how we show animals our love?

The ethics of pet food

Why are we are so selective in how we show animals our love?
How Tansy Davies turned 9/11 into her opera 'Between Worlds'

How a composer turned 9/11 into her opera 'Between Worlds'

Tansy Davies makes her operatic debut with a work about the attack on the Twin Towers. Despite the topic, she says it is a life-affirming piece
11 best bedside tables

11 best bedside tables

It could be the first thing you see in the morning, so make it work for you. We find night stands, tables and cabinets to wake up to
Audley Harrison's abusers forget the debt he's due, but Errol Christie will always remember what he owes the police

Steve Bunce: Inside Boxing

Audley Harrison's abusers forget the debt he's due, but Errol Christie will always remember what he owes the police
No postcode? No vote

Floating voters

How living on a houseboat meant I didn't officially 'exist'
Louis Theroux's affable Englishman routine begins to wear thin

By Reason of Insanity

Louis Theroux's affable Englishman routine begins to wear thin
Power dressing is back – but no shoulderpads!

Power dressing is back

But banish all thoughts of Eighties shoulderpads
Spanish stone-age cave paintings 'under threat' after being re-opened to the public

Spanish stone-age cave paintings in Altamira 'under threat'

Caves were re-opened to the public
'I was the bookies’ favourite to be first to leave the Cabinet'

Vince Cable interview

'I was the bookies’ favourite to be first to leave the Cabinet'
Election 2015: How many of the Government's coalition agreement promises have been kept?

Promises, promises

But how many coalition agreement pledges have been kept?
The Gaza fisherman who built his own reef - and was shot dead there by an Israeli gunboat

The death of a Gaza fisherman

He built his own reef, and was fatally shot there by an Israeli gunboat
Saudi Arabia's airstrikes in Yemen are fuelling the Gulf's fire

Saudi airstrikes are fuelling the Gulf's fire

Arab intervention in Yemen risks entrenching Sunni-Shia divide and handing a victory to Isis, says Patrick Cockburn
Zayn Malik's departure from One Direction shows the perils of fame in the age of social media

The only direction Zayn could go

We wince at the anguish of One Direction's fans, but Malik's departure shows the perils of fame in the age of social media