Leading article: The day Bob Diamond outshone MPs

 

Share
Related Topics

Bob Diamond's appearance before the Treasury Select Committee had been billed as "big box office" – and, like many such keenly anticipated appearances, it fell short by quite a long way. The (just) former chief executive of Barclays alternated anger with painstaking detail and charm. After a hesitant beginning, he settled into a tone more reminiscent of breakfast television, addressing the MPs by their first names, as though it was they rather than he who needed to be put at ease.

He dropped no bombshells. He did, however, offer some useful clarification – though not on what is emerging as the most contentious question: the nature of the contacts between the Government, the Bank of England and Barclays through 2008. The first clarification related to the Libor scandal, where Mr Diamond separated the complicity of Barclays traders trying to manipulate the inter-bank lending rate for their own profit, and any attempts government ministers might have made to influence it. In so far as both call into question the integrity of Libor, though, the issue is one and the same.

The second concerned his interpretation of the 2008 conversation he had minuted with the Deputy Governor of the Bank of England. Where some saw the call as an instruction to report lower lending rates, Mr Diamond said he had seen it rather as a reflection of Government fears that Barclays' relatively high declared rates betrayed a financial position less secure than that of other banks. In fact, he said, it was Barclays' figures that were accurate.

The third clarification relates to the Government's insistence on a parliamentary inquiry. With some honourable exceptions, the MPs' questions were timid, ill-informed, over-emotional and party political. Once Mr Diamond understood the need for periodic self-flagellation, he was almost off the hook. The proceedings offered the perfect illustration of why a judicial inquiry is so necessary, and why the parliamentary option will not do.

React Now

Latest stories from i100
iJobs Job Widget
iJobs General

Commercial Litigation Associate

Highly Attractive Package: Austen Lloyd: CITY - COMMERCIAL LITIGATION - GLOBAL...

Systems Manager - Dynamics AX

£65000 - £75000 per annum + Benefits: Progressive Recruitment: The client is a...

Service Delivery Manager (Software Development, Testing)

£40000 - £45000 per annum: Ashdown Group: A well-established software house ba...

Digital Content Officer - Central London - £33,000

£28000 - £33000 per annum: Ashdown Group: Marketing Executive (Digital Marketi...

Day In a Page

Read Next
 

If Hadza nomads get by on 14 hours’ work a week, why can’t we?

Boyd Tonkin
Ed Miliband will launch a campaign including more than a dozen speeches by Shadow Cabinet members over the next five weeks  

Ed opens up about his image problem. Now he needs to explain some of his policies

Andrew Grice
Backhanders, bribery and abuses of power have soared in China as economy surges

Bribery and abuses of power soar in China

The bribery is fuelled by the surge in China's economy but the rules of corruption are subtle and unspoken, finds Evan Osnos, as he learns the dark arts from a master
Commonwealth Games 2014: Highland terriers stole the show at the opening ceremony

Highland terriers steal the show at opening ceremony

Gillian Orr explores why a dog loved by film stars and presidents is finally having its day
German art world rocked as artists use renowned fat sculpture to distil schnapps

Brewing the fat from artwork angers widow of sculptor

Part of Joseph Beuys' 1982 sculpture 'Fettecke' used to distil schnapps
BBC's The Secret History of Our Streets reveals a fascinating window into Britain's past

BBC takes viewers back down memory lane

The Secret History of Our Streets, which returns with three films looking at Scottish streets, is the inverse of Benefits Street - delivering warmth instead of cynicism
Joe, film review: Nicolas Cage delivers an astonishing performance in low budget drama

Nicolas Cage shines in low-budget drama Joe

Cage plays an ex-con in David Gordon Green's independent drama, which has been adapted from a novel by Larry Brown
How to make your own gourmet ice lollies, granitas, slushy cocktails and frozen yoghurt

Make your own ice lollies and frozen yoghurt

Think outside the cool box for this summer's tempting frozen treats
Ford Fiesta is UK's most popular car of all-time, with sales topping 4.1 million since 1976

Fiesta is UK's most popular car of all-time

Sales have topped 4.1 million since 1976. To celebrate this milestone, four Independent writers recall their Fiestas with pride
10 best reed diffusers

Heaven scent: 10 best reed diffusers

Keep your rooms smelling summery and fresh with one of these subtle but distinctive home fragrances that’ll last you months
Commonwealth Games 2014: Female boxers set to compete for first time

Female boxers set to compete at Commonwealth Games for first time

There’s no favourites and with no headguards anything could happen
Five things we’ve learned so far about Manchester United under Louis van Gaal

Five things we’ve learned so far about United under Van Gaal

It’s impossible to avoid the impression that the Dutch manager is playing to the gallery a little
Screwing your way to the top? Good for Lana Del Rey for helping kill that myth

Screwing your way to the top?

Good for Lana Del Rey for helping kill that myth, says Grace Dent
Will the young Britons fighting in Syria be allowed to return home and resume their lives?

Will Britons fighting in Syria be able to resume their lives?

Tony Blair's Terrorism Act 2006 has made it an offence to take part in military action abroad with a "political, ideological, religious or racial motive"
Beyoncé poses as Rosie the Riveter, the wartime poster girl who became a feminist pin-up

Beyoncé poses as Rosie the Riveter

The wartime poster girl became the ultimate American symbol of female empowerment
The quest to find the perfect pair of earphones: Are custom, 3D printed earbuds the solution?

The quest to find the perfect pair of earphones

Earphones don't fit properly, offer mediocre audio quality and can even be painful. So the quest to design the perfect pair is music to Seth Stevenson's ears
US Army's shooting star: Lt-Col Steven Cole is the man Hollywood calls when it wants to borrow a tank or check a military uniform

Meet the US Army's shooting star

Lt-Col Steven Cole is the man Hollywood calls when it wants to borrow a tank or check a military uniform