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August 01, 2011

Comments

Paulie

"...isn’t it a sad indictment of our low level of public discourse - and our squeamishness to discuss power openly - that such a demand has to be disguised by waffle about a meaningless public interest?"

Exactly. When will we wake up to the simple truth that - as long as pressure groups are cultivated and rewarded - the value of most votes will be hugely diminished by comparision to the people whose interests are served by those groups?

Gary

WRT to the power point, it may well be that the intention is to dissipate power more generally, but that is not what it proposes. Rather the proposal is to appoint a 'secretariat' no less with "power" (to use their own words) to require attendance at hearings, fund research and set an agenda as what is important in the furtherance of the 'public good'.

This is at best a counterpoint to existing power, or more likely s transference of power to another sel-appointed elite who are feeling rather disempowered lately. Either way its not dissipating power unless we are in the land of Philosopher Kings.

Paolo Siciliani

Com'on Chris, the first paragraphs of this campaign are quoted below. On the face of it, the issue of power is tackled up-front, far from squeamish I would say....

"Something is unraveling before our eyes. From bankers to media-barons, private interests have bankrupted and corrupted the public realm. Power, for so long hidden in the pockets of a cosy elite, has been exposed. Those who wield it have been found wanting – in scruples, in morals and in decency.

Things are now in flux, but will not stay so for long.

Without decisive and sustained action, power will fall back into the hands of a small elite who have their own, and not the public's interest at heart.

They want to prevent public revulsion turning into public action. But, it's time for real change. Things cannot be allowed to turn back to business as usual.

Britain can no longer be just the plaything of a handful of powerful, remote interest groups treating the wider public with contempt"

Phil

Is it a sad indictment of your writing style that you seem compelled to muffle perfectly straightforward statements of opinion in rhetorical questions? I think so.

Ralph Musgrave

There is a little technical error in Chris’s article. He claims “There’s a trade-off between a banking system that promotes growth, by lending freely, and one that’s safe and lends only cautiously.”

This is a myth. Obviously it is one pushed for all it is worth by the bank industry, and politicians are fooled every time.

The truth is that if tighter bank regulation curtails bank lending, that need not curtail “growth” because there are two basic ways of paying for anything – whether it’s a family buying a PC or an oil company buying a new oil refinery. One way is to borrow the money, and the second is to pay out of your own pocket.

If lending is curtailed, there is no reason for demand or “growth” to be curtailed because the amount of money in everyone’s pockets (families, oil companies, etc etc) can be boosted by having the government / central bank machine create new money and spend it into the economy. The latter policy is advocated by Modern Monetary Theory and by the submission to the Independent Banking Commission by Prof R.A.Werner, Positive Money and the New Economics Foundation. See:

http://www.positivemoney.org.uk/wp-content/uploads/2010/11/NEF-Southampton-Positive-Money-ICB-Submission.pdf

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