The Great Debate UK
– Mark Hannam is a guest columnist, the views expressed are his own. He formerly worked at the Bank of England. He currently chairs Fair Finance, a microfinance company. The views expressed are his own. –
George Osborne’s proposals to reform the UK’s system of financial regulation make for good short-term politics but bad long-term policy. He should think again.
Blaming the tripartite structure of financial regulation for the banking crisis makes sense politically, because it suggests that the Prime Minister, who designed the structure, was responsible for the crisis.
Good politics does not always make for sound policy however. There are three reasons to think that Mr Osborne’s proposals are ill conceived. First, unless the opinions polls change dramatically in the next few months, the FSA will start to haemorrhage high quality staff and will not be able to replace them.
Second, if the Conservatives implement these plans they will throw the financial regulatory system into chaos for two or more years while the re-organization takes place. This will create risks in an already fragile financial system and generate costs for an already depleted public purse. Regulatory reform on this scale is neither quick nor cheap.
- Gavin MacFadyen is Director of the Centre for Investigative Journalism, a non-profit training charity, who advance education for, and public understanding of investigative journalism. The opinions expressed are his own. -
Whether the press, or even the police (if Speaker of the House of Commons Michael Martin has his way) succeed in unmasking the person who leaked MPs’ expense details to the Daily Telegraph, one thing which remains troubling in this story is the alleged exchange of money for those 1.2 million-or-so damning documents.
Whatever reservations there might be over the way the leaked information was obtained, the publication of hitherto secret details about the endemic abuse of MPs’ expenses was without doubt in the public interest.
The expenses crisis is well and truly engulfing Westminster, with equal anticipation and dread about future revelations. Labour was quite reasonably aggrieved that the initial stories all seemed to be about their MPs.
- John Kampfner is chief executive of Index on Censorship and former editor of the New Statesman. His new book, “Freedom for Sale”, will be published by Simon and Schuster in September. The opinions expressed are his own. -
Squalid is the adjective that best describes the approach of our not-so-honourable members of parliament to their own expenses. But what about the journalism that has helped to all but destroy what remaining trust the public had in its elected representatives?