It’s more than five years now since The Slog and many others began pointing the finger at RBS over its fraudulent campaign to recoup losses by stealing the assets of its SME customer base. The man clearly behind the forced bankruptcy “strategy” was Nathan Bostock, who is now CEO of the lovely people at Santander. There he has specialised since 2014 in ignoring customer complaints about Santander’s inadequate processes, current account charges and other unpleasant policies. Until, that is, he was dragged back to his RBS past by Commons proceedings a fortnight ago.
Having been told by then rising Coalition star Vince Cable at the time that RBS management “could not possibly have been unaware of what was going on”, the Government has nevertheless refused to reimburse the victims (RBS is still a nationalised bank), and the Financial Conduct Authority has not done a lot – as in, nothing.
During and since its bailout, RBS has cost the UK taxpayer a whopping £109 billion.
The FCA, the Fraud Squad and the City police have not preferred a single corporate charge, or so much as questioned one individual from Stephen Hester or Ross McEwan downwards. When unaccountable power, ideology, bureaucops and money all have the same interests, this is what the Law does: nothing.
So effectively, just as they embezzled the pensions of 354,000 1950s born women, Whiteminster has quietly pocketed the seed capital of several hundred British entrepreneurs.
I’m not sure which is worse any more – stealing our pre-tax money or losing loads of money we already paid them. No better at providing armed forces accommodation than they are at supplying weapons that work, the MoD made a loss on the sale of some of its own property, and then farmed out the rental side of giving soldiers, sailors and airmen decent quarters in which to live before dying for Queen and Country. You’d think it was the least they could expect; you’d also posit that we would at least expect to break even on the deal.
Well, we lost four billion quid….whereas the private firm involved has netted an average 13% on the deal for the last twenty years. Now the rental firm says it wants a rent rise taking into account the cost of living.
Nobody went to jail. No lost their job. No pension was affected in the making of this spectacular farce. Instead, we must tighten our belts, and face more austerity, for are we not all in this together?
The NAO that recorded and published this pathetic waste was a rich source of information for me during nearly fifteen years. I don’t have the energy for that sort of stuff any more, but I do recall my best source there telling me nine years ago that roughly two in every five Pounds of tax monies are wasted for varietal reasons including irrelevant strategy, badly negotiated supply contracts, private sector cheating, “benefit in kind” graft, supplier incompetence, poor legal advice and simple write-offs.
Two in every five. Mind-boggling.
There have been two disturbingly illiberal developments in recent years. First, the increasing degree of incestuously exchanged body fluids between the UK police forces and the media….blatantly on show during the Newscorp hacking scandals – and still a foul stain on the British tradition of equality before the Law.
Less high-profile is something potentially even worse: the tendency of senior police roles to blur into State bureaucracy to a degree that would have even some Third World countries blushing.
The developing term for these people is ‘bureaucops’, and the greatest catalyst to growth in this trend has been first and foremost migrancy-assisted terrorism, and secondly, increasing powers granted to GCHQ and the HMRC. This works in myriad ways, most of which are not on the radar of most people. (What else is new?)
Important elements in this latter trend include banks doing contra deals with the taxman in return for massive violations of legislation relating to personal customer finances. It’s hard to think of anything more evil than tax evading, bailed-out corporates repaying the public’s generosity by giving HMRC yet more access to their money, but then I can’t say I’ve been surprised to hear about it.
Another corker (about which I’ve blogged previously in a French context) is ISPs and global Telcomcos being moved further and further above the law of service contract breaches in return for unlimited GCHQ access to all forms of personal fibre-optically derived and general online data.
Three weeks ago, a story merged at the Daily Telegraph about “NHS officials” selling cancer patient data to tobacco companies. Then it disappeared.
I wonder why…..
They waste our money, steal our money, and give/sell our personal information to Uncle Tom Cobbleigh & Partners. These, ladies and gentlemen, are our leaders.