By Ray Fleming

AS if the abject climb-down by Britain's coalition government in the face of bankers' stubbornness over bonuses were not demeaning enough, the Chief
Executive of Barclays, Bob Diamond, chose to embarrass the government still further when appearing at the Treasury Select Committee yesterday afternoon. “The time for remorse and apology is over” said Mr Diamond, and added for emphasis, “Frankly, the big issue now is how do we put some of the blame game behind us.” It would be interesting to know when UK banks, individually or collectively, showed any remorse or offered any apology over the role that they played in the economic crises of 2007 and 2008. The impression that most people had at the time was that their policy was “business as usual”.

The list of pledges broken and principles abandoned by the Lib-Con government grows by the day. Not so long ago David Cameron called for a two thousand pound cap on bonuses at banks which the government had bailed out. In the Lib Dem manifesto Nick Clegg wrote, “Banks have been allowed to ride roughshod over the economy and are still handing out bonuses by the bucket-load.” Unfortunately, Vince Cable, the only minister who showed he had the guts for a fight with the banks, foolishly blotted his copybook and is a spent force. Now the talk is of “greater transparency” and of compensating contributions to the Big Society Bank. It's a scandal.


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