Do we live in a country where our every move is being watched? Dr Eamonn Butler believes that the huge number of CCTV cameras on our streets have caused a new wave of anxiety amongst the public, as the police can easily target the innocent for insignificant crimes rather than taking care of the real threats to society.
Testament to the inability of non-executive directors to maintain a rigorous oversight over the activities of banks’ executive team is reflected in the mounting losses reported by those two ugly sisters of Scottish banking, RBS and HBOS. Cross-examined by the Treasury select committee earlier this year, it was clear that the non executive members of the board had failed to rein in their CEO’s meglomania. What is more, it was revealing to learn that neither the chairmen nor the CEOs of the two banks had any banking qualifications. Nor had Adam Applegarth, the CEO of Northern Trust, or Matt Ridley, the chairman, ever sat a banking exam. [Cont'd]
Dr Eamonn Butler argues the case for tax havens. He investigates why the G20 leaders would be so against tax havens and the people who use them.
According to this research by the ASI's Richard Teather and Dr Eamonn Butler, MPs' generous expenses, index-linked pensions and second-home allowances give them a multi-millionaire lifestyle that their constituents could scarcely dream of. It finds that the effective income of the average MP is £319,165 – nearly 18 times the pay of the average voter. The report also contains a 'fat-cat ranking' for each of our Westminster representatives. Click here to read the report.
This briefing by City analyst Miles Saltiel assesses the 2009 G20 Summit. It concludes that
In What Went Wrong? An Agenda for the G20, leading financial analyst Miles Saltiel, argues that many common explanations for the economic crisis are wrong, stemming from prejudice rather than evidence. He identifies five key culprits that the G20 should focus on instead: (1) loose monetary policy; (2) hubristic social engineering in housing policy; (3) the failure of the Basel protocols on core capital; (4) banks that were 'too big to fail'; and (5) the effects of oligopoly on auditors and ratings agencies.
Adair Turner, the former McKinsey consultant who now heads the FSA, published his much-heralded regulatory response to the global banking crisis last week. By all accounts, Gordon Brown will use the report as the basis for his initiative to re-regulate the world’s banking markets at the G20 Summit due to be held in London next week. While the report includes some telling insights into the current credit crisis, described in the opening paragraph as “arguably the greatest crisis in the history of finance capitalism” it is fundamentally flawed in its approach to the daunting task ahead. The report sets out a raft of new initiatives: higher capital adequacy margins; closely monitored liquidity regulation; greater oversight of hedge funds; curbs on bankers’ bonuses; rating agency oversight; and what is referred to as “intrusive and systemic supervision”. Yet in truth what is needed is not so much a stack of new regulation, but a regulatory regime that enforces the existing rulebook while eliminating regulations that are either unnecessary or unenforceable. [Cont'd]
Today, many industrialized nations have developed a multitude of social programmes, and these have become so entrenched that theorists, and politicians alike, claim the 'right' of citizens to their services. We are told we have a right to health care, education, unemployment insurance, and so on. Indeed, Jack Straw, the UK Justice Minister, recently proposed to codify these entitlements in a new British Bill of Rights. But do we, as citizens of developed nations, actually have these rights?
Where do the Conservatives stand on the issue of tax? With the increased possibility of a Conservative Government in power by next June, Dr Eamonn Butler looks at how Cameron could deal with the mess we find ourselves in.