Tag Archive | "government ministers"

Are bankers exempt from a fiduciary duty?

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Are bankers exempt from a fiduciary duty?


It is generally accepted that company directors have a fiduciary duty to their shareholders. The word itself comes originally from the Latin fides, meaning faith, and fiducia, trust. In other words, a fiduciary is someone who has undertaken to act for and on behalf of another in a particular matter in circumstances which give rise to a relationship of trust and confidence. As is the case of a company director.

If we assume that the directors of banks also have this fiduciary duty, why is it that they are being asked to resign, rather than being sacked? In addition to their fiduciary duty, directors must exercise a reasonable standard of care and act responsibly. Now, whilst there is some reasoned argument that the world economic situation compounded the problems our banks faced, it is ludicrous in the extreme to suggest that this is the sole reason for their demise and therefore, the need for vast amounts of taxpayers money to bail them out. With position comes responsibility, if the directors of our banks got it wrong, then they must pay the price. It is after all, they (collectively or otherwise), who made the decisions that ultimately lead to the failure of these once great institutions. Theoretically at least, if any director failed in their fiduciary duty, acted recklessly or without due care then, not only could they be sacked, but they could find themselves liable to a civil action. That notwithstanding, it is clear to me, that if ‘trust and confidence’ is an integral part of a fiduciary’s duty, then there has been a failure.

Government ministers have consistently talked about the fact that there must be “no reward for failure”, this pre-supposes that the bankers have failed,if this is the case, then by which yardstick? Is it in terms if their fiduciary duty, duty of care or that they have acted recklessly? If they have failed, then why were they allowed to leave voluntarily, with or without a compromise agreement? Why weren’t they sacked, why haven’t we heard ministers talk about suing directors that have failed? Could it be that those in public office also have a fiduciary duty and that they themselves could be subject to litigation? I don’t know the answers, I am no lawyer, but I say this, if there is no reward for failure, then there must be action against anyone that has failed in their duties. Not for revenge, but to prevent this happening again. In addition, if the government is correct in its assertion that certain bankers have failed, then surely, the right way to go is not to renege on the terms of any compromise agreement, but to sue the individual in their personal capacity. These individuals have either failed or they have not, ministers must be careful in making damning statements, yet failing to back them up with appropriate action.

I am not qualified legally or otherwise to determine whether or not any individual director has failed in their fiduciary duty. Therefore I am not suggesting anyone (bankers or otherwise) has acted improperly, I am relying only on the governments own words, that there should be no reward for failure, which implies that there has indeed been a failure. However, in the “court of public opinion” I would like to state for the record, that I believe there is merit, perhaps even a duty, for the government to seek legal advice on this matter, because they, as a majority shareholder in these banks, have their own fiduciary duty to the shareholders, you and me!

Posted in Conservatives, General, Labour, Lib Dems | Comments (4)

Home Office crime wave warning dossier

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Home Office crime wave warning dossier


Now let me get this straight. According to a “leaked” dossier, the credit crunch is going to result in an increase in crime, extremism, racism, violence and illegal working. Is there any area of responsibility that the Home Office has not covered?  Talk about trying to cover their backsides. They have covered virtually every area of responsibility they have, up to and including, terrorism.

Now, whilst I accept that this document is supposed to have been leaked and therefore is not supposed to have been endorsed by Jacqui Smith. Precisely what does Jacqui Smith and the Home Office intend to do about it? With a budget of nearly £14bn, surely we can expect a little more from these prophets of doom? If this was a private or for that matter a public company, it is a racing certainty that Smith would have been fired.

So, according to the Home Office, a rise in crime, extremism, racism, violence, illegal working and terrorism has nothing to do with the Home Office, nothing to do with the government, but instead can be blamed in its entirety on the state of the economy or the credit crunch, depending on your take of the situation.

Well now the cat is out of the bag Jacqui, we demand to know precisely what you are going to do about it. If you are simply going to accept it, then you should resign now. If your department is suggesting a 19% increase, based on the 1992 figures, then we would like to know why, in spite of the significant investment in your department, and 11 years in government, you expect to fair no better than the conservative government of 1992? Your government has presided over a significant erosion of our civil rights, your government has introduced draconian laws which allow the police and scores of other government departments to snoop on the private affairs of virtually every individual in the UK, and your government has increased significantly the spending, in real terms on policing and counter-terrorism in this country.  This is the quid pro quo, speak now.

A dossier produced by your department has been leaked. You must now tell us which parts you agree with and which parts you don’t. Then based on this information, you must then tell us what you are going to do to reduce the doomsday scenario of your own department. If this is simply your departments’ way of having something placed into the public domain, so they can later claim that they told us so when these scenarios are allowed to become fact, then that is totally unacceptable.

We should not need to remind you that you and your government are public servants, you are employed and rewarded for doing a job, and failure should not be an option. Simply telling us that you are going to fail in advance is no excuse.

Posted in Labour | Comments (0)

Are British Members of Parliament really aliens?

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Are British Members of Parliament really aliens?


Perhaps it is just me, but I am beginning to believe that our MP’s are on another planet, not that they were born on another planet, just that once they become elected they appear to move to another planet.

We, the electorate, are almost always referred to as the “people” whenever our members of parliament or, more accurately, our ministers talk about us. Almost as if we are something different to them, of a different class, a different sub-species and, perhaps we are. Because MP’s simply remove themselves from the real world within months, sometimes days of being elected, or re-elected. They are quite happy to communicate with the “people” when they want something, such as your vote, but don’t expect them to talk to you again, at you, but not to you. Instead they will use any medium capable of delivering a one way message such as newspapers. Or perhaps, the internet savvy will use a blog, albeit many do not allow comments or moderate them to avoid anyone expressing an opinion that may differ from their own.

My point is, do any of the MP’s out there sound like us, talk like us or act like us. If we are being honest with ourselves, the majority don’t. For example, we make mistakes, but our MP’s in general and our minsters in particular, they never do. No, it is always a contractor, world events, the previous government, a civil servant, in fact anyone but themselves at fault. It is akin to driving a bus and claiming the accident was caused by weather conditions, the state of the tyres, the passengers, the previous owner etc., not because of anything the bus driver did. After all, it can’t be the bus driver’s job to check the tyres, the weather conditions or keep the passengers under control.

To err is human and believe it or not, most people can relate to that and the honesty that goes with being able to admit responsibility or culpability. Perhaps if more members of parliament were to admit the failures or weaknesses, we could repeat the entire saying, “to err is human, to forgive is divine”. In other words if they acted like the “people” they claim to represent, and admitted their mistakes, we would probably forgive them, because we can relate to something that happens to us all. In fact, at least making mistakes means we are doing something and it is better to do something and get it wrong occasionally, than it is to do nothing. Making a mistake and being able to admit to it can demonstrate our depth; provide a tangible example of our honesty and our integrity, not to mention our skills at objectivity and self-analysis. All the things, in fact, that we would expect of an elected member of parliament.

As soon as an MP is elected, they lose their ability to communicate with us, why, because they are then expected to toe the party line, they have to become part of a machine? So they must think about each and everything they say. They are no longer real people; they just spout the same party line, too scared of their own shadows to say anything else. This is a generalisation, but then, if we are honest with ourselves, this type of behaviour is a familiar trait with the vast majority of MP’s.

In the past, we have had real ‘characters’ amongst our MP’s most were not flamboyant, just outspoken. You may not have agreed with their politics, but at least they were prepared to step forward and say what they think, not the party hierarchy. Today, the number of characters amongst our 650 or so MP’s can be counted on one hand, simply because they are required to leave their opinions, beliefs and personalities behind if they want to get on or not be labelled a maverick. We would probably consider someone labelled by the party machine as a maverick as a person of principals, gravitas or of independent mind.

Once in parliament, our MP’s become robots, part of the machine where every line has to be rehearsed, every comment considered to ensure that is doesn’t offend anyone, difficult questions must be evaded and if you are fortunate enough to be a minister, then you determine what questions can, or cannot be asked. It is so far removed from the real world, that it is alien to us; therefore it is impossible for the electorate to relate to these elected officials. So, we have around 650 members of parliament ruling 65m people, but in such fear, that in truth, we are probably ruled by less people than in the Politburo of the Communist Party of China.

Take Prime Ministers Question Time, the PM always knows well in advance what questions will be asked, they also have a few stooges who are ready to raise an issue where the PM can preen his feathers and claim all of the credit. If the PM is rounded on by the opposition, he simply blames the previous government, in spite of the fact that Labour has been in government for 11 years, or refers to the voting patters of the other parties. Everything is staged, yes the PM or some of his ministers may be lampooned, but we are given carefully rehearsed and research answers that are delivered in such a way as to ensure that the government record or minister is cleared of any wrongdoing, responsibility or culpability. This is not real life, it is alien to us.

Gordon Brown has many, many problems to deal with, but the people, as we are patronisingly referred to, are quite forgiving, because we are normal. Imagine if you will, Gordon Brown standing up and admitting, that he should have put a little money away in the good times, to ensure that we could survive the difficult times, which were bound to come. He could admit for example, that there would be fewer pensioners in fuel poverty had he not raided their pension schemes. We can relate to these admissions because they demonstrate that to err is human. He could also admit that he made a mistake by allowing the Labour party to renege on its commitment to allow the people the opportunity to vote of the ratification of the EU Constitution. He could even offer to put that right, by allowing us the vote and saying sorry. He won’t because that would make him look like us.

Our leaders and our members of parliament need to start talking like us, speaking like us and acting like us if they are to re-engage with the public. We don’t all speak with one voice like the political parties, the vast majority of us are willing to accept our share of responsibility when things go wrong, we don’t disparagingly refer to a group of people like they are some underclass, we don’t rehearse our answers or have speeches written for us.

Members of Parliament have to re-engage with the public and to do so is quite simple, they don’t have to spend hundreds of millions on consultants to work out how. They just need to act like normal people with a big job to do. They need to talk to us as equals. They need to keep their promises and maintain their values, not sell them for a cushy junior minister’s post. They need to talk to the people that put them in parliament for the entire period of their term in office, not talk at them, but to them. Above all, they need to be humble, admit their mistakes, tell us what they are going to do to put them right and move on.

 

It is not difficult for our members of parliament to demonstrate that they are not aliens or resident on another planet.

Posted in Conservatives, General, Labour, Lib Dems | Comments (2)

Have MP’s lost touch with the British people?

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Have MP’s lost touch with the British people?


There are many examples, and I shall name a few in the coming days, of MP’s being completely out of touch with what matters to the British public. The latest instance has to be set by shadow education secretary, Michael Gove.

Yesterday he made a big noise about so called ‘lads mags’, claiming that “Titles such as Nuts and Zoo paint a picture of women as permanently, lasciviously, uncomplicatedly available.” What is this guy on? I don’t intend to argue the case for or against these publications, in a tolerant such as ours, I find it hard to believe that this was all the Conservative MP could find to talk about.

There are many things that may cause families to break up these include losing their homes as a result of negative equity and rising interest rates. Money worries as a consequence of rising fuel prices, food prices, utilities and taxes. Stress in terms of having to work harder, for less money, maybe in fear of redundancy. There are a whole string of reasons, another is perhaps taking their partner for granted, something Michael Gove would do well to consider, because he and his party seem to be taking their poll lead for granted by believeing they know best and taking on a policy of patronising the electorate.

What we should all be asking is where has this guy been for the past 6 months, what does he really think concerns the British public at this time? Now lets think about that… could it be, an impending recession, the credit crunch, rising fuel prices, knife crime, house prices, redundancies? If this is not enough, there are many other serious issues that are of real concern to the electorate, perhaps Michael Gove should get out more, rather than reading Zoo and Nuts!

Every party claims to be “listening” to their public, well who are they listening to, it sure as hell isn’t you or me? Is Michael Gove going to seriously claim that one of his constituents came to see him to claim about lads mags? If he did receive a complaint, maybe someone could remind him about placing things into perspective.

It is high time all MP’s started to talk to the people that put them in office and more importantly, learned to listen. It is also time the Conservative party started to act like a real opposition party, the truth is, they only look good, because the Labour party is so awful. In my opinion, all Michael Gove has done, is to confirm, that it is not just the Government that has lost touch with the voters, but also some MP’s of the official opposition.

David Cameron needs to reign these guys in, before the electorate catch on to the fact MP’s within the his party are as removed from the public as government ministers and labour party MP’s. He should also consider bringing in real people to advise, people with real world experience, or better still, have real people stand as the local Conservative MP, rather than career politicians or local ‘faces’. Now, more than ever before, this country needs MP’s that talk, sound and look like the rest of us. No wonder the electorate feels so disenfranchised.

MP's are NOT in touch with the public mood

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MP's are NOT in touch with the public mood

  • I strongly agree (77%, 37 Votes)
  • I agree (13%, 6 Votes)
  • I am neutral (6%, 3 Votes)
  • I disagree (2%, 1 Votes)
  • I strongly disagree (2%, 1 Votes)

Total Voters: 48

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Posted in Conservatives, General | Comments (8)

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