There are moments when you listen to the BBC when the clouds suddenly part, the sun breaks through and the person being interviewed layeth a smackdown on the BBC interviewer. Such was the case this morning when RBS CEO Stephen Hester was interviewed here on Today by James Naughtie. What a cracking performance from Mr Hester. Naughtie pursued the usual dismal biased BBC narrative which seems to reduce to; 1/ The Banks were solely responsible for the financial crisis 2/ Bonus payments are wrong 3/Fairness should be the central nostrum for capitalism. Each time he tried to get Hester to agree, the RBS Chief effectively dismissed the proposition put forward. When Naughtie compared Hester to a Doctor, implying the latter did what he did without bonus payment, Hester compared Naughtie to a Nurse (!) and batted the point straight back. This was a seamless performance and even at the very end when Naughtie resorted to making a cheap point using Hester’s parents, this too was dealt with. If you haven’t bought shares in RBS, you should. It’s a pity we are forced to buy into the BBC. Well done to Mr Hester.
Through the prism of the BBC, the Banks are the bad guys, solely responsible for our financial woes. The role of Labour in bringing about the financial crisis is being sanitised and in fact the Labour Government is
presented as being noble if not heroic for bailing out the Banks. But that is far removed from reality. B-BBC contributor Alan makes some interesting points here;
“A consistent theme from the BBC, one that you can hear day in day out, is that the banks benefited from borrowing funds at low interest rates made possible by the confidence provided by the government guaranteeing the loans. Such an angle of attack allows the BBC money ‘experts’ to attack not only the banks that needed a government bail out in 2008 but also those like Barclays that didn’t…..the criticism being because they also benefited from low interest rates and so should be forced to somehow make reparation for the sins of the banking sector as a whole. It is clearly more an ideological anti-Banking stance than one based on real ‘sins’ by the likes of Barclays.
If the banks obtain funds at low rates the whole economy benefits, businesses can borrow from the banks at lower rates and mortgages are lower….more jobs, more houses, higher GDP. The government’s stance now, not to guarantee the banks, is compounded by the government’s insistence on the banks having large capital reserves themselves…meaning less money available to lend to business…and what is lent is lent at higher cost. A report from UBS confirms this….and the damage being done to the economy by the government now refusing to guarantee the banking sector finances.
‘Banks being made riskier and Brits poorer, warns UBS’
‘Comparing the BoE’s policy to that of the European Central Bank, UBS analysts warned the lack of an emergency scheme to support the UK banking system in the event of a new crisis already led to rapidly rising funding costs for lenders. Barclays and Lloyds Banking Group had to pay a very high price to access the debt markets. The impact of this on the economy has been profound. UBS says five-sixths of British private sector workers are employed by companies with no access to the bond market, while bank lending to the UK economy continues to decline. Noting recent Bank of England figures showing a decline in Britain’s foreign trade deficit, UBS said the authorities were ignoring “the lost GDP from inappropriately high cost of debt”. ‘
It is a shame that some in the BBC are so intent on making ideological attacks on capitalism that they fail to do their job properly….reporting the facts. Perhaps this is the outcome of having their very own government guarantee scheme ensuring their funding, the license fee, allowing a level of complacency and isolation from reality that breeds contempt for truth and the Public. Having to source funds commercially might make the BBC more accountable and responsive to the public’s requirements. Privatise them.