Policy Research in Macroeconomics

Banks’ conduct and ethics – case for judicial inquiry “unanswerable”

Jeremy Smith

“[T]he systemic corruption in the City goes so much deeper – and affects so many millions of livelihoods around the world – that the case for a separate, Leveson-style judicial inquiry into the conduct and ethics of the financial sector is quite simply unanswerable”.

“The conduct and ethics of the financial sector” – that could have been us in Prime banging on again… but it comes in fact from this morning’s Daily Mail, whose editorial  is entitled “This token inquiry cannot restore trust” – a reference to Prime Minister Cameron’s “promise” of a Parliamentary inquiry.  Let’s confess, we do not always see eye-to-eye with the Mail on economic policy issues, but they are right on the nail here.

And there’s more:

“No, this is also about the integrity of a system on which our whole way of life depends.  Indeed, it is no exaggeration to say that the banks stand accused of a series of crimes against society itself.”


As Prime readers will be aware, we launched an E-petition for a Judicial Inquiry into the wrongdoing and ethics of the banks, the moment the Libor scandal broke last week.  Many organisations (and thousands of twitterers!) have helped to promote this and take it forward, and we thank them most warmly. We know we have together made a real impact.

Others have now joined, once the scale of public anger became apparent.  38 degrees – who have a great database – have separately launched their own petition, which is here.  It asks David Cameron to ensure that there is an inquiry that is independent and has real teeth.  We support all initiatives that broadly share our goals on this matter, and encourage people to sign both our and 38 degrees’ peititions.

But we note that – unlike Prime, the Daily Mail or the Labour Party, 38 degrees have not explicitly called for a Judicial Inquiry.  We think this precision is necessary not for its own sake, but to take the inquiry out of hands of the intertwined financial and political sectors.

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