Media 79: mainstream media are not reporting Barclay’s announcement on Third Energy fracking project
Fracking: Five pages were searched and all witnessed to publicity from campaigning groups – a snapshot of the first page may be seen below.
Third Energy, a Barclays subsidiary, which had a licence to frack just south of the North York Moors national park has “not become a profitable investment”. This is due to local opposition, which delays companies’ progress, according to Barclay’s chairman John McFarlane, speaking at the bank’s annual general meeting.
Barclays’ has now announced that it will sell its stake in fracking company Third Energy “in due course”.
Steve Mason of local campaign group Frack Free Ryedale said in a press release: “Clearly fracking is a bad investment environmentally, socially and financially. Where is the long term future of this industry? Why would you put money into an industry that is increasingly rejected by communities and could get banned at anytime?”
Teaching the gentle arts of failed speculation and rate rigging in schools: completing the corporate takeover of Britain?
Rage distracted me from my gentle Sunday plans – mixed with surprise that our government could display even more corporate-friendly arrogance than I thought possible. Are there no lengths to which they will go? No depths to which they will sink?
Yesterday an article by Elaine Moore, deputy editor of FT Money, was widely retweeted.
It opens by reporting a plan by the All-Party Parliamentary Group on Financial Education for Young People to invite high street banks – even those responsible for the consumer ‘mis-selling’ scandal of the past decade – into British schools to help to teach financial education.
Banks, including Lloyds, RBS and Barclays, would be considered for a list of financial service firms permitted to use branded material when making classroom presentations in English primary and secondary schools from September 2014.
And the Department for Education states that there are no rules to prohibit corporate involvement in teaching and the display of brand names in material used in lessons.
Financial education – and lessons in the art of form-filling until plain English triumphs – is undoubtedly needed in schools to equip pupils to cope with ‘the system’, but choose decent, honest, intelligent and well-informed people to give this instruction.
My candidate would be financial journalist Paul Gosling; name yours . . .
Jill Segger, writer, journalist and associate director of Ekklesia, writes in the Friend, 13 July 2012:
“The institutions which society once regarded as generally trustworthy are crumbling. Serious wrongdoing, greed and self-interest has been exposed among MPs, the press and the banks.”
Christopher Hedges, journalist and Master of Divinity, writes even more strongly about the American situation:
Though we would qualify this ‘sweeping generalisation’, bearing in mind the responsible professionals we will all have met, there is ample evidence to support Jill Segger’s observation of crumbling institutions.
“Relationships between politicians, the press and the police have come under close scrutiny and more than thirty arrests have been made as a result of the Operation Elvedon inquiry into the bribery of police and public officials.
“The crisis of trust that we are experiencing is the sour fruit of the collapse of the post-war consensus, which underpinned a more collective and mutually responsible society. The ethos of the 1980s, with its fixed belief that market forces – in other words, money – must always dominate all other considerations, accelerated the process. The common good was for sale and there were many eager to snap it up at a bargain basement price.”
An illuminating moment during the Treasury Select Committee’s questioning of Barclay’s chief executive, Bob Diamond, was recorded:
“Although the proceedings resembled a light toasting rather than a serious grilling, anger at the bank’s rate-fixing was evident. However, Diamond’s smooth evasion and obfuscation appeared unshakeable until John Mann, the MP for Bassetlaw, asked him: ‘Do you know the founding principles of the original Quaker bank?’
“For an instant, panic flashed in Diamond’s eyes, but by the time Mann had named those principles, ‘honesty, integrity and plain dealing’, the well-trained corporate operator had once again composed his features into neutrality – ‘no comment’ made flesh.”
People are acknowledging and seeking for those qualities of integrity, which momentarily disconcerted Bob Diamond
Ms Segger comments:
“It was a powerful moment and, as a journalist and commentator, I have heard its unmistakable echo in my inbox and Twitter feed over the last few days. Something is stirring that goes well beyond the immediate reactive anger to MPs expenses, to press and police malpractice and to the stunning level of ruinous greed displayed by bankers.”
This paragraph has been selected from her article as a fitting conclusion
“Collapsing confidence in what were once the pillars of our common life now presents us with a clear choice. We can either sink into an apathetic cynicism, which refuses to believe that good governance is still possible and as a consequence adopts many of the behaviours it condemns, or we can stand firm and sound deep to that within which recognises and longs for something better.”
Prem Sikka, Professor of Accountancy (University of Essex) writes about this loss to the public purse:
“The banks have got it made. They have ripped off people with exorbitant charges and measly returns on savings. They have picked people’s pockets with the mis-selling of payment protection insurance, endowment mortgages, personal pensions, precipice bonds and split capital investment trusts – to name just a few.
“Banks have driven up the price of food and commodities through speculation, a major cause of commodity inflation. The state has guaranteed their profits through the Private Finance Initiative and the channelling of pensions and benefit payments through bank accounts. The taxpayer has bailed out banks through loans, subsidies and guarantees that add up to more than £1 trillion. Yet, in return, the banks cannot be relied on to pay democratically agreed taxes . . .
“In 2009, Barclays paid £113 million in corporation tax to the United Kingdom – about 2.4 per cent of its £4.6 billion global annual profit. Now the British Government has announced that Barclays tried to avoid £500 million of tax through two novel schemes . . .
“The £500 million that Barclays sought to avoid is equivalent to the cost of 100 new primary schools, or employing 16,000 nurses . Yet Barclays and its tax advisors were not bothered about the social consequences. The bank’s defence was that other corporations are also doing the same and it has not broken any laws . . .
Read the Tribune article here.
Title amended and final sentence withdrawn – editor’s error, she regularly confuses Lloyds with Barclays:
“Barclays, bailed out by the taxpayer, avoids paying democratically agreed taxes”
Andy rightly comments: “Barclays were bailed out by the Qataris – not the UK tax payer in the style of RBS and HBOS.