Danny Rogers: Banks comms farce is dangerous for all

There is an ever-growing communications vacuum developing around the restructuring of Britain's banks.

Danny Rogers
Danny Rogers

While Chancellor Alistair Darling was this week issuing confident-sounding statements about retail downsizing and billions of fresh funding that were 'good news for taxpayers', the message being received by the man on the street was somewhat different.

Even the educated observer gets the impression of endless money being pumped into a corrupt and inefficient financial system, while at the same time junior workers lose their jobs and sterling loses its value abroad.

Communication on this issue from the Government is lacklustre in the extreme. We are largely expected to trust the judgement of Darling and Gordon Brown - clever, experienced policymakers, for sure - but with a dearth of explanation about how all this is likely to play out.

The Conservatives, despite their 'ditherer' attack line against Brown, have consistently failed to offer any accessibly viable alternative view, throughout this recession.

Liberal Democrat Treasury spokesman Vince Cable, arguably the best communicator during the credit crunch, continues to sound sombre warnings that make us feel more worried but do little to bolster public understanding.

So while senior bankers and policymakers debate 'quantitative easing' and 'contingent equity' in the broadsheets, the tabloids feed on thousands of pre-Christmas job losses and unrepentant bankers splashing out on methuselahs of Krug at clubs like Whisky Mist.

Meanwhile, we have regular opinion pieces by senior City figures carping on about how unfair it is to 'persecute' bankers and how enormously valuable the Square Mile is to our economy.

What we really need is a senior politician or financier to step away from the ivory towers of Westminster or Threadneedle Street and put vested or political interests aside. We need them to explain, in simple terms, how such apparent injustice can be good for the economy - for us - in the long term.

Failing to do so risks not just a tarnished image for bankers, but potentially serious civil unrest.

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