Tuesday 24 December 2013

Quis Custodiet Ipsos Custodes?

Why if you can’t get a job and are 5 minutes late for a job interview or work programme do you get ‘sanctioned’ and have all your benefit (for which you’ve contributed all though your working life via national insurance contributions) taken away for 4 weeks and left with no money at all, whereas if you cheat the State through elaborately artificial tax avoidance on an industrial scale (notoriously like Barclays Capital or indeed any big bank) you’re not bankrupted, not disqualified from continuing in the finance sector you’ve disgraced, and not sent to prison?

Why (a recent case reported in the Manchester Evening News) if you have progressive retinitis pigmentosa, a degenerative incurable disorder, and are registered blind are you then told by Atos that you must go back to work or lose benefit, whereas if Serco charges the State (taxpayers) millions of pounds for false electronic tagging of prisoners that never took place, you suffer no penalty are told a few months later that you can continue to bid for government work?

Bob Diamond, the disgraced former chief executive of Barclays, presided over the rigging of the Libor inter-bank market (as did at least another dozen big banks) which adversely affected interest rates for $360 trillion contracts worldwide, was never put on trial and is now reported to be seeking a fortune in new deals in Africa.

Neither Fred Goodwin nor any of the leading executives of all the big banks that crashed the world economy into the longest recession for a century through a mixture of greed, incompetence and negligence ever been prosecuted or jailed.

Ernst & Young and its former auditor, have never been punished after being found guilty by the Financial Reporting Council, the industry’s independent regulator, for failing to make known (as reported a few days ago) the liquidity and cash flow problems of Farepak, the Xmas hamper savings club that collapsed in 2006, which led to thousands of members of the public suffering losses.

A judge ruled yesterday that, despite his concern at “what appears to be a potentially well-founded claim that the UK authorities were directly implicated in the extraordinary rendition” of the Libyan dissident Belhaj, he was nevertheless bound, because the government claimed it would harm relations with the US, to “preclude the right to a remedy against the potential misuse of executive power and in respect of breaches of fundamental rights”.

In response to discovery (grace of Edward Snowden and the Guardian) of the limitless electronic surveillance of citizens, even the US set up a review board to examine the NSA’s data-mining activities. The UK government has done nothing.

There has been no investigation of who originally authorised this mass surveillance State, no checks have been placed or are currently proposed to restrict GCHQ’s limitless intrusion into the privacy of ordinary people, and no radical reform as is obviously needed of the laughably inadequate ISC self-appointed by the PM to investigate his own investigatory agencies.

Quis custodiet ipsos custodes (especially since the government’s denuding of the public sector has left realms of wrongdoing effectively unregulated)?

In which vein, Denis MacShane ought to have received whatever sentence would have been handed down to anyone who had stolen that much in benefits. The same was, and remains, true of David Laws.

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