Saturday, 4 February 2012
Labour leader - Ed Miliband - gave a speech yesterday about the need for 'one nation' banking.
Now anyone using the term 'one nation' has a very clear intention in mind - the aim is to emphasise the importance of the common good - where the wider public interest prevails over narrow vested interests.
Which sounds just fine - it's another way of saying that 'we're all this together' - which we're not of course, whether the subject is banking or anything else.
For example, why not apply the term 'one nation' to trade unionism - to see how well the cap fits?
Because not all workers are equal - of course - some are much more equal than others.
Some workers enjoy better conditions than others - a final salary pension scheme is a great illustration of how the 'rules' are designed to favour some groups over others - normally the better paid.
For many years and up until relatively recently part-time workers - mainly women of course - were not eligible to join the local government pension scheme at all.
More recently the practice of paying big bonuses only to traditional and predominantly male council jobs - was widespread in local government.
Yet completely unchallenged by the trade unions - until Action 4 Equality Scotland came along - then things began to change.
But the point is that nothing would have changed if the trade unions had been left to their own devices.
Why begs the question - 'Why single out only the banks for reform?'
Because there are lots of organisations that could do with a good kick up the backside - to shake them out of their complacency.
Councils and other publicly funded bodies continue to shell out film star settlements for senior officials.
Who often walk away with hundreds of thousands of pounds in an early retirement or 'golden goodbye' package - then start working again in jobs that are again funded by the public purse.
The system allows such things to happen because things are deliberately designed to be that way - the outcome is not accidental or achieved through happenstance.
So I'm afraid that I don't buy all this 'one nation' business.
To my mind the chances are zero - of the concept being applied to all walks of life.