I can’t speak in the debate on professional standards in the banking industry today: I missed the opening speeches in order to help lead a conversation amongst colleagues on economic growth.
As I listen to the debate from my office or in the Chamber, I realise my levels of optimism are highly dependent on who is speaking. On the one hand, I am discouraged by the sheer partisanship which has been reported in the speeches I missed. To understand the failed culture of the financial system, we need to do more than hold an inquisition. We need to look at the incentives created by the fundamental institutions of the system.
So I am encouraged that on all sides, back bench members are nudging towards just that: a deep investigation of banking institutions, backed by the right resources. Furthermore, those members on my side promoting a Parliamentary inquiry are determined to reassert and reinforce the role of select committees.
Perhaps after the theatre has been forgotten, this episode will mark an important stage in the rebuilding of Parliament’s reputation, just as it seeks to take steps to ensure a better reputation for the City.