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Smoking kills


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Today, the Commons will vote on whether to disagree with the Lords in their amendment to ban smoking in private vehicles in the presence of children. Anyone who can read knows that smoking kills. And I know, for it killed my stepfather and an uncle. Why anyone does it despite the clear warnings and often lurid images on the packets is a mystery not explained by appeal to the addictive qualities of nicotine. People who wish to live long and […]

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Motorcycle Live gets the royal touch while I discuss the BMW S1000RR with Lembit Öpik


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Via Motorcycle Live gets the royal touch: His Royal Highness Prince William Duke of Cambridge visited Motorcycle Live at the National Exhibition Centre in Birmingham today to get a close look at the UK motorcycle industry and some of the new models that have been launched for 2014. The Duke, who is known to be a keen motorcyclist, was welcomed to the NEC by Paul Thandi, deputy to the Lord Lieutenant of the West Midlands, who is also chief executive of […]

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The debate on Professional Standards in the Banking Industry


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 […]

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Two questions in the House on an EU referendum and responsibility in banking


Today, I had two questions during statements. I welcomed the progress the Prime Minister is making towards a referendum on our relationship with the EU and asked him to remind us who denied the public a say on the Lisbon Treaty – Labour. I then asked the Chancellor to look again at my Financial Institutions (Reform) Bill, which would transfer commercial risk into the banks, ending the incentives which create a culture of recklessness and rule-breaking. Questions are useful, but […]

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Two simple steps to transform the culture of banking and to forestall the next outrage


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It’s time to privatise commercial risk in banking and insist on prudent accounts. Government should: Eliminate moral hazard from the financial system by implementing this measure to make bank directors strictly liable without limit and to treat as capital both directors’ personal bonds and, for five years, the bonus pool. Introduce prudent bank accounting so banks can’t game the rules using derivatives to manufacture illusory profits from unrealised cash flows. The banking system isn’t capitalist It’s not capitalism when private individuals […]

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