Wednesday, 6 May 2015


So HSBC are still coming out with the line that effective regulation and a bank levy are such intolerable outrages* that they'll be forced to take their alleged wealth-creating alchemy elsewhere.

To paraphrase Rudyard Kipling:
It is always a temptation for a rich and lazy nation, To puff and look important and to say: –
"Though we know we should defeat you,
we have not the time to meet you.
We will therefore bend the rules to make you stay."

It is wrong to put temptation in the path of any nation,
For fear they should succumb and go astray;
So when you are requested to pay up or be molested,
You will find it better policy to say: --

"We never pay any-one Dane-geld,
No matter how trifling the cost;
For the end of that game is oppression and shame,
And the nation that plays it is lost!"
Thanks to a recent corporate sponsorship deal, the game has now been re-branded as The HSBC Race To The Bottom:
...if a corporation really thinks that paying taxes and following rules are too high a price to pay for staying in the UK, then the UK must not bend the rules or cut its taxes to get them to stay. That goes double for a bank that’s both too big to fail (HSBC’s assets are worth more than the UK’s annual GDP) and too troubled to carry on in its current form, having mired itself in scandal after scandal. 

*Despite the spin portraying HSBC as some kind of victim, it's important to keep in mind that most of its problems are self-inflicted. This time a paraphrase of James Moore in the Indy just about covers it - 'the misconduct overseen by HSBC managers cost its shareholders far more than any levy in fines, clean-up costs and the need to hire a small army of compliance officers to keep noses clean in future.'