RBS: don't privatise! Expropriate!

Submitted by martin on 8 March, 2013 - 11:28
Expropriate the banks

"The whole idea of a bank that is 82% owned by the taxpayer but run at arm's length from government is a nonsense...", says Mervyn King, governor of the Bank of England.

King's answer is that the 82%-owned Royal Bank of Scotland should be broken up. The profit-making bits of it would be privatised, and the loss-making bits retained by the government and run down.

The Government is reluctant because doing that would mean open and definitively registering the losses the Government has made on the RBS shares it bought in the crisis of 2008.

The operation was always more like "compensation without nationalisation" than the "nationalisation without compensation" which socialists have advocated.

The Government bought shares to stop RBS collapsing and put a floor to the losses of the other shareholders.

After Fred The Shred Goodwin resigned as RBS boss, later to have his knighthood rescinded and quickly to lose his next job as a consultant, Stephen Hester became head of RBS, with a mandate to run it whatever way was most profitable and as it if weren't nationalised at all.

The answer, as the resolution voted through by TUC Congress 2012 says, is that the chaos created by the major banks and financial institutions "should be ended through full public ownership of the sector and the creation of a publicly owned banking service, democratically and accountably managed".

The unions should fight for that policy, and to commit the Labour Party to it.

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