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The latest scandal to hit HSBC, Britain’s biggest bank, again throws a spotlight on the enormous failings of the finance sector. It is also a source of embarrassment for governments present and past – but also for the Church of England.
One of the big last-ditch Scottish referendum pitches by the three dominant Westminster parties and their friends in the City of London is to appeal to voters to reject self-government and instead accept the opinion and sway of the giant transnational banks – the likes of Goldman Sachs, J P Morgan and Deutsche Bank.
As chairman of the Co-operative Bank, Paul Flowers shared responsibility for the decisions that led to a situation in which most of the bank is to be bought up by hedge funds. Last week, Paul Flowers was filmed buying cocaine. Bafflingly, many people seem to regard the second offence as worse than the first one.
As the debate continues about about whether and how credit unions and other community-based financial bodies can challenge big banking and immoral, high-interest charging pay-day lenders, the Just Festival in Edinburgh will be looking at moral and sustainable commerce.