22nd November, 2009
Have just left a great event in Manchester, where about 500 students gathered to sharpen up their campaigning on climate change – under the banner of ‘People and Planet’. Ian Leggett, the organisation’s director, reminded us that Barclays Bank still has a great big hole in its demographic – all those students who, back in the 1980s, refused to bank with Barclays because of their activities in funding apartheid.
Today the students have a fresh target in their sights. They have pulled together a really smart campaign aimed at a bank in which we British citizens/taxpayers now have an 84% stake – after our government invested £56 billion in bailing out the biggest corporate failure in the history of capitalism.
I refer of course to the Royal Bank of Scotland.
People and Planet, working with the World Development Movement, are calling on RBS to stop ‘funding bloody oil’ – oil exploration in the tar sands of Canada – and challenging the bank in the courts to prioritise the interests of British taxpayers and the ecosystem over those of RBS’s shareholders. This is the bank that is managed – at arms length – by one John Kingman of United Kingdom Financial Investments – an ‘arm’ of the Treasury – that acts as a private investment fund, treating RBS as a ‘private equity turn-around’, and failing to get the bank to serve the interests of its new owners.
The Financial Times tells us, and the Sunday Mirror today confirms, that Mr. Kingman is agonising over whether to defect from the Treasury to Rothschilds or to Goldman Sachs, Lazard Brothers or Morgan Stanley.
Given the determination of those students this morning my advice to him would be to get out and lie low…these young people are coming after both the bankers, but also civil servants who advance the private banking sector’s interests over those of taxpayers – and the ecosystem. More power to their elbows.