The City needs rehab; it’ll say ‘no, no, no’

In Blog by Ian Fraser1 Comment

11 August 2011

When my ex-boss Roger Neill launched the Centre for Creativity at City University London in winter of 2009, he staged a “Big City Brainstorm” which pulled together a diverse group of people – including several from the City of London.

Roger and other people behind the Centre for Creativity wanted to find ways of addressing the issues arising from the banking and financial crisis of 2007-11, and as Roger says in his blog  they were particularly keen to get to grips with the ““addictive behaviour” (as one of the participants, a psychiatrist, put it) of people in the banks so badly hit.”

Among the ideas that emerged from the brainstorming was the need for a “Truth and Reconciliation Commission” for bankers and other City workers, traders, etc along the lines of that seen in post-apartheid South Africa. Strangely enough, this is almost exactly what has been proposed by the “HBOS whistleblower” Paul Moore — who is behind the (currently dormant) Banking on Change and People’s Petition for Better Banking campaigns — and more recently by the Compass group on the UK’s “Feral elite”, chaired by best-selling author Philip Pullman

When the Centre for Creativity session was held, Neill says there was “a groundswell in favour of the concept [of a Truth and Reconciliation Commission for bankers]”.  However, in the days following, the session, “support seemed to melt away.” As Roger puts it, “it seemed as though all the City of London folk had had second thoughts… Apparently we just didn’t understand.”

Now there’s a surprise!


  1. The problem with a Truth and Reconciliation commission for bankers is it would be encouraging integrity and moral fibre in corporate decision making within the banks and other finacial instititions as opposed to the worship of individual wealth and personnal gain. Would any of those most in need of “rehab” really buy in to owning their addictive behaviour when denial has proved so much more lucrative? Nice idea, but I can not imagine any of the real offenders would actually end up stepping up to the plate. No doubt it for this reason the CfC session members enthusiasm for change has “melted away”. Sad but unsurprisingly.

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