A brief post this morning, because the Archbishop of Canterbury has been commenting on banking. As you’d expect. Or, perhaps, wouldn’t.
Some of his points were reasonable enough. Lending long and borrowing short is a risky strategy. Don’t lend to the wrong people. Fair enough, if not exactly earth-shattering. I liked his observation about bankers in general:
They do not come in with horns and a tail burning £50 notes to light large cigars
he said, much the same point I have made in the prologue to Without Due Care.
But should he be talking at all? Should we take his comments any more seriously than we would of any other moderately-well-informed but far-from-expert celebrity? Jools Holland, maybe, or Paula Radcliffe? He’s not an elected representative of any of us (unless there’s a member of the Crown Appointments Commission reading this, in which case, sorry); I’ve always found the notion of the “Lords Spiritual” rather disturbing. He is, of course, a public figure and he has a right to voice his opinions, I suppose, but for a religious figure to comment on anything outside their own field sits pretty uneasily with me. The church has problems of its own. And what he proposes – breaking up one of the larger banks into better-capitalised, regional players – might sound like a lovely idea but wouldn’t come cheap. If he wants to make some general observations, then fine, but actual, specific proposals, especially huge and complex ones?
Stick to what you know, your most venerable grace.
If you liked this, take a look at some extracts from my soon-to-be-published novel Without Due Care here.