Summer days, playing football in the park, and then one of the boys, unhappy with a decision, picks up his jumper and stomps off home, removing one of the goalposts and ending the game for everyone.
The Conservative led coalition government and the opposition Labour party having taken different views on how to investigate the recent banking scandals that have hit the headlines over the last week or so. The Government want a cross party parliamentary inquiry, while the Labour Party want a judge led inquiry (like Leveson). Labour, for now, are suggesting that they will not take part in a cross party parliamentary inquiry, thus threatening to walk away with their jumper.
Let’s look at why they are taking different positions.
A parliamentary inquiry is quicker and, with finance bills going through parliament, can produce recommendations that can be written into law within a year (lightning speed for government). OK, the horse has already bolted but if your priority is regulation to stop such a scandal happening again, then you should favour this option.
A judge led inquiry takes longer and is more expensive but it is above allegations of whitewash, it is forensic, and if you believe that confidence can only be restored in the financial system by openness, truth and reconciliation, then this is the option for you.
These are the two, highly distilled and principled, arguments of both sides of the debate which you will hear repeated whenever a politicians talks to the media on this subject.
But there are less principled motives for each party taking the positions that they are.
Despite the fact that the Labour party were in power and failed to regulate the banks over the period during which most of these scandals were hatched, it is the Conservatives who have most to fear from a judge led inquiry, their connections with the financial industry is profound and systemic and, just as in the Leveson Inquiry, it is the Government who will come under the most scrutiny and all this in the run up to the next General Election. No wonder Labour prefer this option, and little wonder the Tories do not.
Most comments I’ve read online support a judge led inquiry because most people are fed up with being deceived and would rather know the full horrible truth than have it all brushed under the carpet, and they have little, or no, confidence that a parliamentary inquiry will do anything other than that.
Personally, I would like to see a compromise between these two positions. On the one hand I want politicians to act quickly, but on the other hand, I do want to know the full extent of what has been going on, and I need to be assured that the process is impartial.
We’ll all see soon enough.