While some American Republicans were poring over last minute details of the governing agenda on regaining control of the House of Representatives, the UK‘s Business Secretary was firing projectiles to laissez-faire capitalism at the Liberal Democrats Party’s Conference in Liverpool . It was a spectacle that earned him a standing ovation, and within minutes the title ‘Red Vince’ was circulating news sources and the blogosphere ( i.e. 1).
Among his weapons was that markets were rigged, corporate behaviour was murky, bankers, directors and investors were greedy, and would be pursued, and that capitalism was a competition-killer.
He said he would take a tough line with parts of the banking system “which have not served enterprise in this country as well as they could”. Resisting to comment on specific companies he said “ what we shouldn’t be doing is trying to micromanage the economy at the level of individual companies or so-called national champions …”.
Government‘s efforts to ensure that bank lending agreements from banks that have benefited from taxpayer subsidy are being honored would be redoubled and there will be reform of rules that govern M & A, blocking short-term investors such as hedge funds from being allowed to vote in takeover battles. Finally, on introducing a banking levy he said “The taxpayer is providing insurance; protection for which the banks should pay.”