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commentary

The FSA and regulation

Adair Turner’s speech is about as exciting as you could expect the FSA Chairman to be at the Mansion House. It apparently caused someone to be ‘appalled, disgusted and ashamed’ – and generally upset breakfasts.

What was causing the upset was his remarks that there should be more restraint on innovation and that it was not his job to be the cheerleader for the City, pursuing growth at all costs. While this should be obvious to most people, it is a shock to those engaged in the City.

What is happening here is that the scale of the fianncial crisis has revealed the dependence of the rest of the economy on the City – and therefore laid bare the real purpose of a regulator: to protect society from the economy, not the other way round. Adair Turner is getting to grips with the same  conflict of interest that is at the heart of many regulators. They are sometimes not quite sure whether they are regulating the public or the industry in their care.

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commentary

Partial to Confusion

The BBC will not support a Disaster Emergency Committee appeal for Gaza.

Their thinking behind this is that it might compromise the BBC’s impartiality. Quite apart from the controversy over this decision actually being good publicity for the appeal, the thinking behind this view seems very muddled.

Of course the war which caused the humanitarian distress in Gaza is extremely controversial. No-one is expecting the BBC to take sides on that. But why should the need to help people who are suffering be controversial? What on earth could the ‘balancing view’ as to the need to relieve suffering look like?

I look forward to the treatment of this issue in their forthcoming corporate responsibility report…