Wednesday, October 15, 2008

Last thoughts from Canary Wharf

click photo to enlarge
The British government is fond of saying that the present financial difficulties afflict all economies, that the problem is one of global dimensions and origins. However, the truth is that Britain's economic foundations were undermined in the 1980s by Margaret Thatcher's "Big Bang" policy that shattered the shackles that kept the City in check. Privatisations, demutualisations, complex financial instruments, ballooning salaries, the bonus culture, increased risk taking and the rest all flowed from the Conservative government's policies that were dreamed up by their friends in the City, often the very people who bank-rolled the party. So, whilst there is certainly an international element to our current problems, Britain also has a collection of very particular causes arising from the policies of our politicians.

That being so, you might think a Labour government that's not too far away from a general election would be keen to point this out to voters. Unfortunately it's an argument it can't use because to the dismay of its core supporters Labour did very little about Big Bang, continuing with deregulation and privatisation, and in the recently-returned Peter Mandelson's words were "intensely relaxed about people getting filthy rich." Successive Labour governments, like the Conservatives before them, now appear to have been relaxed to the point of being asleep, and didn't notice that the people who were getting "filthy rich" were doing so at the expense of the country's financial stability. Many people will lose their jobs, savings, houses and sanity as a result of all this. Will anyone be held to account?

The photograph above is the third from my recent walk on the south bank of the Thames across from the gleaming towers of Canary Wharf.

photograph & text (c) T. Boughen

Camera: Olympus E510
Mode: Aperture Priority
Focal Length: 13mm (26mm/35mm equiv.)
F No: f7.1
Shutter Speed: 1/1000
ISO: 100
Exposure Compensation: -2.3 EV
Image Stabilisation: On