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Truth & reconciliation must be applied to financial crisis, otherwise ‘better regulation’ plans will fail & public anger against bankers will remain

26 Mar

goodwinSir Fred Goodwin ‘shaken’ after hearing of attack on his home. Yesterday’s attack on the home of former Royal Bank of Scotland Chief Executive Sir Fred Goodwin has generally been accepted by the media, politicians & public as being a result of Sir Fred’s part in the collapse of the RBS.There is of course, no justification for vigilante attacks against the man’s home & family, no matter how strongly people may feel over his actions at the RBS.

Reports of Sir Fred Goodwin’s home attacked by vandals :

While such attacks are fortunately few and far between, the fact is that the widely reported ‘lack of public remorse’ by Sir Fred, and many other bankers for their actions which have led to the global financial meltdown, has triggered a demand by many for ‘heads to roll’ over the banking failures.It may be said, such demands for people to be held to account for their actions, are, reasonable.

However, attacks against individual figures, can and often will be used to stymie the demands & needs of regulatory reform, as we have seen before in Scotland, as was demonstrated with the now slightly forgotten but much more serious attack on another financial professional, the Law Society of Scotland’s Chief Accountant, Leslie Cumming, which occurred in Edinburgh in January 2006.

Accounting Chief Leslie Cumming was attacked in a mafia style hit arranged from within the legal profession.

Cash Link to Law Chief StabbingMedia reports on Cumming attack were used by lawyers against reforms. Various theories are still being considered for the attack on Mr Cumming, ranging from a revenge attack organised by crooked lawyers over Mr Cumming’s investigations of their accounts, to disgruntled clients who lost millions at the hands of crooked lawyers, to even a prospect the attack was carried out by other members of the Law Society intent on giving the profession a sympathetic image in the wake of serious legal reforms to its regulatory structure which the Law Society bitterly fought in Parliament during the latter half of 2006.

Leslie Cumming StoryLaw Society may have caused the attack itself. However it may well be that Mr Cumming, regrettably paid the price for his Law Society colleague’s well known policy of bitter attrition towards people who dared make a complaint to the Society against their lawyer, and the general culture of a lack of accountability within the legal profession as a whole, which in turn led to feelings of bitterness on both sides.

Philip Yelland - Director of Regulation - Law Society of ScotlandPhilip Yelland, Law Society Director of Standards. In the case of the Law Society particularly, the glaringly obvious lack of ability by senior officials such as Douglas Mill, Philip Yelland and many others to even ‘say sorry’ or repair the financial damage their colleagues did to ordinary people, led to many cases of intense hardship, where even in one known case, a client committed suicide over the Law Society’s attempts to thwart consideration of the actions of a crooked lawyer.

Douglas Mill at the Scottish ParliamentLaw Chief Douglas Mill blamed campaigners for attack on colleague but it turned out to be lawyers. So bitter were the feelings by some at the Law Society of Scotland, the then Chief Executive, Douglas Mill, held private briefings with journalists and attempted to blame campaigners for the attack on his colleague, however it soon became clear to many in the following days the attack on Mr Cumming came from within the legal profession itself, and Douglas Mill had little more to offer on the subject, which even to this day has seen not one arrest in connection with the Cumming attack.

2006, the year of the attack on Mr Cumming, was a very bad year for the Law Society of Scotland, one could argue, as bad a year as 2008-9 has been & will be for the Royal Bank of Scotland, and indeed many other financial institutions.

The Law Society in 2006 was to be subject to the same outside scrutiny and independent investigations & public inquiries on the weakness & corruption of its regulation of crooked lawyers which will now have to be implemented on the RBS and the financial sector, where the same weak, closed ranks, soft touch regulation has ended up producing the spectacular financial failures on a global scale, that the same weak, closed ranks, soft touch regulation has produced in the legal sector on a client by client basis for decades.

Scottish Legal Complaints CommissionSLCC – now a rubber stamp for crooked lawyers. The Law Society fought the outside scrutiny and newly created legislation to bring independent regulation of complaints, and simply co-opted the new body with its own members to ensure that even after all the effort of campaigners, ruined victims, and the Scottish Parliament, the new Scottish Legal Complaints Commission simply ended up as another rubber stamp for crooked lawyers.

The banks, now faced with the same calls for more regulation, inquiries, investigations and the same campaigns by consumers against financial wrongdoings, will do the same as the Law Society did in 2006. We will end up with possibly, a new regulator to replace the Financial Services Authority after a year maybe, and then the regulator will end up being co-opted in the same way the FSA seems to have been so co-opted by the financial profession which led to its negligence in allowing the banks to do as they have done, and, collapse.

Michael Clancy - Director of Law Reform - Law Society of ScotlandLaw Society’s Michael Clancy killed off Holyrood attempt to heal ruined clients of crooked lawyers. It doesn’t take much to say “sorry”, and do the right thing .. however, saying “sorry” and doing the right thing, doesn’t seem to be a basic capability of anyone in charge of a bank or a legal firm or indeed a regulator supposedly put in place to ensure that failure & corruption doesn’t take place. Too much money. too much political influence, and soft touch, corrupt, regulation, has led to at attitude of omnipotence where these people and their organisations feel above accountability.

That culture of unaccountability must be ended for all professions, particularly those in the legal and banking worlds, if we are to repair the sins of the past and heal the wounds of ordinary people, and our economy, which have been caused by far too much unchecked greed & ambition by a few who control the many … Truth & Reconciliation is now a much needed medicine.

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