The Libor rate-fixing scandal is more evidence that Britain is as corrupt as any developing country ("SFO to probe Libor breaches", The Herald, July 7).
Our corruption is just better organised, more centralised and restricted to an elite.
In return for donations to party funds and seats on boards for retiring Government ministers, big banks, firms and billionaires not only get back many times their donations in over-priced Government contracts such as PFIs, but also get to second staff Government departments as they decide on regulations and policy affecting them – and can even avoid or evade taxation and commit frauds such as interest-rate fixing and selling financial products such as CDOs (collateralised debt obligations) which they knew to be worthless.
Despite existing laws against fraud, the Government pretends it would need new laws to charge those responsible. The likely reason is that the Conservative party gets more than half its funding from banks, hedge funds and other financial institutions and the rest from the very wealthy – many of whom are the heads of the same firms.
The Conservative party website offers donor clubs, providing amounts of time meeting ministers or the Prime Minister based on how much money you donate to the party each year. Most access is given to those in the Leader's Group who donate £25,000 (around the median wage) annually.
This is not democracy, it's plutocracy, the rule of the wealthiest. The website boasts that the party takes no money from trade unions. Trade unions are not perfect, but they represent large numbers of people on low and middle incomes, rather than a tiny minority of the wealthiest who are concerned with ensuring the Government lets them get even wealthier at everyone else's expense.
No system of regulation can be effective if some people can break every rule and the law, knowing they won't be punished. If the Government and opposition parties want to show they are at all serious about reforming banking they need to tell the police and prosecutors to proceed with criminal investigations and charges against bankers suspected of fraud.
"Democracy is the loser" is the appropriate final knell in your editorial ("Another crack in a fractured coalition", July 10.)
I listenened throughout the debate on Lords reform and the bill is in deep trouble. The Labour party playing Machiavelli has left this important constitutional bill out to hang indefinitely. It will swing slowly through this humid summer allowing the Tory rebels and the corbies in their press to pick away at its flesh until it returns as a rotten corpse in the autumn.
There are significant weaknesses in the proposals: the lack of referendum, the 15-year mandate, the potential competing powers of another elected house and the election system. Yet reform of that ancient institution is necessary. The Conservative frontbench by their absence during the debate gave succour to their affiliated rebels. Leading Tory hearts are not committed to these proposals which are seen as belonging to the "damned LibDems".
Meanwhile what is the Scottish Government's position on the matter?
Democracy is being hung out to dry; quite a challenge this summer.
64 Market Place, Carluke.
Johann Lamont is right in stating that the question to be put to the Scottish people is too important to be left in the hand of politicians ("Pro-UK parties recruit experts for ballot words", The Herald, July 11).
It's also too important to be left in the hands of academics, which makes you question the value of an expert panel tinkering with the wording of a straightforward question for months. Not only is this yet another attempt to narrow the debate about our future, it also risks turning even more people off the debate which many already feel isn't for them.
Poll after poll has shown that there is a desire for a "more powers" option to be put to the people of Scotland, so this option can't be excluded. While SCVO doesn't support any specific option, we want to ensure the views of the people are heard. The only way people will have confidence in the question is if they are involved in setting it and it reflects the options they want to vote for. The very first step will be generating a meaningful debate that they actually want to engage in.
John Downie, Director of Public Affairs, Scottish Council for Voluntary Organisations, Mansfield Traquair Centre, 15 Mansfield Place, Edinburgh.
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