According to the files, the Swiss branch of HSBC holdings helped thousands of wealthy individuals from around the globe to dodge tax, conceal millions in assets and withdraw bricks of untraceable cash, whilst at the same time advising their clients how to most effectively circumvent tax laws. All you needed to do was to obtain Swiss residency, open one of HSBC secret private accounts—then you could withdraw cash in whatever currency you wanted, 100% tax free. Clients were then able to spend that cash wherever they pleased, provided they could successfully smuggle it past international borders.
The leaked Swiss data, which revealed the full extent of the tax avoidance and money laundering schemes, was passed on from French authorities to her majesty’s Revenue and Customs in May 2010. Since then both France and Belgium have filed charges against HSBC bank. France has recovered £188m in lost taxes and fines, and Spain has recovered £220m, from a list of 3000 clients in both countries. The UK in comparison to that has obtained a meagre £135m from 6000 clients with minor penalties and immunity from prosecution.
Leader of the coalition government David Cameron was quick to defend his decision to make Stephen Green a member of the house of lords and Minister of State for Trade and Investment, in the wake of the scandal—even though it is evident from the obtained data that the government had full knowledge of what was being done at the Swiss arm of HSBC, under the leadership of lord Green. Regardless of this, business secretary, Vince Cable, characterized his newly appointed colleague at the time as “ … one of the few to emerge with credit from the recent financial crisis, and somebody who has set out a powerful philosophy for ethical business.”
In 2012 regulators in the US fined HSBC bank for $1.9 bn for allowing its branches in Mexico to become involved with drug kingpins and rogue nation states—a relative slap on the wrist for crimes that would otherwise be subject to imprisonment. It is clear that we live in a two-tier society in which certain people, i.e., super rich global capitalists, live above the law due to the sheer power and influence they have amassed. And then there’s the rest of us. Why do we allow financial institutions to become so large that they become laws unto themselves?
Throughout his career as an international banker, Lord Green promoted the idea that business leaders can and must conduct their affairs and dealings in an ethical way. Lord Green is an ordained vicar of the church of England, he was always thought of as an exemplar of “responsible capitalism”, having written several books on the subject, including one entitled Serving God? Serving Mammon?, in which Green attempted to reconcile the conflict between his Christian morality and the growing trends of global capitalism.
But are Green’s vain attempts at moralizing capitalism (which is itself entirely amoral), really a smokescreen for the crimes that he was knowingly facilitating across the globe? Or was he completely ignorant of everything that was going on during his time as chairman of HSBC? Whatever the case may be, Green is either a moron and totally inept at his job, hence shouldn’t have been doing it in the first place; or he’s been deliberately deceiving people using Christianity as a vehicle to justify his impunity. In other words, he’s a wolf in sheep’s clothing.
We allow ourselves to be fooled into believing that the unelected, unaccountable individuals that head these financial leviathans will conduct themselves in rational and ethical ways. Time and time again we are shown the errors in our judgments in giving so much power to these people and institutions. HSBC in particular was effectively able to hold the UK to ransom after threatening to relocate its banking headquarters to Hong Kong because of what it perceives as anti-banking laws, which would only have resulted in the collapse of the UK economy. This act of financial terrorism is reminiscent of the scenario in Ayn Rand’s infamous novel, Atlas Shurugged. If an institution is too big to fail, it automatically implies that that institution is too big for the State to manage.
It was Thomas Jefferson who said, “I believe that banking institutions are more dangerous to our liberties than standing armies … The issuing power should be taken from the banks and restored to the people, to whom it properly belongs.”
Any State that allows private interests to dictate the law to society has undermined its function as a means for the people to govern in the interests of the General Will. The state hereafter becomes an illegitimate instrument for individual interests to oppress the people and impose their will onto society. The purpose of government at all times is to protect the General Will against the tyrannical interests of the few who would seek to undermine its authority. In the absence of such a State, it is imperative that the people regain the power by any means necessary, because without a political body that serves in their interests, the people are without liberty and self-determination.
A just society is one in which the power lies in the hands of the people and enforced through law via the state. The global plutocrats recognize no such authority, which makes them absolute traitors and enemies of the People. No healthy nation would tolerate traitorous institutions bypassing tax laws, colluding with drug cartels and rogue dictators, yet that is exactly what has happened with HSBC! Better still, the person who was directly in charge of said institution whilst it was committing these heinous crimes has been made a Lord (!) and been given a position in Government. Would any sane nation put someone like Lord Green in government when his entire career has centred around undermining governmental laws wherever possible? We have politicians in power who literally hate the principles on which government is founded. What sort of mad world are we living in?
Well, this sort: We live in a world with a massive prison population, which is growing rapidly with every year. My home town, Wrexham, in North Wales, is due to house the largest prison in the history of Britain. With levels of inequality rising and showing no signs of getting any better, there’s a demand for the State (which has now become the strong arm of tyranny for the ruling plutocrats) to deal with the rising amount of crime in society. But you don’t see the State dealing with the type of white collar crime we’ve seen happening recently. You don’t see any rich and privileged white males being punished for the crimes they’ve committed over the last two decades, which has affected millions around the globe, causing poverty and misery. Just one person has been prosecuted in the UK for avoiding tax since the Swiss Files were given to the government; they’ve had 5 years to do something about these blatant crimes, yet they’ve done virtually nothing.
So what does that tell you, huh? Who’s ultimately benefiting from this system? The tax payer? You must be joking! Remember that the next time you receive a letter from the HMRC letting you know that you’ll be prosecuted if you don’t pay the taxes that you can no longer afford. Remember the name lord Stephen Green next time you file your tax returns. Remember that for some people—for an elite privileged few—these laws do not apply.
Of course, it doesn’t have to be this way. We don’t have to allow ourselves to be governed by plutocrats who’ve no interest in the General Will. They only do what they do because we’ve allowed them to get away with it for so long. If the people truly will it to be so, the entire structure of society and the means by which it’s governed can be changed for the better overnight.
The Meritocracy Party recognizes how ineffectual our political institutions are at dealing with a modern economy, and we propose a radical new form of capitalism that will transform what is now a rotten, corrupt and immoral marketplace into a thriving, competitive and productive economy based upon meritocratic principles where success is rewarded and failure (such as we’ve seen in HSBC) is punished.
Meritocratic Capitalism ensures an economy that is accountable and subject to the interests of the General Will. Banking giants like HSBC will be broken up into smaller branches and managed more on a local level with emphasis on healthy competition. Banking executives and CEOs will be meritocratically elected from amongst peers of equal merit in their chosen field of expertise.
The People, for the first time in history, will be able to determine the outcome of these elections, provided one has demonstrated sufficient merit in economics by taking a government set examination. We want to bring the marketplace under true democratic control, so that never again can the will of the People be undermined and exploited by greedy, selfish individuals for their own ends. The free market is, was and always will be the primary instrument by which the few sabotage national interests, and usurp the political process for their own gain. Freedom for the People demands meritocratic control of the market.