According to FSA head Lord Turner, much of the activities of the City of London are "socially useless".
Er... how does he reckon that?
Unless Tyler has got this wrong, the City has long been Britain's big success story. It has generated a large chunk of our national income, paid humongous taxes, and provided hundreds of thousands of highly paid jobs. It's also paid for all those cheap clothes and tellies we now import from China:
The cost of the bank bail-outs has negated all the apparent benefits?
Well, yes, you certainly have point there. The IMF reckons the bailouts will eventually cost UK taxpayers $200bn, which we could certainly live without.
But even if you accept - as we do - that we need radical new safeguards against a recurrence (eg see this blog), taking a long view, net net we're still well in profit on the City.
Long-term, we'd be much worse off without it. We never earned much of a living from turning out Austin Allegros, even though back in the 60s and 70s the commissars virtually to a man considered manufacturing to be far more socially useful than mere "paper shuffling" in the City (who can forget the damage inflicted by Wislon's notorious Selective Employment Tax directed against our useless service industries?).
So the head of our financial regulator should not be shooting his mouth off about swathes of the City being "socially useless". Especially since - as we noted earlier in the week - at this very moment many of the City's movers and shakers are actively considering moving and shaking themselves out of Britain altogether. Which they could easily do.
Turner is in the unfortunate and frustrating position of presiding over an organisation that has bogged up bigtime (eg see here for its appalling lapses over the Crock disaster), has zero credibility, and which will soon be abolished. Presumably organisational morale is rock bottom.
But that is no reason for him to tour leftwing political salons talking the City down. There are plenty of others around to do that - most of whom, like the BBC, have seized on his Lordship's remarks with glee.
Someone needs to tape his gob shut soonest.