Adam Lovejoy reports from London: The world of British banking is trying to come to terms with revelations that one of its own, former chairman of the Co-Operative Bank and a Methodist minister, Paul Flowers, was a junkie and a wild party animal while presiding over losses of hundreds of millions at his bank. The only consolation for the hard-working money men in the City is that Flowers was an exception in an industry known for its modesty and quiet lifestyles of all the people involved in it.
Flowers, it seems, has managed to fool his colleagues for years, telling them that just like any high-flying financier and a man of God he likes nothing more than getting involved in charity work, helping vulnerable young people, and praying – qualities for which the British financial world is known throughout the world. Who could have imagined that this was all a charade, a farce, played out by a man who was totally unsuitable to be in banking! Not to mention claiming false expenses from a charity where he was a trustee and giving dodgy loans to the Labour party. (When have you ever seen a banker giving a dodgy loan?)
Hundreds of thousands of people involved in the banking sector in Britain are now trying to live with the realisation that one of them turned out to be a drug addict who knew absolutely nothing about finance and took part in orgies, even though tastefully organised and having a progressive streak about them, with gay motifs prevailing. Staff from the Banking Union have told Stirring Trouble that although Flowers is just one nasty persons in a huge collective of decent, hard-working people, it still came as a shock to the whole industry, especially to people who work in payday loan companies where integrity and trust are paramount. As one of these fine lenders told Stirring Trouble, ‘Without trust you can’t really charge customers thousands in interest rates.’
The police have been asked by groups uniting decent honest financiers to investigate how it could have happened that such an unreliable person as Flowers could have infiltrated the banking community. Scotland Yard has put its best people on the job and it’s only a matter of time before the detectives come up with a explanation how this breach had happened.
Meanwhile ,millions of leaflets are being printed as you read this, at the public expense, to explain to terrified bank customers that Flowers was a loner, who has tarnished the good name of the banking industry which is working hard to make economic recovery possible and providing excellent services to people across the board. It’s a colourful leaflet and it makes a strong case for keeping banking in high regard as it offers value for money.
The public has been greatly reassured by the strong stance on the issue taken by PM David Cameron, who seems determined to get to the bottom of things, if you pardon the expression, and find out how it could have happened that a nasty man like Flowers could so easily infiltrate the happy banking brotherhood.