We must stand with shareholders that want a better economy

Cormac Hollingsworth details how shareholders of big business can be the left's greatest ally when it comes to promoting responsible capitalism


The shareholder revolt against Bob Diamond’s £20 million bonus is so important for those who really believe a change is needed in our system. If we’re serious about a new responsible we need to start supporting and showing solidarity to the people who own the companies we’d like to change.

Those who’d rather sit in an igloo and watch the market collapse, as if that would cathartic (£) might scoff, but that option is irresponsible, impoverishing millions around the world including here in the UK.

The global market system is worth saving. It’s taken the most people out of poverty ever in history in the last ten years: one hundred million people. And the power of the state is unquestioned: its coordinated intervention globally in 2009 stopped a free-fall in global employment, output and stock prices.

The problem is, politicians lack the legitimacy to intervene in a sliding global economy because they’ve been unable to change the behavior of the bankers. But executive pay is an issue for shareholder.

Many shareholders, as owners who benefit from the success of the private sector have learnt the lesson that the collapse of the private sector since 2007 was partly their responsibility, and they’re not prepared to sit back and let poor management continue.

In the vote against Murdoch’s directorship, Standard Life stood forward in the belief that it’s duty to its pensioners was for BSkyB to be better run without Murdoch.

Aviva has been a leading light in the UN’s organisation of $30 trillion of investor power, the UN’s Principles of Responsible Investment. Paul Abberley CEO of Aviva Investors has been crystal clear about the new responsibility of shareholders to make sure our economy provides jobs, inclusive growth, and stability.

With $30 trillion behind them, the left has many allies for a responsible investment. And yet they are silent.

But to support is obvious. Those wanting global taxation must see that one of the biggest supporters of the lobby against it, the Institute of International Finance, is Barclays. That funding is signed off by the CEO.

The Tories would rather have a fight about nine hundred thousand pounds than see themselves exposed as craven supporters of the IIF-lobbied bankers’ status quo. They’d like you not to know that the City is actually split, and if we don’t support the shareholders who are looking for a new owner-driven market economy, we might as well all start building igloos, because the liquidation will be horrible.

It’s time for progressives to stand with Barclays shareholders.

See also:

The government has the power to stop Hester’s bonus, they just don’t want to – Ben Fox, January 27th 2012

How bankers’ bonuses are contributing to the new credit crunch – Cormac Hollingsworth, December 6th 2011

Expecting Tories to regulate bonuses is like Turkeys voting for Christmas – Rachel Reeves MP, January 12th 2011

Top Lib Dem: Bankers’ bonuses are “moment of truth for coalition” – Will Straw, January 12th 2011

Bankers’ bonuses under fire as Barclays chief faces Parliament – Claire French, January 11th 2011

Like this article? Sign up to Left Foot Forward's weekday email for the latest progressive news and comment - and support campaigning journalism by becoming a Left Foot Forward Supporter today.