Bankstone News cannot be alone in having noticed that politicians spend a great deal of time these days claiming they are being “clear” – even whilst giving every appearance of doing the precise opposite. No spurious platitude may pass their lips without the rhetorical framing of self-professed clarity. Rather than address unwelcome questions, they prefer to be “absolutely clear” (often many times over) about something only tenuously related.

Self-proclaimed clarity has been in predictably ample supply at this week’s One Nation Labour party conference, where amongst those being clear was Labour MEP Catherine Jamieson, who was absolutely clear that her party, should it ever again seize the reins of government, would come down hard on anyone in the financial services sector who hadn’t cleaned up their act.

“There has been a very clear message from both Ed Miliband and Ed Balls,” she clarified, “that if the industry, whether that’s the banks or wider financial services, work themselves to sort out these problems, to regulate and ensure that there are enough safeguards put in place, all’s going to be well.”

But, she warned, the aforementioned exemplars of unambiguous lucidity had also issued “a very clear message that if that does not happen, then there will be legislation under a future Labour government to do that.”

In other words, what all this clarity clearly conveys is that if the financial services industry (and hence the insurance sector) does not regulate itself, then a future ONL government will make some new laws to do it for them. Or, as an admirably clear headline in this week’s Insurance Times put it: Labour MEP: ‘Clean up your act or we’ll do it for you’.

This sobering warning brings to mind the time when the mother of a much younger, fairer Bankstone News said: “Clean your room up or I’ll do it for you,” which, eventually, she did, thereby saving her offspring the bother.

Jamieson’s colleague, Arlene McCarthy added yet further clairty by explaining that: “we want our financial services and insurance services to be sold right across Europe, But the price of that,” she made clear, “is that either you self-regulate and clean up your act, or we’ll do it for you.” At about this point Bankstone News was really beginning to buy in to this whole clarity thing.

But then the blissful tide of clarity suddenly began to ebb away, as Jamieson addressed the specific topic of insurance and insurance providers. “People believe,” she said, “that many of those companies – though not all – forgot that their primary purpose, as a consumer would have seen it, would have been to offer them some protection in difficult times, rather than simply making profit.”

So… Jamieson thinks people believe that some (though not all) insurance companies forgot that they (the people) take the view that insurance companies shouldn’t just make money but should also offer protection at certain times – specifically, when times are difficult? In other words, she believes that some (possibly all?) people believe that some (but not all) insurers have forgotten about what they (the some or all people) believe about what insurance companies should be doing – is that it?

Clearly, Project Clarity remains a work in progress.


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