Chancellor George Osborne turned up to answer the questions of the Parliamentary Commission yesterday and gave a very poor performance, allowing the members of the commission to repeatedly get one over on him and demonstrating a failure to understand the purpose of the committee in the first place.
At the very beginning of his appearance, he was ridiculed by the next Archbishop of Canterbury, Justin Welby, who commented on the large number of Treasury officials that George had dragged along with him to sit in front of the commission: “You clearly have an army of straw men available for deployment at any time.”
As the questioning went on and the group of MPs began to make him justify the changes in policy that were being enacted in the wake of the financial crisis, George got defensive and told them that he “would be very wary of unpicking a consensus that we have arrived at after two years. We are on the verge of introducing ground breaking legislation.”
But this managed to only rile up the members of the committee more, with Labour MP Pat McFadden telling him “If you’re worried about the freedom and powers of the commission you should have thought of that before you set us up,” whilst the Liberal Democrat MP John Thurso showed an ignorance for the level of geographical knowledge people held in the eleventh century when he asked George “Are you telling us that there is a cosy consensus and you want us to rubber stamp it? There was a consensus in the middle ages that the earth was flat.”
Despite the Banking Standards Commission being a chance for MPs to call to question the banking industry and the government about the unethical and illegal activities of banks, they’ve come up against fierce resistance so far from both sides, with people simply using the commission as a soapbox to criticise anybody they want to.