With all the dust being thrown up around banks deceptions and tax dodging it is easy to lose sight of fundamentals that don’t get so much chatter in the media. Some things go on for months and tackling the casino speculation by hedge funds and banks such as Barclays Capital is a case in point.
Revision of the EU-wide Markets in Financial Instruments Directive (MiFID) has been going on for some time and will need all the parties to pass it. These poles are the European Commission which has drafted proposed changes, the Economic and Monetary affairs Committee (ECON) which revises the proposals, MEPs in the European Parliament that vote on these proposals and the Council of (Finance) Ministers- in the UK’s case this meaning George Osborne.
Arlene McCarthy, a NW MEP, is vice chair of ECON and so it is important to make sure she understands the strength of opinion in the constituency and country as a whole. She had earlier been lobbied by WDM’s Bolton and Merseyside groups. (We had tackled Stockport based LD MEP Chris Davies.)
WDM raised over 2000 signatures on an e-petition which was only available for signatures briefly. We had raised over 80 signatures, mostly from locals, at Gatley Festival Funday the previous Sunday. People were concerned about unlimited speculation and were clear that they agreed with WDMs “asks”:
- Trading to take place in public exchanges
- There should be regular and standardised reporting on positions- i.e. how much a trader holds or controls
- There should be clear and fixed limits to the percentage of the market beyond which a trader could not go- so protecting the system from cornering leading to prices being forced up or markets flooded to depress prices.
Speculators have been pushing against this last point, wanting monitoring and after the event controls to be introduced. Arlene McCarthy said this was no change from the current situation and told us that the Socialist group the Labour MEPs are part of was unhappy at being pushed to wave through 2000 amendments without sufficient time to evaluate them and negotiate compromises.
She also said that the Christian Democrats in the EP had appeared to appreciate the moral dimension of position limits but had changed to preferring position management, perhaps as a result of industrial lobbying. Dealing with this European dimension needs European lobbying with French MEPs being lobbied as one of them is the co-ordinator who is the whip for the Liberals. Confrontational interruptions of committee meetings and demonstrations against Olle Schmidt had probably had a negative effect and given him a cover from engagement with campaigners.
It was a useful meeting, a chance to listen to and speak to a key politician who doesn’t have to ace the daily petty lobbying that besets Westminster MEPs. We’ll keep in touch with her-why don’t you?