Richard North, 21/01/2016  
 


Goldman Sachs, sometime known as "Golden Sacks", the US investment bank which helped the Greek government fraudulently to join the single currency, is now reported as having made a six-figure donation to Britain Stronger in Europe (BSE), in support of its campaign to keep the UK in the EU.

The irony of this predatory company supporting EU membership, as a means of furthering its own financial interests, is obviously lost on the directors of the bank, but then the very essence of the Europhile cause is that it has long lost touch with any semblance of reality.

In like fashion, we now see Deutsche Bank, one of the first banks to declare in favour of Britain's continued membership of the EU – and threatening to quit the UK if we left the EU - warning that they expect to post record losses of €6.7 billion. These are higher even than they forecast last quarter, when losses of €5bn were expected.

With such a display of financial acumen and probity, we cannot help but be overwhelmed by the Bank's dedication to the EU – the proximate cause of its demise, with a plunging eurozone economy and a failing single currency. But some pundits might worry about joining the bank in abyss, and to prefer to put as much distance between the UK and the EU as possible.

Separately, we have a group of "fund management bosses" telling MPs that quitting the EU will not suddenly slash the burden of red tape on the City of London and Britain's financial sector.

Despite the tide of regulation from Brussels, the industry groups argues that "many of the rules were set on a global level before being implemented by the EU, while others are invented and imposed by UK politicians and regulators rather than those from the continent".

Bizarrely, this is retailed with some glee by British Influence, even though we have been saying precisely this for many years, as an illustration of why we no longer need the EU. With so much legislation originating elsewhere than Brussels, there is every good reason for cutting out the middle man and dealing directly with the institutions which call the shots.

Yet, just as we are advocating a more global role for Britain, the very bank which was so keen to see us entrapped in the EU was raising the white flag on global reach.

This was heralded by the Europhile Financial Times, back in October, when it also had difficulty seeing the irony in the situation.

Deutsche Bank, it said, has had a white flag in hand for a while. Now, finally, it has raised it. Germany's biggest bank has acknowledged it must retreat from the global ambitions it has held on to through eight years of financial crisis and post-crisis regulation. A €6bn quarterly loss, unveiled alongside a new strategy, had been the conclusive evidence that change is overdue.

But this was not just Deutsche Bank. The FT was also noting that all of Europe's previously globally relevant players were in retreat, ceding market share to US rivals, themselves boosted by a stronger home market and, in some areas, more lenient regulation.

Ceding the game to US giants such as Goldman Sachs and JPMorgan Chase, this perhaps explains the enthusiasm of Golden Sacks for the European Union. Unable to fight off the competition on its own, it has been able to rely on the dampening effect of the single currency on the eurozone economy, thereby removing the Europeans from the market.

Perhaps it is caution that prevents it taking a more triumphalist stance, but Golden Sacks could very well be coining the slogan, "good for [US] business" to justify its support for the EU. But it is being overly obvious if it expects the British people to share its enthusiasm, watching the American giant fill its coffers at their expense.

Before even the FT got in the prediction game, though, the Guardian was administering the last rites, telling us that borders were closing and banks were in retreat. "Is globalisation dead? ", it asked.

That was in May 2015, with the paper echoing themes which we have raised, arguing that the "big bang" trade deals favoured by the EU and other monolithic blocs belong to the age of the dinosaurs.

The issue really is that the EU is an early 20th Century construct, nearly a hundred years old in its original intellectual genesis, and quite incapable of adapting to the demands of the 21st Century, where fortune favours flexibility and speed of decision-making.

But at far as the banks were concerned, the paper cited a recent Bank of England research paper that noted how banks were retreating from cross-border lending – a practice perceived as jeopardising financial stability. Euro-area banks were retreating to their home markets, setting back the Single Market ethos by decades.

Now, global uncertainty is becoming the norm, and the little Europeans are retreating further into their fortresses, obsessed with their local problems and oblivious to the bigger picture.

Once confident, global players, the banks are leading the retreat, at the same time calling on the UK to hold onto nurse. They want us to stay, not in our interests but for theirs. What they don't realise, though, is that we're banking on leaving. Their interests are not ours.






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