The government's desire to control the banking sector is not simply down to their natural obsessive compulsive need to justify their existence through constant fiddling. No, this is something more.
A lot of political philosophy discusses the concept of "the other"; that (under)class of people within a nation that wider society defines itself by being in opposition to. There is much debate about whether "the other" naturally exists, or whether it is created by the powers that be in order to unite a naturally divisive society behind its ruling elite. I personally think (somewhat pessimistically) that it is a mix of the two. However, what is startling about Labour is just how carefully and cynically they have worked to create "the other" across their years in power. You can actually trace the history of Nu Labour by looking at which parts of society Nu Labour have set up to be shat on.
This is, of course, a similar theme to that which I explored in a post entitled divide et impera—"divide and conquer".
My contention was that the government identifies the bogeyman of the moment and—having whipped up a frenzied hatred of this group, through the compliant media and their own briefings—and takes punitive measures against them.
So far, so the same as the Nameless Libertarian's definition of the "others".
But my contention went a little further than that. Your humble Devil pointed out that the hatred whipped up against the "others" was used to push through terrifyingly illiberal laws—laws that no one would normally stand for.
And I maintained that people allowed these because they naively imagined that they would only be used against the "others"; but—equipped with mini-Enabling Act clauses—these laws are all too often altered, on the quiet and by statutory instrument, to be used against the entire population.
The extension of the Proceeds of Crime Act is a textbook example of this process. This law was originally aimed at stopping drug barons and other crime lords enjoying the fruits of their crimes: it has now been extended (by statutory instrument, of course) to allow public and private agencies to seize the entirety of anyone's assets upon mere accusation.
It is these terrifying laws—and the underhand and deceitful methods used to achieve them: that is the true legacy of NuLabour and there are, after all, an awful lot of them—the NuLabour government has created more than 3,600 new offences over the last twelve years. That's about one new crime every, single day that they have been in power.
"But what has this to do with the bankers?" I hear you cry. "Those bastards deserve everything they get."
Maybe, maybe not.
And here's the rub: the law might be aimed at bankers' bonuses right now, but we know that NuLabour has also attacked the renumeration of many other so-called "fat cats", e.g. energy company bosses. So, sure, NuLabour will pass this law and it will be aimed squarely at bankers' bonuses—after all, everyone hates the bankers, eh?
But watch out for the mini-Enabling Act clause in the Bill: it will be something that allows a government minister to change the terms of reference, probably by statutory instrument.
And then watch the law become extended to cover energy company bosses, and then other private company managers, and then—sooner or later—you'll find it's your company and your money in the firing line.
And when that time comes, don't say that I didn't warn you...