It seems sometimes that half of modern business life is complaining about bankers – and the other half is complaining about government.
Yet surely the notion that the two are working together to serve their own ends at the expense of everyone else is nothing but the stuff of extreme left-wing conspiracy theory?
We can no longer be certain about that. At a time when one would imagine that bankers would be hiding their faces, after the irrational greed of the banking sector turned an overdue but predictable recession into a near catastrophe, the links between government and big bankers are stronger than ever.
The new British government has just appointed Stephen Green, Chairman of HSBC, as its new Minister of State for Trade. His predecessor in that office, under another political party, was Lord Davies of Abersoch, who was previously Chairman of Standard Chartered.
It seems that, as far as British trade policy is concerned, political parties come and go but the influence of the big banks remains constant.
If that is not enough, surely it is odd that the British government was apparently informed of the appointment of Bob Diamond as Chairman of Barclays before it was announced to shareholders. The Chancellor of the Exchequer, the UK’s Minister of Finance, says he looks forward to working with Mr Diamond – a strange way to express the relationship between a chief regulator and his supposed adversary.
It should be stressed that this blog is not criticising Messers Green and Diamond as individuals, and that HSBC and Barclays were not among the worst run banks that had to be bailed out by direction injections of taxpayers’ money.
However, this chumminess between big government and big banks does strike a sour note at a time when millions of small businesses are still struggling to deal with the consequences of their combined incompetence.
It is also bad for Britain that the “voice of business” in British government circles is the voice of the big banks – who do not have the interests of other businesses at heart.
Where, we ask, in all this is the voice of five million small businesses?