2 August 2013

Starsky and Hutch

There have been lots of partnerships on TV and in the movies. There have been plenty of partnerships in politics. But I never thought that I'd see a partnership like Welby & Wonga. Now, don't get me wrong. I'm not suggesting that the Archbishop is actually in partnership with Wonga in any sense other than in his opposition to 'payday lenders' represented most visibly by Wonga.

But the Archbishop's association with Wonga was predated, by only a few days, by the publication of an interview which the Archbishop gave to the BBC. In that interview, the Archbishop took a remarkably soft and understanding approach to those individuals who brought chaos to global finance with what one commentator described as their 'egregious mismanagement' of banks, namely, the bankers.

The Archbishop took issue with what he saw as the lynch-mob mentality of those who criticised bankers and, almost the very next day, he went on the attack and 'payday lenders', typified by Wonga, were squarely in his sights.

But, I wondered, why are 'payday lenders' so successful in this time of austerity. Could it be that they are not a cause but simply an effect. Could they simply be a response to the fact that many people are finding it hard to survive when they are caught between the twin jaws of rampant consumerism on the one hand, and a severely damaged economy on the other. See the BBC website on the subject here. Now, quite obviously, bankers aren't responsible for rampant consumerism but they are responsible for the havoc, damage and losses that their 'egregious mismanagement' caused to economies around the world.

So wouldn't the Archbishop be better off focussing his righteous indignation those who authored our current economic woes rather than taking cheap pot-shots at easy targets like Wonga.