Campaign for Real Banking

johnkay_7070bw

I cycled in early this morning to listen to John Kay talk about banking.

He gave a quite devastating critique of today’s banking conglomerates and called for legislation to separate out everyday ‘narrow’ banking from casino finance. His talk is here.

Anyone for a campaign for real banking?

Know your rights

Ed Mayo from Consumer Focus at Know Your Consumer Rights CampaigI am here in Bluewater Shopping Centre this morning, helping to launch a campaign which will go to hundreds of thousands of people over the coming weeks – to let them know their consumer rights.

And, to walk the talk, here are your fundamental rights in law. Whatever you buy must:

  1. fit the description given
  2. be of satisfactory quality
  3. be suitable for purpose.

Any doubts? call 08454 04 05 06.

Happy shopping!

First visit

I made my first visit to Holyoake House yesterday to meet the team at Co-operatives UK (a day’s holiday from my current role at Consumer Focus). A fantastic bunch of people, with ideas and passion for a co-operative economy.

I knew from the moment I sept 09 010walked in (thanks for your welcome on reception, Sarah!) and around that I was going to feel at home.

This is the staff kitchen whiteboard with a brainstorm on a ‘fantasy co-operative league’, of those first on the list to mutualise…

Goliath on the line

Goliath on the line.

We have yet another corporate behemoth now for the public to deal with as T-Mobile and Orange work out how to carve up the mobile phone market with their merger. And what is then going to happen to 3, one company that was trying to challenge the grip of the big mobile giants?

The new company will have 37% mobile market share. Three companies will have 90%. And it is not just the mobile sector. The credit crunch has been an opportunity for consolidation across the economy.

I understand the tactics, indeed the commercial logic, but fear it is bad news for the public as a strategy for economic policy. Recalling the US experience after the great depression, is it time for us to think about a new anti-trust movement?

Lightbulb mountain

dairy 008This is Chris Welby, commercial director at Good Energy. We met to talk about the new green energy standard that the regulator is developing.

He also tells me that the big six energy companies claim to have sent out 262m low energy light bulbs – i.e. a remarkable ten or so per household. But if that is true, where have all the low-energy lightbulbs gone?

climate camp and apples

dairy 007 We have had the Climate Camp settling down close to where I live for a week of protest. Perhaps it is because I am a dad now, but instead of joining in, I made an apple pie (with tart mayo garden apples) to take over to share around all those young, hungry activists.

Kangaroo Court

I have written a letter, published in the Times today, together with Charles Dunstone (TalkTalk), Ian Livingston (BT), Jim Killock (Open Rights Group) and Deborah Price (Which?).

We are all critics of Government’s plans to cut down on filesharing, warning of an extra-judicial ‘kangaroo court’ process where evidence is not properly tested and accused broadband users are denied the right to defend themselves against false accusations.