The H Word

- - posted in Ancient Archives

Since the Cooperative Bank didn’t answer my email questioning their Ethical Policy I’ve resorted to sending an actual letter:

Chris Mills Corporate Affairs The Cooperative Bank 1 Balloon Street Manchester M4 9HA Dear Mr Mills, I have been a Cooperative Bank customer for many years and I have generally been very happy with the quality of service I have received, but one of the main reasons I have stayed with the Cooperative Bank is its Ethical Policy. Unfortunately the events of recent years have caused me to wonder just how real the Cooperative Bank’s much advertised Ethical Policy really is. The Cooperative Bank provides extensive banking facilities to The Labour Party. The Cooperative Bank has also provided a large, favourable loan (around ¬£10,000,000 I believe) to the Labour Party. The Labour Government has been involved in numerous highly unethical activities, notably: Supporting kidnap and imprisonment without trial Direct involvement in an illegal war that resulted in hundreds of thousands of civilian deaths and social collapse Permitting the supply of cluster bombs to Israel with the knowledge that such weapons were already being used in civilian areas The supply of weapons to oppressive dictatorships Refusing to investigate bribery and fraud cases Pro-Trident and Pro-Nuclear programs Anti-organic farming, pro-GM food policies Restrictions on liberty within the UK These activities would be entirely incompatible with your published Ethical Policy if not for the loophole: The Cooperative Bank does not apply ethical considerations to The Labour Party. You cannot argue that the Government and The Labour Party are two unrelated entities: the membership of the Labour Party select those currently in government and are responsible for their actions. You cannot argue that The Cooperative Bank is politically neutral: you would not allow other political parties guilty of this behaviour to open accounts. Would you accept the National Front or Uzbekistan’s government as customers? You cannot claim that your special treatment of the Labour Party is supported by your customers: most customers do not realise that the Labour Party is exempt from your ethical policy. At present I feel that the Cooperative Bank’s Ethical Policy has become little more than a ‘greenwash’ in the same manner as BP’s new ‘green’ image or the reinvention of the Conservative Party. Ideally I would like the Cooperative Bank to immediately call in its loans to the Labour Party and close the national Labour Party account. I realise that this is highly unlikely. Instead I request that The Cooperative Bank is true to its word and directly survey its customers on whether or not the Labour Party should be exempt from the Ethical Policy. Secondly I request that advertising for The Cooperative Bank’s Ethical Policy makes it very clear that governments are exempt, and that although the Cooperative Bank will not permit its business customers to supply cluster bombs, it will allow The Labour Party to do so. The current advertising is misleading. Your sincerely, Peter Birkinshaw