30 June 2008

Barclays can go to hell too

You don't have to go far from home in the UK to find those who help prop up Mugabe's government and his Ministers, you see Barclays is banker for Mugabe's thugs and even buys Harare government bonds.

You see this is what it does:

"Barclays' Zimbabwean subsidiary lent the Mugabe regime $46.4 million (£23 million) last year through its purchase of government and municipal bonds and is one of the main contributors to a government-run loan scheme for farm improvements, the Agricultural Sector Productivity Enhancement Facility (Aspef). At least five ministers have received loans for farms seized from white Zimbabweans under the Aspef scheme, intended to boost agricultural production, which has collapsed since the seizures began

This statement defended its activities:

"[Barclays] services are critically relied upon by many of the 135,000 customers for their day-to-day operations to maintain access to banking and employment, with a benefit to the wider community. This continued presence brings the benefit of avoiding additional hardship [to that] already being experienced within the country."

I would love to know how in a country with inflation running at over 4,000,000% a year, Barclays can provide banking services worth anything to the average Zimbabwean? The local currency is worthless. It buys Zimbabwean government bonds, no doubt with foreign exchange. If it didn't participate in this market, the Zimbabwean government would have to go elsewhere, and funnily enough banks in friendly regimes like China are far from capable of undertaking the activities Barclays does.

So I'm going to find other insurance providers next week and cancel my policies. Barclays can royally get fucked. Like far too many companies today, it talks the talk about the value destroying bullshit called "corporate social responsibility", and plasters this nonsense on its website. It then has a description of the "operating environment" which ignores completely what is going on.

So go on Britain. Go take your money out of Barclays, tell them why, at this time of tight credit, it could do with a message that being bankers to those who encourage men to murder and abuse children is not ethical or moral. Barclays no doubt will claim that closing its operations will hurt locals, it may do so, but does this make up for continuing to help finance the murderous regime,to continue finance the loans to its thugs? When does it stop being moral to be bankers to dictators?

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