Today’s pictures of Sir Allan Stanford in the classic orange jump-suit with contrasting silver wrist manacles highlights yet again how the US gets these things right and Europe gets them wrong. Trust in business is at record lows and I for one think it will be difficult for them to properly recover if justice is not seen to be done at least where people have broken the law (or allegedly still in this case). When was the last time you saw a British businessman in similar attire (Ernest Saunders?). Once in a while it happens in Europe but not that much. Do we assume that no British or European businessmen break laws or that they do so less than US businessman? I think not. In Europe we have in the past been happy to usher offenders towards the sideline quietly, often with their pensions in tact. But long term, this is wrong if trust in business is to be rebuilt. It’s not just about the economy it’s about accountability.
Which brings me to UK politicians. I wonder now given the expenses scandal coverage and the likelihood that tax laws have been broken whether trust in MPs and the political process in the UK can propely be rebuilt without at least some of the worst offenders facing charges? And if they do should they face a US style perp walk?