Back in 2008 when the economy crashed, when the banks and bankers were being roundly condemned, one of the more ridiculous statements that was bandied about by the money men was that somehow, it was our fault. Apparently it was because we had been going to the banks to get loans and mortgages that we couldn't cover, living on the never-never and racking up debt and not caring that one day it would all come crashing down around our ears.
What drives me mad, apart from people refusing to take responsibility when caught red handed, is that we the public have all the power when it comes to greedy companies that continually punch us in the face and expect us to say thank you. The utility companies know they can ratchet up the price because we HAVE to buy their product, same as the banks who can mess around with the LIBOR rates, charge us for taking out our own money from cashpoints and send us a letter for £25 to tell us we are overdrawn and yet we HAVE to trust them with our wages, direct debits and standing orders and they know that.
The power we have is in our numbers but we can't seem to get our act together to punish the worst offenders. Take your electric supply, you have 5 or 6 main suppliers. Yes they collude together so they all put up their prices together so we think that we have no actual advantage from changing supplier but we do, we can cut them down at the knees if only we act together. If all, or a large majority of the customers of one company left for another supplier, their profits would crash and hitting them in the purse is what scares these big companies and when they see that we have got our act together and that we can hurt them, it would focus their minds remarkably.
If the customers of Barclay's moved their accounts to another bank, Barclay's would spiral down until it collapsed and we, the public, would have taught it and all banks a valuable lesson, that we no longer are the soft touch they have long taken us for.
Already half a million people have left the big name banks since the Libor scandal broke which is great but somehow we need to coordinate it so the pain is concentrated in one big bank at a time rather than it being spread thinly around the big names. If the local baker kept selling stale bread, you would find another baker and the first one would either have to improve his service or go out of business and that is what we need to do to improve the deals we are currently getting from the utilities and the banks.
We do have the power, we just need to concentrate it properly or we will forever be taken for mugs which is what they are relying on.