Cocaine, porn and rent boys: Itís all at the Co-op

It may not be Wall Street, but the UKís Co-op Bank has a scandal to match it: cocaine, pornography, rent boys. And thatís only the man in charge.

One phenomenon that receives surprisingly little coverage when the history of Western capitalism is espoused, especially in left wing circles, is the co-operative movement. It was founded in Rochdale, Lancashire, now better known as a hub for paedophilia thanks to a certain overweight MP and a bunch of degenerate taxi drivers.

In 1844, 28 men from that area set up the Rochdale Equitable Pioneers Society which led directly to the foundation of the Co-op supermarket chain and in 1872 the Co-operative Bank. While any business that doesnít make a profit must inevitably fold, the ideals of the co-operative movement were every bit as important both to its founders and to those who would follow in their footsteps. Alas, all that was to change with the new Millennium.

In its TV advertisments, the Co-op supermarket chain used the slogan ďItís all at the Co-opĒ, a ditty that even came with its own theme music. Now the banking arm of the business appears to have a new theme song Cocaine.

In 2009, ordained minister Paul Flowers was appointed non-executive Chairman of the bank on a salary of £132,000. What could go wrong? How about its losing £700 million in the first half of this year? That was just the tip of the iceberg, and the really bad news for the bank is that it has now fallen prey to hedge funds, a type of organisation whose ethos is totally at odds with those of the Rochdale Pioneers. The really bad news for Paul Flowers is that he was recently filmed apparently buying cocaine. That in addition to his being found to have used his Co-op e-mail address to arrange meetings with male prostitutes. He has now been arrested over the drug allegations, forced to resign from his post due to ďexcessiveĒ use of expenses, the Prime Minister no less has ordered an independent inquiry into how he was deemed a suitable person to run a bank, and to cap it all, a tabloid has recently dug up his conviction for committing an act of gross indecency in a public toilet back in 1981. With another man, of course!

Yes, itís all at the Co-op, although Paul Flowers is not anymore. Okay, so he isnít Bernie Madoff, but this whole sordid affair has tarnished the name of one of the few institutions in this field that could be tarnished. It remains to be seen how long if ever it will take to recover.

[The above article was published originally November 22, 2013; for whatever reason, the associated image was deleted and replaced with another one. A tiny corrrection has also been made to the original text].


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