Now I know it’s important to Think Big – to have goals and targets and ambition. But you can take it too far. And I rather think that in their recent “Economic Crime Plan 2019-2022” the joint forces of HMG and UK Finance (which I understand is the jazzy new branding for the British Bankers’ Association and a few others) have done just this.
Turn, if you will, to page 17, to the section titled “Project and commitments”. Now, I am a world-class list-maker. My bullet points go down to four levels – so we’re talking semi-professional planning. But I have yet to create a table of 52 actions (it’s just occurred to me: is that one a week?). And some of these are really, really formidable. “Develop framework to repatriate funds to victims of fraud”, for instance, and “develop a sustainable, long-term resourcing model for economic crime reform”. The Pollyanna side of my nature has been beaten into submission by the barrage of frankly ludicrous “promises” made by those who are trying to convince us that Brexit will be a little bump in the road, easily negotiated, and so I have no appetite for long lists of holy grails – particularly when none of the five actions related to “Better information-sharing” even features the word “international”. And as for the five actions related to “International strategy”, all five are apparently “ongoing” – so no target date for improvement or completion.
But perhaps it makes sense when I read that this plan was signed off by Home Secretary Sajid Javid and Chancellor Philip Hammond – neither of whom holds that office any longer.