Following the disasterous showing in the Barnsley by-election, it is encouraging to see prominent Lib Dems supporting a radical scheme which could see up to 46 million UK residents owning shares in the Royal Bank of Scotland and Lloyds banking groups.
The idea would be that each person on the electoral role would receive shares, which based upon current market conditions could be up to £1,000 in value. Then the Government would set a floor price and it would only be at a value above this that these give-away shares could be sold with individuals retaining any profit made (subject to usual trader fees) over their starting value.
The proposals supported by Stephen Williams, Lib Dem MP for Bristol West, are likely to go down well with the public and put an end to the popular culture of 'banker-bashing'. Seeing a return on their investment, via an injection of public money, and preventing shareholders from directly benefiting from the current position certainly provides a positive spin on things. Indeed as Stephen says "this plan would recoup the public's investment and allow the taxpayer to get the benefit from any increased value in the banks."
Whether or not this becomes Government policy it is important that great initiatives like this, which are supported by prominent members of the party, are communicated back to a sceptical electorate to demonstrate that coalition or not, we are still the party of fairness!