There's been a major breakthrough in the financial sector this week, as Vince Cable announces a panacea for the long-term woes that banks have been facing. All they need to do, apparently, is 'get people to trust them'.
That, seriously, is what Vince's big announcement boils down to. But reading further through the news, it seems, yet again, that they are going to completely miss the mark when it comes to the 'T' word.
The discussion paper, called Trust and Transparency, talks in depth about the need to create a new registry of companies in the UK. This, it seems, is the main fix for trust. Personally, I'm not sure that it will do much to comfort the thousands that queued outside Northern Rock, to ask for their money back, that the same thing won't happen again.
I've written on here before about trust, and how building it necessitates a focus on a range of areas. The problem with these latest proposals is that they don't tick any of them. 'Joe Public' - you and me - have little insight into or passion about the inner workings of financial institutions. We want certainty, diligence and honesty. It may be that these latest proposals will set the groundwork for these, but I'm damned if I can spot it in the murk of the paper.
Talking of which, it was Mr Cable that talked boldly about 'Shining a torch into the murky world of corporate behaviour' during the 2010 election. Unfortunately it would seem that Vince's 'torch' only shines financial double-speak: an 'orderly unwinding of quantitative easing' anyone? Amartya Sen, the Nobel recognised economist, said, in 2009, that the lack of transparency in the financial system was one of the main factors in the 2008 financial crisis - but it all still seems as opaque to most people.
This transparency has a number of levels, and looks very different depending on who you are, and where you stand. The plans launched this week provide it to those within the financial sector, but they fail to provide any transparency that WE, the current account holders of the world, can see through. Standing up and loudly saying 'trust us, we are now transparent', doesn't work when we are all just starting at more murk.
Trust is not about systems and checks and balances (nor, really, is it about transparency), it's about consistency and an investment in relationships. The changes discussed in Vince's paper certainly move things in the right direction, but they offer you and me nothing in the way of a closer, better relationship with those that hold our money.
I appreciate the need for the work being undertaken, and the vast complexity that comes with the revival and redefinition of the behemoth that is our financial system. But, Vince et al, take us with you on the journey.