In the continuing process of melding together statutory control and self-regulation London is admired from the outside for its long and proven experience and record, its fairness, its political stability and the constrictive interaction between government and business. A world driven by innovation - be it the application of advanced and high technology in manufacturing industry or the application of information technology in the financial world - does create yet another demanding and ever changing set of circumstances.
This needs to be understood by all of the players, whether they are providers, intermediaries, users, regulators or the legislators. If all abide by the desire to enforce the standards of integrity and trust that are so important to ensure the proper functioning of a market, then all is well. If, however, businesses, or for that matter government and legislators, shelter behind the law (and the local authority swaps affair is a case in point) then the true meaning of integrity and fairness very quickly becomes a questionable and indeed damaging factor.
Fingers have been pointed in different directions and at various times, and frequently for good reasons. Plausible explanations may be given on the basis of the letter of the law, but fundamentally this is not an acceptable excuse for the vast majority of well meaning participants who want to uphold the spirit of the law and the inheritance of decency and integrity.
In conclusion, it must constantly be remembered that honesty and integrity form an integral part of our daily life in whatever decisions and actions, small or big, we undertake and the examples which we thus set.