I'm not a great fan of the Daily Mail and its Sunday counterpart: their politics are rarely the same as mine. But there's a not a shadow of a doubt they are a good bellwether of national sentiment, whether that's good or bad. So it's interesting that the Mail on Sunday said yesterday:
With only days before the Independent Commission on Banking delivers its interim proposals, the lobbying by several of our major banks is becoming furious. Barclays, HSBC and Standard Chartered, while officially denying plans to quit London, now say that on behalf of shareholders they would have to consider changing their domicile if the ICB's proposals are too draconian.
For a sector that claims to want to draw a line under the disastrous few years when taxpayers ploughed in countless billions in bailout money, toxic loan insurance, quantitative easing and other guarantees, such high - handed threats simply add to the sense of haughty disregard of public opinion - a disdain eloquently demonstrated by the billions that were shelled out in the recent bonus round, by the banks' refusal to deal fairly with small businesses and by their continued lamentable standard of customer service.
Do these people have no sense of obligation to this country and its taxpayers?
No, they don't.
That's the simple answer.
But of course they should.
Country-by-country reporting is essential precisely because people like Mail readers think that companies do owe a duty of care to each and every state in which they operate. Paying tax is the ultimate measure of corporate social responsibility. The Mail gets that.
So why doesn't George Osborne - who still opposes country-by-country reporting for banks?
And why doesn't the International Accounting Standards Board?
Or any Big 4 firm of accountants?