As far as I can detect, these bankers are just a bunch of stock-jobbers and are not the backbone of anything, other than their own ill-gotten riches.
The first sign of a collapsing civilization is when the heads of public entities forget to fulfill their own functions and try to impose themselves on the functions of others. As the Gita, the Holy Book of the Hindu, warns: “To do the duty of another is fraught with danger.”
What are we talking about here? Well, it always struck me as irreverent when the late Archbishop Cardinal Hume deemed it worthy to shout down Downing Street, when he was passing by in his Hackney Taxi Metre Cabriolet de Ville, about the minimum wage, especially when our economic saviour TINA was the incumbent.
Hume was about the last churchman I can remember who exhibited something of the Spirit of Holiness about his person, when he wasn’t shouting in Lady Thatcher’s direction that is, when he momentarily forgot his true role of revealing the Glory of God to his congregation, a role which was presumably paying for his Cabbie from Hackney. “I had that Archbishop in the back of the Cab once…”, and all that.
Now Lord Adair Turner, Chairman of the FSA, addressed the vexed issue of bankers’ bonuses, not from his office or some hall hired for the occasion, of which there are countless available in the one square mile, but from St Paul’s Cathedral itself, the first Cathedral of the Church of England, no less!
How on earth he came to the conclusion that this was a fitting place for such an oration, Heaven knows. Was it because he sees himself as God’s representative and purger of all sins and transgressions in the City, so that moralizing about the “animal spirits” of the pit-bulls from the pulpit was somehow necessary?
Or was it because he wanted to turn the tide of post-Christian Britain, in the belief that he is the self-appointed Archbishop of the City of London, and because he thinks the only realistic way of regulating the City is a rediscovery of basic Christian morality? Bonuses are akin to the sale of indulgences, you see, which clearly didn’t end with the reformation of the church.
Anyway, his less-than-divine rebuke was bound to draw a response for some eminent banker to put in a plea for the bonanza bonus bus, which is the only known way to get these so-called bankers out of bed in the morning and to their counting house.
John Varley, CEO of Barclays which owns Barcap the investment bank, which bought the remains of US Lehman by luring these busted bankers with $1.25 billion bonuses for bankrupting their own employer, felt the need to hit back for these and all the other bonus-earners who nearly busted the world’s financial system as recently as this time last year, so nearly did the funereal baked meats of collapse coldly furnish forth the bonus table.
“Profit is not Satanic!” he thundered at his congregation, this time in St. Martin-in-the-Fields! Ah well, a profit in his vocabulary is not without honour in its own country, seems to be his credo, as I wonder what the great Reverend Dick Sheppard would have made of that, if he was still around to witness such a scene in his church. Banks were the “backbone of the economy”, shrieked Varley, but I can’t recall getting a square meal or a well-cut suit, or even some petrol or a plain vanilla ice cream at any Barclays outlet, or even a humble indulgence.
As far as I can detect, these investment bankers are just a bunch of geared stock-jobbers and are not the backbone of anything, other than their own ill-gotten riches. And bonuses, Varley asserted, were necessary because “talent is highly mobile”, and this from the CEO who has just packed 47 of these geniuses off to sit on a rock in the Cayman Islands with £12.5 billion of toxic waste that somehow washed up on Barclays balance sheet on his watch, now being paid £40.0 million p.a. by Barclays for the next twelve years, that’s an average £850,000 each including overhead for twelve years, to get rid of this unsightly mess as far away from Barclays Head Office as possible, which supposedly now has a nice clean debt of £12.5 billion on its books. And these geniuses need bonuses to behave like these kinds of idiot?
Next off his butt in the defence of “bankers” bonuses was Brian Griffiths of Goldman Sachs. A year ago the US taxpayer saved Goldman from insolvency with a $22.0 billion cash bail-out, $10.0 billion from the TARP, now repaid, and $12.0 billion from the worthless CDSs, or Credit Default Swaps, issued by the bust AIG to Goldman, never to be repaid to the taxpayer.
And now, just one year on, Goldman is getting ready to pay, yes, $22.0 billion in bonuses for 2009! Are these people completely mad and living on a different planet? “We have to tolerate the inequality as a way to achieve greater prosperity and opportunity for all,” volunteered a ‘day-in-the-life-of’ Brian. Don’t you just love it: “We have to tolerate the inequality…!” Who’s We? Try doing the maths on that one!
How about this, Brian: in case you lot cock it up again, why not use this money to create a special reserve – Got it? A Special Reserve! – which would then be tax allowable, a reserve against the over-weaning greed and hubristic folly of your co-bankers – I am sure the tax inspector would readily accept that as an allowable specific provision – equal to the amount that the taxpayers handed you when you smugly signed up to get their money by becoming a deposit-taking bank over-night, so that you can now lend ten times this amount to people and businesses, that’s $220,000,000,000 through your shiny new branch network, to those who really need it as a result of your collective inhuman greed and human folly, and in this way “achieve greater prosperity and opportunity for all”. Come on out Brian, what do you say to that one? ‘Game on’, as Notty would say.
O, God, please deliver us we beseech thee from these pariah priests and the confusion of their tongue-loads of cratitudinous plap, and may you deny them their bonuses as we that are left standing are denied loans and working capital by those that continue to transgress against us, never forever, Amen.