Now everyone hates bankers
The revelation that banking officials tried to rig the crucial Libor interest rate has only made people hate a detestable profession that much more.
THIS IS confusing. What do you say if you're a socialist once EVERYONE hates bankers?
On last week's Question Time on the BBC, Paddy Ashdown and Tessa Jowell competed to see who could be rudest about them, so this week's program will start with a show-and-tell, as each panelist displays the torture weapon they'd use on them.
Shirley Williams will bring in a tank of piranhas, and scream "Bring me Goodwin, go on, I'll shove him in there now, I've been starving these specially." Then Ed Balls will charge up a cattle prod while making a point about macro-economics.
At Christmas, the Queen will start her speech: "This year has been one in which one has had it up to here with greedy bankers." And Cliff Richard will release a record that goes "Lord so Almighty, don't let Yuletide pass, without sending some lightning through [former Barclay's bank chief] Bob Diamond's ass."
One way to deal with this is to not call for an inquiry. Because it's not an inquiry we need, it's a trial. That's what happens after a normal bank robbery. You don't have an inquiry, in which a slow-talking judge takes two years to work out whether bank robberies could be carried out more efficiently, by asking questions like, "Would you prefer it if I referred to you by your professional name of 'The Decapitator?' To commence, I refer you to a text sent on the ninth of June concerning the arrival of some sawed-off shotguns. Could you enlighten us as to how one procures such weaponry?"
The next step is to demand a new law which bans anyone from complaining about bankers if they were part of a government that gave them all this power in the first place. Maybe these politicians will say, "When we stripped away almost every check on bankers' behavior, or celebrated that at last we were the party that promotes success and said it was wonderful to make yourself rich, and said anyone who suggested restricting the greed of bankers was an outdated idiotic dinosaur who would lose us elections, that certainly didn't mean we approved of bankers in any way."
The problem could be that not only are the bankers motivated by greed, but the banking system depends on greed. Or maybe this is wrong, and when bankers made their bank 50 million quid by interfering with interest rates, their chief executive said, "What on earth are you doing? We're a bank, our job is to help the community. Now give it back, dress up as a mouse and entertain children at a care home or it's no bonus for you."
So Diamond should have to sign on as unemployed, live on ITV, while we have a referendum on his next punishment. But we should all feel sorry for our political leaders, who must be thinking "First Rupert Murdoch, then the bankers, we've had no luck with our friends. Next it will turn out we shouldn't have trusted the arms dealers either."
First published in The Independent.