They say everyone has 20:20 hindsight, but with each new report that is released it becomes clear that the only sensible response to the financial crisis that began in 2007 is:
are you taking the piss?
Because it is increasingly apparent that, yes, in fact, they are. Governments across the globe are expecting the poorest and those most in need of help to pay for the clear up while the bankers skip off to the Cayman Islands with suitcases full of our cash and an entreaty that the blame culture must end:
There was a period of remorse and apology; that period needs to be over
– Bob Diamond, chief executive of Barclays, quoted in Private Eye No 1280
If nothing else, you have to admire their chutzpah.
A reasonably well-connected friend told me back then that the credit crunch was being talked into existence. I wasn’t sure I believed her, worrying that certain banks were too big to fail and about what might follow if they were allowed to collapse and take millions of ordinary worker’s savings, pensions and mortgages down with them. In my naivety I might have expected an ounce of fucking gratitude for the largesse we showed in saving the bankers from the abyss. Not a bit of it, if it was given at all it was begrudged and now, apparently, it’s over.
Instead of remorse, what we get are lectures from the decks of their super-yachts, moored off the coast of the latest tax haven, on why the need for austerity has added hospitals to the list of things now to be considered luxury items. As noted by the Anarchist Writers:
it is hard to tell whether the Con-Dems stupidity is driven by class interest, incompetence, ideological blindness, economic illiteracy, or a Machiavellian wish to use crisis to pursue market-fundamentalist social engineering. Probably a mishmash of all with the incompetence, ideology and illiteracy helpfully deepening the crisis which can be used as an excuse to impose neo-liberal dreams and ensure the rich get richer
Clearing the deficit at a speed that terrifies most economists certainly seems to be their obsession, the gloss of prudent financial management given to an ideological mission to roll back every advance the working class has won for itself over the last 60 years, while allowing the looting of the global economy to continue unchecked.
Of course, as the rich and the corporations they control demand and get ever more lenient tax regimes, some idiot has to be found to make up the shortfall. Guess who is in the frame? So work becomes more and more like this, with the sting of a reduction in take home pay and the removal of services your taxes used to cover. Remember who you’re working for.
But don’t fear! We still have a gazillion pounds to spend on the Olympics, millions more to set up the organisation to monitor MP’s expenses and a few quid left over for some really nice chairs.
I wonder what will be our tipping point, what will see us head for the streets, when Mubarak is estimated to have accumulated 40-70 billion dollars from his reign in Egypt, an astronomical sum but one dwarfed by the quids our rulers have handed over to their mates in the pin-stripes. Maybe it’s time to start building the barricades?