...a blog by Richard Flowers

Thursday, March 05, 2009

Day 2985: Humility or Humiliation?


So, it was Mr Frown's big day. He got to address a joint session of both houses of Americaland's congress. This is, apparently, an honour previously only bestowed on two MANIACS, a NOTORIOUS DRUNK and the man who managed to lose a general election despite polling the most votes Hard Labour has ever won.

So he was understandably PEEVED that Chancellor Sooty had another of his inconvenient bouts of HONESTY and said that maybe a little HUMILITY was called for, and maybe the Government should admit to getting a few things WRONG.

"Will I ARSE!" was Mr Frown's reply.

…I PARAPHRASE! Speaking on the The Today Programme, what the Prime Monster ACTUALLY said: "There's always a need for humility and there's always a need to accept collective responsibility."

Before going on to say: "I'm just not going to accept that any of this is MY responsibility." Okay, I made that up too, but it was the ESSENCE of his reply.

"I don't think I would run away from responsibility for what happens," he asserted. Before doing EXACTLY that, blaming the banks, the world economy, the Secret Conspiracy of the Illuminati and the DOG for eating his homework.

"No, no, the sub-prime mortgage lending happened in America, not here," said Mr Frown; "and I think you'll find that ABM Amrose, that was in Holland, not in Great Britain at all. You're not pinning THIS one on me, sonny."

Well, I seem to recall that the Northern Rock – or Northern On the Rocks – managed to gamble and lose on the money markets with no help from anyone. Their business plan relied on cheep lending always being available, overlooking the most basic "interest rates can go up as well as down" rule of banking. And the Halifax managed to get quite heavily into its own sort of sub-prime lending, as the British property market went through the stratosphere like an overheated balloon… right up to the point where the bubble, and the balloon, burst.

But setting aside the geographical quibbles, is it not the case that Mr Frown WAS the man in charge of the economy for the last DECADE? Wasn't he terribly, terribly PROUD of this fact? More to the point, didn't he spend much of that time courting, wooing, positively sucking-up-to and encouraging the banking sector to do pretty much all of the things that got it into so much trouble?

The CULTURE of banking in Great Britain is defined from the top down. It's a culture FERMENTED by the Hard Labour attitude of "being intensely relaxed about people getting filthy rich". And it leads to the sort of WILLY-WAVING where "Fred the Shred" is egged on to buy a busted bank just so that he can shout: "Phwoar! Just look at the size of my… pension!"

Later Lord Mandlebrot appeared on the Newsnight show. He was in Washington at the Ambassador's reception – mmm, nice chocolates – but his shadow was able to join Mr Paxo in the studio to defend the Hard Labour record on regulation. Great Britain, he told us, had had excellent regulation, but it was overwhelmed by an unprecedented event. And the airbags worked perfectly until the car crashed too.

Mr Frown does not suffer from an excess of humility. HUBRIS, on the other fluffy foot…

It we are going to LEARN anything from where we've got to after the last ten years, if we are going to build a BETTER FUTURE from the rubble of the economy, then we've got to face up to the mistakes that were made. Too much easy borrowing; too little restraint; too much money spent on useless things, from management consultants to middle-eastern wars; too little investment in returning opportunity to ordinary folks.

It's no good living in DENIAL – you only get BITTEN by de CROCODILES.

It's a pity Mr Frown didn't say THAT to the US Congress.


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