Wednesday, February 11, 2009

 

Bankers Face the Music

Watching those bankers squirm was a goodsize helping of our favourite Schadenfreude, especially the egregious Sir Fred Goodwin (pictured), who is allegedly the most arrogant of this overweeening bunch. My contacts in the business world, as well as Nick Robinson, assure me this experience must have seemed like having their wisdom teeth pulled without anaesthetic. Senior bankers are not used to having their views or dignity questioned- they sweep around in soundless limos or luxuriate in first class travel to wherever they choose. So this hurt. But how much?

Clearly their PR advisers- only the best you can be sure- insisted they must apologize, apologize and apologize. And this they did with an abandon which, to be honest, questioned sincerity. And as the commentators observe today, these former Masters of the Universe, to use Tom Wolfe's phrase, were careful to say sorry the events had happened rather than pick up the tab of any responsibility for them.

Viewers in a Glasgow pub on the BBC news offered, I suspect, the general public view on their pretence at contrition: they are so rich already from their earlier careers, that they will be untouched by any recession and can afford briefly to don some sackcloth and ashes. But my favourite piece of commentary was by psychologist Oliver James, author of the perceptive Affluenza who opines:

'But then I think it is probably not surprising that these men aare so disconnected from the realities of shame and guilt. The definitive study of senior business managers found they were more likely to suffer from several personality disorders, such as narcissism, than inmates at a secure mental hospital.'

Comments:
I can't have been the only one watching this and getting a bit embarrassed by how stupid our MP's and the US representative came across compared to the representatives from the banks. Some of our elected representatives have a very basic understanding of finance and economics. I started with a low opinion of them, and even I was disappointed.

The bank reps. came across as reasonable and measured in the face of so much stupidity and bigotry. One must suspect that these MP's and the likes were just not good enough to get onto these boards, so we end up saddled with them in Parliament. But they have their talents, with the pathetic cheap shots at expenses and travel costs. I loved the bit where they asked about TARP and their bonuses, to then be told that none of them were taking bonuses! You could hear their hearts breaking from across the Atlantic.

I recognised the silly black woman from California. She made an appearance on the Michael Moore movie moaning about Al Gore(who?) losing the 2000 election. Nine years on and still as stupid, just with a more pathetic moaning tone. Get a life woman.

These people would come across better if ANY OF THEM had warned of these problems before they occurred. 20-20 hindsight does not a good legislator make. I hope the honourable buck passers lose their expense accounts when the British people finally get a vote on these crooks.
 
Tend to agree with you re MPs. They are too ready to criticise but surely they had some culpability too as Simon Jenkins points out today. But Michael, you are so angry and sarcastic! You remind me of Ed Reardon, the wonderful cenmytral character in Ed Reardon's Week. If you've not nheard it you must.
 
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