My nemesis over at The Slog is banging on again about what a set of two-faced bastard cunts politicians and bankers are. This time he has one Mario Draghi in his sights, the chap who now runs the European Central Bank (ECB) and – now there’s a surprise! – Draghi doesn’t actually come out of it smelling of rose. The piece is larded with the usual ‘my reliable source in Madrid’ cobblers which always add a spurious authoritative tone to John Ward’s ramblings (though given how often they have been wrong in the past, he should, perhaps, treat their winks and nudges with a little more caution. I’m surprised a man as paranoid as Ward isn’t just a little more sceptical of the information they are putting his way) but apart from being a general rant about Draghi, it doesn’t take us very far.
It strikes an odd note when we read how very little is known about Draghi, but then goes on to give a reasonable biography – Draghi was ‘born in Rome 66 years ago, went to university there, moved to America to take a further degree at MIT, and graduated in 1977.’ So far, so shocking. ‘He was director general of the Italian Treasury from 1991-2001, after which he spent three years in a senior post at Goldman Sachs International, London. He was appointed head of Bank of Italy, in December 2005, and then boss of the ECB in November 2011. However, beyond the fact that he has been married to his wife forever and has two adult children, details about his private and early life are extremely sparse.’ The ‘extremely sparse’ sounds quite damning, doesn’t it? But ask yourself just how much you know of the ‘private and early life’ of any number of figures in the public eye: Ed Miliband, Len McCluskey, Mervyn King, me or even Mr Ward himself – details of his ‘private and early life’ are extremely sparse, too. Hinting that maybe – just maybe – Draghi has got something to hide is up there with a common technique used in my industry: newspapers will write ‘So-and-so refused to answers questions’ and ‘so-and-so denied’, which are broad hints that all is not quite right – nudge, nudge – and leave the reader with the impression that we should keep an eye on so an so.
But although I have recently discovered the sheer pleasure of pointing out that John ‘The Slog’ Ward is essentially just another bar room bore with a laptop and access to the internet and a rather well-developed sense of his own importance and influence, that is not the point of this entry. (He firmly believes that ‘they’ are keeping tabs on him because of the information he is eliciting – like the much-heralded Grexit two years ago which wasn’t – and that I might well be employed by ‘them’ to discredit him and – get this! – the fact that I mention it so brazenly is just a double-bluff to throw anyone reading this off the scent. And the fact that I have now highlighted what might is most certainly a double-bluff is, in fact, double, double bluff (etc ad nauseam or until EastEnders is on the telly).
His piece on Draghi (and I have no doubt whatsoever that Draghi is ‘ruthless’ – show me anyone, man or woman, in whatever field, who is at that the top of their game who isn’t) reminded me of another piece of cack: I recently heard someone on the radio the other day demanding that ‘we should get rid of all politicians’. And we also hear calls that ‘we should get rid of all bankers’. Well, it’s not a sentiment I necessarily disagree with, but I must point out that – being a liberal I’m obliged to add ‘in my view’ (but I don’t actually mean
The people arrest another bastard banker. Could it be Draghi? No mate, wrong century,
it) – people who make such demands are really not playing with a full deck. Who do they think will fill the positions of all those politicians once they have been ‘got rid of’, quite apart from who will be doing the ‘getting rid of’? The last time it happened, a chap called Robespierre did all the getting rid of (at a time which went down in history as ‘The Terror’), and before that a nice man from Cambridgeshire called Oliver Cromwell tried something similar (with the help of other politicians, it has to be said). More recently, a gang of thugs led by a certain Josef Stalin ‘got rid of all the politicians’ – and many who weren’t – in Thirties Russia, and even more recently Cambodia managed to ‘get rid of all its politicians’ (and anyone wearing glasses).
Who, exactly, will take the place of all those politicians we have got rid of? Why, other politicians, although they won’t, of course, be politicians for the month or two it takes for the power, influence and perks of their position to seep into their souls. But sooner or later – sooner rather than later – they will be politicians.
As for ‘getting rid of bankers’, one must ask oneself who will perform the functions they perform once they are all six feet under. I can’t imagine they will go willingly, so ‘lining them up against a wall and shooting the bastards’ (©Your Local Bar Room Bore) will be the only effective way of doing the ‘getting rid of’? I repeat – I must repeat – that I am not breaking a lance for politicians, bankers, or anyone else of that ilk. I am merely trying to point out how daft such calls are.
It is not the politicians, bankers and the rest who are at fault, but their behaviour. And it would be naïve to insist (as folk like John Ward do) they are all on the take. There have been, are and always will be a number of politicians who are not driven by ego and the perks their position brings them. And I am prepared to believe (because life is not as black
Stalin didn’t like bankers, either
and white as folk like John Ward would have you believe) that there have been, are and always will be bankers who are not out-and-out greedy bastards. Admittedly, it is the kind of industry that, given what it deals in, probably attracts more than its fair share of crooks and skimmers – it would probably be a fair bet that there are more criminally inclined bankers than butchers or plumbers – but cleaning up an industry like banking needs a little more thought and determination than simply ‘getting rid of all the bankers’.
They say that each man gets the wife he deserves (and undoubtedly each woman gets the husband she deserves). OK, so that’s just another broadbrush saying that could also come straight from the taproom, but there is more than a kernel of truth in it. And when it comes to politicians and bankers, it is only fair to point out that while times were good – or, at least, while they seemed to be good – we were quite happy with the politicians and especially the bankers we had. In fact, when in power Labour, the ‘working man’s party’, went out of its way to suck the dicks of bankers at every possible opportunity. We are only getting into a lather about them now that the bill has arrived for the previous 15 years of good times. That strikes me as essentially dishonest. And on a final note: would the world’s debunker of bollocks care to explain how he was in a position to ‘sell his gold’ when the price was right, as he admitted a few weeks ago? For the record I have no gold ‘to sell’, never have and probably never will (though fingers crossed, eh?)