Failure and its Rewards

We are entering a period of blame and recrimination.  The party has ended, mum and dad have returned and someone is having to account for the sick on the carpet and the graffiti on the walls.

The trouble is that while mum and dad are good at telling people off they’re not very good at facing up to the fact that they went away and left their kids unsupervised.  Indeed they were far too keen on telling anyone who would listen just how clever little Tarquin and Esmerelda were and how one day they would make mummy and daddy a fortune.

Let me now dispense with the metaphor.  For years this government was happy to take a laissez faire approach to the city.  It gladly basked in the reflected glory, took credit for the boom rather than realise the boom was fuelled by credit and piled smugness upon hubris as it trumpeted its achievements.

Now it is adamant it knows who is to blame; those greedy little bankers.

Let us not absolve the banks of their responsibility.  Thy partied for far too long, took risks on financial products they didn’t fully understand, started to believe their own myths of a new economic paradox and sidelined anyone who dared suggest that the carefully constructed attempts to justify the bubble were just economic emperor’s new clothes.

It is only fitting that bankers should be asked to forego their bonuses.  It wouldn’t be entirely unfair if a condition imposed upon those who insist on claiming theirs is that they collect their cheques in public so they are left in no doubt of the contempt in which many hold them.

However to put all the blame on the banks is to absolve others who are equally culpable.

Ed Balls sat at Gord’s right hand during the decade of excess.  They were in a position to stop the bubble inflating quite so wildly.  At the very least they could have warned against excess rather than have happily taken a share of credit for it.  The two of them have now called for bankers to pay the price.  Well let me call for Messers Balls and Brown to pay a price too.

Just as they remind us that we should not reward failed bankers with bonuses, let us not reward our failed politicians with the gift of power.

Ed Balls should resign and the organ grinder for whom he rattled the tin should follow.

There was a time when honour dictated that when they failed our elected representatives took responsibility and stepped down.  Now our politicians cling to power with a sickening determination.

For the sake of the health of our democracy they should consider their positions.  That is far more important to our nation, its body politic and to people of every political persuasion that the thick skinned personal ambition of any individuals.

Sirs, have a sense of shame and go.

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