Listen To What The Man Said

We arrived at Dave’s party on Saturday night which was gradually filling with familiar faces. We all sang ‘Happy Birthday’ to which Dave was suitably embarrassed. I’d been busy at work the previous week and this few hours in the company of people that knew me better than some of my own family was a welcome respite. I tried to remember the last such gathering of familiar faces when, after a time of rifling through the old memory stick that passes for a brain, I was shocked to realise that it had been at least five months. It didn’t take long to discover that we weren’t alone. A discussion of this nature can only take place in one area of someone’s home during a party: the kitchen, which, as any party-goer will tell you, since time began has been the reserve of the party politician, the serious pundit, oft to be found spouting forth and blowing furtive puffs of smoke through the open window. Since I was amongst friends it didn’t take me long to find the answer from the senior oracle from the inner-sanctum of wisdom. ‘Everyone is in the same boat’ he said. ‘We used to go out at least once or twice a week, but it got to a point where you needed at least £30 to £50 in your pocket before leaving the house. Who can afford that these days?’ Going out usually means a none extravagant evening spent with friends a the local pub, taking the family to the cinema or, the crème-de-la-crème, a meal in your favourite little place with that special bottle of wine that you both like. Someone said ‘Have you noticed how they want to put the interest rate back up? What’s the point? Who’s got money to save these days? It’ll only hit those with mortgages again.’ It was then that I found myself thinking of the poor banking community again. Only this week, according to the Telegraph, ‘Barclays reported a better-than-expected 32 percent rise in full-year profits to £6.07bn and a jump in salaries.’ The BBC reported that ‘The government is resigned to UK banks paying out billions of pounds in bonuses this year, despite its calls to curb the payments’. Hang on a minute. Let’s look at that again. ‘The government is resigned’……why? If our Prime Minister, deputy Prime Minister and all the leaders of the opposition are against these bonuses being paid to bankers they should prevent it immediately, not be ‘resigned’ to it! In the kitchen we laughed at the British knack of remaining complacent whilst being dumped-on from a great height by those who would treat us with such contempt. ‘There’s nothing we can do about it’ one friend said. ‘We just have to tighten our belts and ride out the storm’. All over North Africa and the Middle East millions of people are telling their governments enough is enough. Some are dying in the process. ‘Anyway Dave, what did you get for your birthday?’

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