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I’m still in New York – back tomorrow – where the story playing biggest right this moment is about the Goldman executives who are testifying in front of the Senate.

Of the various things which are astonishing about Goldman, one aspect which really stands out is their demeanour. They really do a very convincing impersonation not just of not giving a shit, but of seeming to go out of their way to be disliked. It reminds me of the Millwall FC ethos, summed up in their song:

You don’t like us
No one likes us
No one likes us
[with inhuman ferocity] We don’t care!
We are Millwall
Super Millwall
We are Millwall
From the Den.

In fact, replace ‘Millwall’ with ‘Goldman’ and you can still sing it. Surely no coincidence. Or maybe a more apposite chant would be the rondo Leeds fans used to sing in the 1970s: ‘We are e–vil, yes we are e–vil.’

I’ve had two conversations in the last few days with money people who bitterly resent the damage that Goldman’s severe case of fuckyouitis is doing to the rest of the industry. I’m not surprised. If I were a banker it would worry me too. They are trashing the reputation of the whole business, at a time when it is anyway at an all-time low.

Strange that banker-bashing hasn’t played more of a role in the election, given how unpopular the banksters are. Perhaps the Tories and Labour both tend to lay off it, on the basis that it plays well for the Lib Dems, who are the only party with deniability when it comes to the last three decades of regulatory free-for-all. Maybe tomorrow, when the Goldman guys’ testimony hits the papers, it will kick off.

Comments on “Fuckyouitis”

  1. A.J.P. Crown says:

    You’re confusing “banker” with “bank manager”. Mr Mainwaring in Dad’s Army had strong moral feelings about service to the community of Walmington-On-Sea and to his country. Bankers aren’t Millwall supporters, they’re the players. They do their best for Millwall this year, but next season they could be doing their best for Morgan & Accrington Stanley and they certainly aren’t working for any club’s supporters (the supporters being the electorate in this mataphor).

  2. loxhore says:

    ‘Bangster’ is perhaps superior.

  3. Bad Bart says:

    The behavior of the bankers is not at all astonishing to me. These guys have gotten away with some of the most expensive shenanigans over the last 10 years and have done it all pretty much in the light of day. They’ve received around a trillion dollars in the US after having pretty much taken down the entire financial system and their only punishment has been really this congressional investigation and Obama giving them a stern talking too. I would say that these bankers are more emboldened than ever to do what they please. The government has clearly demonstrated that they’ve decided they are too big too fail, which means more bail outs should a similar situation arise in the future, regardless of whether or not the bankers played a (major) hand in it.

  4. I have just finished reading your Whoops! book and saw your piece in the Guardian the other day about the bond markets and the British general election,. Great stuff, congratulations, you are really pulling the wool up from over our eyes. It’s not a pretty sight, but I don’t think of ‘ignorance is bliss’ as an option.

    Wonder what you are making of the Greek credit rating news today.

    Have you read “Christian Salmon – Storytelling: How narratives shape our reality, ideas and behaviour”? You may be interested in it, I helped him promote the English version http://www.thersa.org/events/vision/vision-videos/christian-salmon-storytelling-how-narratives-shape-our-reality,-ideas-and-behaviour
    I will certainly tell him about your writing if he doesn’t already know about it.


  5. Imperialist says:

    The Senate sounds a bit like how Orwell describes Dickens. If everyone would just act decently, everything would be fine. (Or more radically, nobody always acts decently, so we need to make it harder for them to be indecent.)

    Goldman bankers realise that they acted effectively according to the rules of the game.

    Bankers may be sons of bitches, but it’s the system that’s rotten, not the people.

    • Bad Bart says:

      The”system” you speak of isn’t naturally occurring, it’s a product of human invention. The rules of the game were often changed as a result of the bankers’ own interventions.

  6. Camus123 says:

    Why is their behaviour ‘astonishing’? They earn their millions by getting up earlier than their banking rivals and sneer when they make a killing. I can’t get too excited about Millwall supporters yelling their anthem at the Leeds terraces as long as I’m not there. From what I heard of Herman Bankfein (I think that is his name) he had a point when he said that they only sold to other banking geniuses who knew what they were buying. AS Imperialist says, they play according to their own rules.

  7. marshmallow says:

    I don’t think it helps to over-demonise the people who work in the banking industry. What they do is as much a social problem as any other anti-social behaviour.

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