I don’t like Mondays
It may be Friday, and there may be two days of respite in which lies can be spun and bailouts cobbled together. But this time, none of the idiots who got us here have anywhere to hide.
The bankers face the collase of their short-term pr campaign to dub Bob Diamond a lone rotten apple. The barrel is fermenting unpleasantly, and the obviously global nature of the Libor scam continues via the US, Canada and Asia. Wednesday, regulators were investigating named executives Michael Zrihen at Credit Agricole, Didier Sander at HSBC and Christian Bittar at Deutsche Bank. There will now follow an attempt to make these apparatchiks carry the can. It won’t work.
The UK Government Minister of Trade & Investment Stephen ‘The Baron’ Green looks on in horror as all the full depravity of his Christian HSBC is laid before a by now exhausted public. He does have a line of defence (see the Slog later today) but it’s not original, and carries all the credibility of Nick Buckles for Minister of Defence.
Camerlot has run out of excuses for being a half-hearted member of the least successful trading union of modern times. The IMF is backing away from any further eurozone support, Spain’s bond yields have reached the ‘we now give up’ point in the markets, Mario Monti’s Italian miracle has proved to be just another mirage, the German public is fed up of bailouts, and twenty CDU members voted against Merkel’s latest piece of Fiscal Union railway track. The UK is back to exporting more to non-EU countries than EU. And the clamour for an in-out referendum is growing in Britain. By the time it happens, it will be more like a post mortem.
Brussels too is all out of fantasies. Most of the FU members are already debtors (or on the verge of it), the ESM has attracted close to zero ex-EU investors, and Mario Draghi has as good as said that Brussels in general and the euro in particular are dysfunctional. The entire Union outside Germany is in recession, Greece has all but collapsed as a modern society, Turkey has an eye on Cyprus (as does Moscow), and – as noted above – struggling Infant School sums under-achiever Christine Lagarde has called time on IMF contributions. Herman van Rompuy is down to the “and then aliens from Space save us” outlook.
Rupert Murdoch survived last year’s Newscorp AGM, but the vote against him at this year’s session will be far more negative and concerted. Eighteen institutional shareholders are said to be cooperating in an attempt to oust the Digger dissembler. Jeremy ‘Whaddock’ Hunt may have limped on as UK Culture Minister, but the Murdoch cheerleader is, I hear, doomed once the Shambolympics have unravelled. This and a growing revulsion for tabloidism means Newscorpse will soon be a reality.
And a prime mover in getting the Games to London, Lord Coe, now finds himself fighting a war against not-very-blacked-out adverse publicity about Olympic levels of disorganisation and risk. The ‘organising’ outfit he heads, Locog, has messed up at every turn: lost bus drivers, unfinished accommodation, overwhelmed transport, bonkers venue choices, and the disastrous choice of G4S. The appointment of a closet Islamist may also come back to haunt the clowns who put together the odd Board composition of Locog. In the event of a terrorist attack, those of us who are awake rather than politically correct will continue to ask what on Earth Mohammed Bari was doing with access to sensitive security information.
Penultimately, and very much least, although the MSM remain slow in grasping this, David Cameron is a busted flush with the electorate. Lord Ashcroft, the Conservative Party’s former deputy chairman and arch-enemy of the Camerlot style, notes that 33% of those who voted Conservative in 2010 have defected to any one of UKIP, Labour, the Lib Dems or abstention. Astonishingly, the LibDems are felt not to have enough influence on Tory policy, a finding on a par with EU voters saying Angela Merkel should be given sweeping dictatorial powers. But this may reflect the feeling that Tories are nastier than LibDems, and thus the Cleggies might have been able to stop a few small ethical hiccups like Newscorp, Libor brokerage, Lord Green, Jeremy *unt, and devious spin about the nhs. Dear me, a lot of voters really have been inattentive in class. They must try harder. 3/10.
“Ah but ah but yes but no but,” I hear you protest “you’ve left off Barack Obama”. I have indeed, and for a very good reason: the Black Dude may have failed to con his supporters into believing that America is recovering (mainly because it isn’t) but he, Geithner and Bernanke still have their stainless steel alibi: “It was all the fault o’ them Goddamm yerpeens and sleazy Brits”. The White House and the Feds were always going to play this card, and they play it now on a near-daily basis.
But while they will perhaps get away with it and help re-elect the emptiest President in 44 attempts to date, one final Candidate for long overdue reality won’t.
Wall Street is viewed by many Sloggers and the world at large as both unassailable, and beyond the very short arm of the Law. But events are now so neatly arranged into what is being called The Perfect Storm, I do not think the Street will survive as an institution of World significance. An EU heading for the cliff will overwhelm the American banking system in a Second Flood of poorly managed derivatives and obligations, revealing for good and all how investment bankers had their Tulip Moment by ridiculous over-valuation of what is, in most cases, nothing more than the IOUs of bankrupts.
As and when this happens, if it’s before November this year, Obama will use it as a stick with which to beat Mitt Romney and his addiction to the Greed is Good philosophy. If it happens later (and that is still the most likely outcome) he will use it to bash the Republican Party and have his revenge upon Lloyd Blankfein and his pals. It won’t alter the reality of a USA very quickly drowning in debt as the inevitable global protectionism takes hold of everything from imports to interest rates, but it will damn banking globalism to history. And as American power thus fades, the Stall Cheat Wankers will never rise again.
Enjoy the weekend.