mesmile Anyway, there’s Mario Draghi, Europe’s most unaccountable banker, the Prince of Darkness and President of the European Central Bank, sitting in front of lots of cameras, hacks and scribbling hands. It is, as David Coleman used to say, The Big One.

Will he tell them big things? Will he say anything? Will he simply blurt out everything?

The general media view over the last 24 hours has been that Mario told us, in so many words, something and nothing.

But I disagree: I think he told us, in far too many words, that something is nothing if he says so. And for his next trick, he may well tell us that nothing is everything, depending on the context. Or even that everything can be achieved by doing nothing…which is what he’ll have to say some time soon, because there’s nothing left that he can do to make something happen, let alone the right things.

Sit back comfortably while I analyse what Draghi said een heeez sprinad Eeengleesh.

He said, “The ECB is to reduce asset purchases from €80billion to €60billion, but this is not tapering“.

Confusion over on Boombust TV.

“Whaddya maker that Brad?” asked Fred.

“Er,” Fred replied, playing for time, “he says he’s not tapering. How did you read that one Vonny?”

“Hardtotell,” says Vonny after a deep breath, “Butifyerdropbytwennythatstwennyovereighdysoyougotliketwennyfivepercentlessgoanin”.

Seeing the anthrax vial heading his way, guest Steve goes for the volley return.

“Sure looks like a taper to me. Wouldn’t yer say, Fred?”

The camera flicks on cue to Fred, whose face says, “Oh shit, I’m Fred”.

“Yuuuerrresno,” he explains, “I mean, hell, how many cuts are there in a taper?”

But back in the media hothouse’s glare, Mario Draghi is elucidating. Perhaps he is obfuscating. Or skating on thin ice. We can’t be sure.

“Weeee heff deeecide,” he says, “on coesheuss farst stip. Then we a-look adda de tapper”.

“SO!” says Vonny in that new beginning to every sentence that has become as de rigueur as Big Hair on every B2B news channel, “Iguesshessayendaddastepaintataperhuh, howeryerreadinthatoneSteve?”

“That’s a great point,” says Steve, sticking with the received protocol of false politesse when surrounded, “and yep, the duck’s quacking for me – how about you, Brad?”

Thus far Brad has got off lightly, but now he needs to at least sound like he’s getting off the fence.

“Maybe Steve,” he nods, ” but yer know, not everything that quacks is a duck”.

Everyone is stunned into silence. Nobody wants to get into metaphors about cuts, ducks, steps, quacks and tapers. At least one person, I sense, is worried about accidentally hypothesising that Quakers, rapists, clucks or capers might be involved. But the commercial break comes to their rescue.


Last night at The Slog: Freedom from demographic war