Libor Pains…and Other Stories
Richard Lutz looks at finance, Virgin, his morning paper and the weather
Well, we might as well begin with something that will bury all of us in years to come: the bank scandal.
I’ll start with a quote from a novel written more than 3 years ago:
‘I really need to figure out what this Libor thing is and why it is falling…. But honestly, how little I cared..’
This from the novel Super Sad Love Story which is not a soppy romance but a hard-headed vicious peek into a future run by uncaring E technology, credit ratings .and unfeeling geeks.
Needless to say, it all ends badly.
As will the Libor fiasco that was allowed to flourish under Bob Diamond and other bank bosses. We are already desensitised to how the banks (all of ‘em, I think, not just super nasty Barclays) have monumentally screwed us. If you have a mortgage, an ISA, a car loan or even a paltry interest bearing account (now at minuscule rates) you have been burned. The thieves and crooks in The City and Wall Street and god knows where else have been lying and stealing.
I bet no one goes to jail. It’ll end in tears, handbags and recriminations in select committees, Senate inquiries and Chinese whispers. But all of us, because we really will never understand The London Inter Bank Offer Rate, won’t even know how much we have lost, how much has been stolen.
One thing we will have to Virgincare. Branson and his phalanx of specialists have now branched out to children’s services. care. No, not babysitting but actual NHS services for children.
It will take over the £130m contract to run this public service in Devon. Virgin will employ the 1100 staff which supervises the lives of around 2400 children in the county with disabilities, special needs or mental disorders. Child protection will remain in council hands. But the bidding war has started for the demolition of the NHS- no matter what the creepy coalition promised.
Virgin points out the bidding process was actually kicked off by Brown’s Labour administration. That could be a value-less argument as it doesn’t matter who started the destruction (as in the PFI outrage) but how it will affect the people who use the NHS.
Now…. onto lighter matters and how we get our news: of Libor, the Olympics, Syria or the weather. The other morning Jane referred to an article she was reading on her tablet. I was reading the same thing at the same time in the paper that comes plopping through the door each morning.
To descend into current demotics: like, how cool is that?
To ascend into what it may mean: How much longer before that rustling ever diminishing relic called a newspaper disappears?
It will be a shame. There is something real, manageable and lifelike about your morning REAL edition of The Times, The Evening Mail, The Daily Mail or The Guardian. They exist. But which national paper will give up the ghost first and go 100% digital first?
When will Britain’s legendary opinionated, bombastic, mean spirited, insightful and, ultimately, user-friendly papers fade..and disappear?
When you go to other English speaking nations (I can only speak of those because I am appallingly uni-linguistic), I find boring newspapers – or in some cities, no papers at all. We moan and groan about our newspapers. But they are a distinct voice dropping through the letterbox each morning and many times they reveal bigtime stories such as the ever developing Libor scandal, phone hacking or the MPs’ expenses rip off.
When the papers ultimately succumb to e-news and accounting , staffing will drop and so will content. Buy a paper today. Because tomorrow they may not be there.
And now the weather: When England swims in floods, in the part of Scotland I am ensconced in- south of Glasgow- it has been a suntan climate.
I come to Ayrshire often because of family ties and it took me a while to realise that we get Irish weather here with the prevailing SW winds. So while the tv weatherfolks show us the low pressure swirls or the tail of the ill-disciplined jetstream or graphs of downpours in Norwich or Manchester, we have been slapping on the suncream and putting on the shades.
I write this now, in fact, with the curtains closed because the sunlight makes screen viewing almost impossible. It’s hot out there.
Have a nice day.