I don't understand why the chaps in the city get hot and bothered about young Osborne. I know that he keeps making noises about curbing bonuses and bringing bankers to book. But I seem to remember a young MP called Gordon Brown railing against greed in the city back in the early nineties. And look at him now.
You see, no one really cares for these 'golden geese' - unless they happen to own one. And when they own one, they do not understand how selfish it is to let goosey feed on common land, whilst keeping all the gold themselves.
And so it is with investment banking. The opposition accuses the government of failing to regulate the bankers, and promises that they will not repeat the error. Then once in office, surprise surprise, they conveniently forget the promise and become buddy buddy with the 'big swinging dicks'.
We must not choke off the entrepreneurial spirit of the bankers, they now stress. We must not burden them with red tape, tax their hard earned bonuses into oblivion as did Wilson and Healey in the seventies. Do we want to cause a brain drain? Do we want our most successful operators to flee to that little place where they eat fondue and yodel day and night? No, we, the public, must make them feel welcome and show gratitude for their much needed 'trickle down' (horrible phrase - sounds like they're pissing all over us.)
Of course, what the government is really saying is, "We want some of your lovely lolly... They're saying: FTP Bank? Third quarter profits of three billion? We'll have some of that. They’re saying: Trillions of dollars flowing through London each year? Yes please. Two million pound donation to the Tory / Labour / Liberal party... er, maybe it is unwise to stray into the area of party donations right now. As a prospective Conservative candidate, I don't want to unsettle our generous sponsors.
Anyway, I digress. The point is, once you are in government the rules of the game change. You suddenly have to make ‘tough decisions’. You have to think about revenue, cashflows, growth, employment. What fool could honestly wish to alienate our blessed wealth generators?
No, my chums in Moorgate can sleep tight, I'd say. Old Harrovian Boy George might be labeled an oik by his Etonian front bench colleagues. But when it comes to the city of London, he won't look a gift horse in the mouth. Governments, all governments are humbled by the flows of capital, and always will be. There's no escaping that.
The best way to react to George's grumbles is to hold tight and accept that once the boy's in No.11, reality, pragmatism, will rule. And at this point he will do whatever he can to encourage a new age of exuberance, to stimulate a new period of growth, of prosperity, of speculation, of accumulation, of... anyway, you get the idea.
If an old Presbyterian socialist like Gordon Brown can beat a path to mammon, then how hard can it be for ingenious George?
Posted by guest blogger Burgoyne