Carl Mortishead, writing in today’s Times, blames the working-class rather than the City bankers for the current financial crisis.
No, really, he’s serious:
This is not a tale of City greed v the downtrodden working man. It is the triumph of mass consumption over class privilege…..
I didn’t know class privilege had disappeared in the face of mass consumption. Must have missed that one.
….it is about the homes, but it is also about the cars, the flatscreen TVs, the racks of Primark frocks, the consumer detritus that litters a million British working-class homes. It is the lifestyle of people who a quarter of a century ago were struggling to fill the gas meter but who last year took a foreign holiday.
Those horrible working-class people, eh? Give them a bit of dosh and look what they spend it on.
Do you get the feeling Mr Mortishead might be a bit of a snob?
Anyway, he goes on:
It was those blood-sucking vampires at Canary Wharf who made possible the Great Spend of the Millennium, when a cheap loan became available to all. Are these Labour preachers oblivious of the great capital transfer to the poor that took place over the past 15 years?
Great capital transfer? It was a great debt transfer. Even I can see that and I’ve only got A-level economics.
Who stood behind the toxic mortgages underwritten by Fannie Mae and Freddie Mac? Blue-collar America. Who borrowed from Halifax, the former building society that clings to the apron of Lloyds TSB? British working men and women.
Ah, blame the users not the pushers.
It was social engineering on a vast scale. Since the War, Labour governments tinkered, trying to create a “fair” economy. They mostly failed and, half a century later, rampant capitalism did the job, transferring hundreds of billions of pounds into the pockets of the less-well-off.
Social engineering? That implies that there was something redistributive about it. This transfer of billions of pounds was not from the rich to the poor. The rich have continued to get richer. The money was transferred as debt which will be a blight on many people for the rest of their lives.
OK, over the past few years many people took out loans they shouldn’t have. But those in the financial services industry were only too pleased to lend them the money and, in some cases, bamboozled them into accepting loans as a way of making a quick buck.
Wealthy people can often recover from bad losses and debt. The majority of people, when faced with losses of this size, never get their heads above water again.
But that’s probably not something well-paid journalists like Carl Mortishead have to worry about.