I got involved in an immolatory debate with some friends the other day about the average citizen’s reinvented relationship with the retail banking system. I was trying to point out to one guy in particular – a guest I’d never met before – that the change in my nomenclature from ‘customer’ to ‘creditor’ was a cynical (and typical) attempt to justify theft as and when it takes place at some time in the near future.
It went something like this:
“Rubbish,” said my main antagonist, “we’ve always been creditors. It’s just that like most people, you don’t understand the nature of the banking rules.
“Tell me,” I countered, “when you first opened a bank account, do you remember anyone in the bank telling you that if they f**ked up you could lose the lot?”
“Of course not”.
“Well then, why bring it up now?”
“To point out the risks”.
“What do you suggest I do, hide my cash under the mattress and hope the 120 standing orders don’t bounce?”
“Now you’re being ridiculous. Banks provide a service, and in service provision there is always a risk”.
“Tell me, where’s the risk in the service provided by my window cleaner?”
And so it went on. It was of course a pointlessly circular debate, because the thing with those who staunchly defend the indefensible is, they’ve soaked up the spin excuses from the media like so many sheets of human blotting paper. The same is true of the Left, when trying to defend their silence on the issue of the EU’s cynical rape of ClubMed for the sake of the euro: they will put the blind eye up to the telescope on everything from the entire Commission being illegally unaudited for two decades all the way through to a now established pattern of quashing election decisions and breaking treaty rules.
The LibDems too defend their appalling record of support for illiberal legislation from the Coalition by saying that it would’ve been “even worse” without their presence. You have to hand it to Nick Clegg, there’s nobody else in British politics quite so urbane as he when it comes to the polishing-up of turds.
Anyway, today I’ve been doing some thinking about this banker/creditor thing. Actually, I’ve been relaying gravel on garden paths destroyed by braindead plumbers, planting saplings for whom the time to leave the pot has come, and hawking bloody great limestone lumps about. But I do some of my best thinking while gardening. And as I thought about how perrywinkle will grow in the most vile soil imaginable but still look quite handsome, it occurred to me that the same is true of the risible arguments put up by those who beeeleeeve. Especially neoliberal City twerps.
So I thought it might be interesting to apply the bail-in-you’re-just-a-creditor logic to other professions. I think there’s a reasonable chance you’ll find what follows at least amusing, and perhaps even enlightening.
Imagine how you’d feel if, on going into hospital for a simple tonsillectomy, you were told, “Of course you do realise you’re not a sick patient, but in fact a potential victim of surgical risk, and thus due to circumstances beyond our control it is quite conceivable that the surgeon involved in removing your tonsils will in fact graft your head onto an okapi in a brave attempt to add to the human gene pool and thus accelerate human evolution?”
I think we can all agree here and now that potential victims would leave scorch-marks behind in the admissions area as they hot-footed it out of there in search of an African medicine practitioner or, failing that, a back-street abortionist.
Or think about the mental contortions Mrs Lampost from 35 Binary Close in Pickelwitch-on-Floodplain would go through if she presented herself at outpatients with a bunion, and was asked to sign a waiver allowing the Nurse to redefine her condition as not only extremely contagious, but also a danger to civilisation justifying forced euthaniasia for the carrier. Mrs Lampost would not so much hop out of casualty as zoom towards the horizon like a turbo-charged jackrabbit.
What about our children, and the way we all entrust them to the teaching profession: at the Open Day for new parents, the Headmaster addresses his audience and tells those with high hopes for the fruit of the loins that their sons and daughters are not here to be taught the three R’s and social manners, but rather to be buggered stupid by the Art Master, forced to masturbate the Priest in charge of divinity, and taught that cross-dressing as the appetiser for trans-genderism is to be celebrated.
My point here is not to denigrate changes of either clothes or gender, but simply to repeat the rhetorical question: is anyone willing to suggest that the school will be overwhelmed by eager parents fighting tooth and nail in September for their kids to be admitted?
I do not remember once, in my former profession of advertising, ever opening a new business presentation by saying that half the art directors in the creative department were taking mind-altering drugs. Nor do I recall screening for prospective clients our showreel of ads…but saying that of course the past was no guide to the future and if we went out of business after giving their money to the media contractors, then good luck but don’t hold your breath waiting for the money back.
What I do remember vividly, however, is working for financial clients like NatWest, Access credit cards, Barclaycard, Barclays Bank (twice), HBOS, Mercantile Credit and Abbey Life Assurance. However, my mind is a blank when it comes to any of them ever asking me to make it clear to potential customers that they were in fact creditors in grave danger of losing their shirts.
I suspect that, by now, most intelligent Sloggers will have clocked the hypocrisy of all this up is down and black is white surrealism. But if I may – irony of ironies – I would like to close by drawing a parallel to the profession of politics….for do they not all tell us that these days they are veritable professionals?
The Brits face a General Election in just 19 days from now. Call me wacky, but on the basis of banks redefining me as the creditor formerly known as the customer, can somebody please give me an example of the campaign to date in which any politician has redefined us as no longer electors, but merely subjects?
We are subject to the vagaries of five Parties, none of whom has a cat in Hell’s chance of winning power on their own. We are subject to the irritability denied by all five of them (including UKip) going on in the bowels of the EU at the moment. We are subject to the whims of central bankers and Wall Street. And we are subjected on a daily basis to media drivel about what’s really going on.
Face it: we are citizens no more. We are more subjected to unelected power than we were under the tutelage of Charles I….or if you’re reading this in the US, than you were under the reign of George III….or if you’re reading this in Greece, than you were under the merciless rule of the Ottomans.