Saturday, 28 January 2012

Bankers, Boyle and a Big Old Bell

So the (increasingly tedious) debate over Stephen Hester's bonus as head of Royal Bank of Scotland continues.
Newspapers, politicians and talk-radio stations grind over the rights and wrongs of giving a very rich man even more money.
Had he done enough to deserve it? Maybe he could give it to a charity for the impoverished wives of the chiefs of semi-nationalised banks? Maybe it was all Gordon Brown's fault?
But the handwringing and hubbub is surely of little relevance to ordinary "taxpayers," that increasingly select crowd of people still in work.
We are more than used to hearing about the stupendous riches of the elite, as we stare into the chasms of our overdrafts. A few bob in shaky RBS shares to an overweight banker is surely a drop in the ocean?
And I found it interesting that on the day this subject blew out of proportion, Olympics chiefs issued their latest slice of PR.
It offered scintillating details of the £27million opening ceremony. Newspapers breathlessly reported the themes of the enormous "Isles of Wonder" Shakespearean showdown.
Although the country could buy 27 Stephen Hesters with the cost of the ceremony's thrilling "tribute to the NHS" and other extravagances, few articles questioned this frivolous expenditure. We could pay the nurses a nice little bonus of their own with that amount of dosh.
But perhaps the country is just bored with the "cost of the Olympics" debate.
It does seem now that the country is more at ease spending tens of millions on "Europe's largest bell" and some BMX-influenced dance sequences than one million on a banker.
While I am delighted that Danny "Trainspotting" Boyle will be directing events, the whole exercise does feel like a mass brainwashing experiment that is finally reaping results.
The only thing we ask now is: Just how far will Boyle go to make sure the opening ceremony (attended by a great number of non-paying bankers and corporate folk)  goes to plan?
Will we see a scandal as in Beijing, where a pretty child lip-synched to another child's superior voice?
Perhaps the nurses will be too busy selflessly ensuring the "dignity" of elderly patients to attend? Some attractive models in nurses uniforms may have to be shipped in to fill the gaps.
As I sit watching, I know I'll be waiting for Ewan McGregor to be fired from a canon across the stadium to land in a filthy toilet pan at the feet of Kelly Holmes.

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