Jobs for the poor

October 8, 2008 at 11:57 am | Posted in British Politics | Leave a comment

Justin suggests we handle broke banks the same way we handle the horrible, leeching unemployed:

Hand the banks’ finances over to undertrained and demotivated staff in a government call centre. Make sure the system is as half-arsed as possible. Delay the payments to the banks for a day or two. When they phone up panicky and asking what’s happened to their much needed money treat them off-handedly. Make sure they know their place. If they can be reduced to tears so much the better. Stoke the crushing uncertainty of it all. Promise to phone back when you have more information but don’t. Send them a payment but make it smaller than promised. Make two payments just to unsettle them further. Insist they can keep the money and then write to them a week later demanding it back. Do it just before Christmas.

If after 18 months this situation isn’t sorted the banks should be handed over to a private sector agency charged with getting the banks working again by all means necessary. They will be paid by results and will receive their money when the banks are working again – whether the agency had a direct hand in helping or not. Again, make sure the staff are undertrained, bored and lacking in any empathy whatsoever. Leave it hanging over the bankers that they could lose their money at any minute.

Yesterday, at the exact same time the markets were tanking and Alistair Darling was engulfed in yet another round of ‘holy shit, what do we do now?’, I was sat in a Job Centre being asked by someone, with a completely straight face, if I was aware that I could earn more money in a full-time job than I could from claiming Job Seeker’s Allowance. If only we’d done something similar during that meeting at the Treasury; have each chief executive interviewed by some disinterested form-filler who’d ask a routine set of embarrassing & patronising questions, like:

“Now then, Sir Clive, are you aware that you would’ve had slightly more money if you hadn’t bought bundles of other people’s slowly-rotting debt.”

You would’ve had to televise it, of course, just to give the rest of the country a cheap laugh.

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