It is, of course, well known that bankers are unpopular with very many people. This is based on their misdeeds over much of the last decade – misdeeds which I suspect continue little hindered by contrition or conscience – where they gambled with enormous sums of other people’s money and (largely) lost. I think the fact that many were paid huge bonuses to lose their employers vast sums of money (as it rather soon transpired) which may be more galling to the general public. Away from banking (and a few other privileged sectors of the economy), large bonuses are not forthcoming however much of your employer’s money you try (or even manage) to lose (unless one considers a P45 a bonus).
Still, I am not here to convince you to transfer your money from the bank to your mattress – particularly if you happen to be a princess: that way lies chronic insomnia. Though, having said that, if one were to place one’s trust in the Slumberland Savings Bank then you could only ever lose the money entrusted to their care – whether that loss be as a result of fire, theft or third party (the third party does seem to be so much more dangerous than the second or fourth – if only there were some way to bypass it altogether). This contrasts with the financial services sector which, by the miracle of derivatives trading, can lose many times the amount of money which would otherwise languish beneath one’s sleeping form. So, perhaps my mattress idea is not quite as foolish as it might have first appeared – and the beleaguered Spanish economy could well benefit from wealthy old lags retiring to enjoy its coastal sunshine.
Which, circuitous route, brings me to my actual point. Whilst it is well known that much of humanity despises bankers, I begin to think this might have spread to the super-natural realm. I fear Mother Nature (Gaia, if you will) or perhaps All Mighty Zeus has been offended by their antics and is (quite literally) raining down ineffective retribution upon them.
In recent years, it has become widely believed that bad weather inevitably accompanies a bank holiday – those official days off which the State so generously grants to some of us. I will leave it as an exercise to the reader to check whether this is actually the case, or merely the result of biased human perception and memory. Today, I found myself wondering whether this was also the case in the days when such holidays were still more closely linked to a formal religious occasion.
As the day began, I left Scotland – where it was (and still is) a normal working day – and the sun beamed down on my upturned apple cheeks. However, as I headed south through the country I entered England – where today is a bank holiday – and the sun vanished to be replaced by continuous rain. The evidence of the previous couple of weeks suggests that Scotland does not generally have such a favoured-nation status with those numinous forces which control our weather – so I conclude that there was something special about today. I may be seeing causation where only correlation exists, but I posit that the supernatural world has sent rain to England to dampen the spirits of bankers on their day-off. Sadly, this no doubt well-intentioned attempt to deliver a little divine retribution has generated rather a lot of collateral damage to the plans and happiness of the majority (non-banker) population of England (ironically, much like the banking crisis itself). Is it wrong to yearn for those ancient days when angry gods were much more focused in their choice of delivery mechanism, viz the thunderbolt? Is it time to rename our State holidays after some less offensive profession? Nurse or Fireman holidays, perhaps? Just an idea, but surely worth a try…