Brass Neck from those who have us by the balls


What I suppose American and Aussie Sloggers would call brass balls, over here we call brass neck – or, more informally, “A f**king nerve”. Tonight’s episode of How they’re screwing us over And they don’t Care if we know It takes a selection of news that arrived here in Slogger’s Roost during the day – via email, phone, the MSM, websites, one fairly eminent blogger, and three Sloggers.

First up I think has to be the piece in today’s Daily Telegraph, recording the fact that apparently, Sir Nigel Rudd, a former director of Barclays, has accused the Treasury Select Committee (TSC) of attacking the integrity of Bob Diamond, the bank’s former chief executive. Well now, you see the thing with Robert E. Diamond’s integrity is that it is damned difficult to attack, on the grounds that it is sub-atomic in size, and thus invisible to everything bigger than a God particle.

Diamond Bob is a man of whom it has been said many times, and very frequently indeed by the judiciary and umpteen committees on both sides of the Pond. During the Lehman takeover post mortem, a senior New York Judge referred to him as “an evasive, untrustworthy man who needs a tight leash at all times”. In a similar vein, a 121-page report into the scandal that saw Barclays fined a record £290m earlier this year said Mr Diamond’s evidence to Parliament “lacked candour” and was “unforthcoming”. MPs also decided the former Barclays boss had been “highly selective” with his evidence and described his version of events as “inconceivable”.

So we can see that Bob is a widely misunderstood man. In front of the TSC, for example, Robert the Spruce asked us all to believe that he had given an instruction to his Number Two, and this apparatchik had misunderstood him misspeakingly saying, “Drop down the Libor rate more than we’re doing already”. Bob says he told his chum  “Go down on the Limorator” or something, and you know what? For three whole years afterwards – seeing each other 300+ days a year – they never discussed it again. Incredible.

Anyway, Sir Nigel says the committee “did not provide sufficient evidence to support its suggestion that Diamond misled parliament in his testimony about the Libor scandal”. From my vantage point, I have to say that Wee Bobby provided sufficient evidence of blatant wriggliness to warrant  having his collar felt by the London Serious Fraud Office two minutes after he left the safety of Parliament, but what do I know? Only that, I suspect, ‘Sir’ Nigel Rudd is a man with whom close contact might require the enumeration of hand digits afterwards.

This next one comes from a Slogger, and isn’t the first time this exact episode has been relayed to me. His testimony runs like this: (my italics)

‘The other day I had a statement from a UK bank which seemed long overdue. Actually , it documented the closing of the account, dormant for some years and the transfer of a few hundred pounds to another branch of the same bank. The envelope was overstamped in large letters, and I quote: “Do not surcharge: correct postage raised by revenue protection: treat as first class”‘.

What this means is that the HMRC (those fine men who make the IRS look like the Salvation Army) had opened the letter just to check that this man wasn’t stealing anything from them. As in, stealing something that was never theirs  in the first place, but which can be demanded from said individual in order to correct mistakes as committed by the likes of much-misunderstood investment bankers such as Diamond Bob, and cerebrally challenged politicians who sprayed these idiots wiht our money….and then wondered why they’d run out of the stuff. As a result of this, they now need to collect more off us than before, and give us less – in some cases 100% less – in the way of services supplied. By them. To us. For whom they work. So they say.

But what about ‘revenue protection‘ eh – doncha love it? “These 464 cameras are here purely for your protection”. On and on the stream of bollocks runs, spewing from an over-active, infinite eruption of mendacious incompetence.

This year, of course, the Olympic Torch of bollocks has gone back to its homeland (newly claimed by Recep Erdogan of Turkey), the Hellenic Republic of Greece. Der Spiegel reported yesterday that the Greeks will need to cut an additional €2.5 billion in spending over the next two years to meet demands made by the dreaded Troika, the trio of Brass Bollocks who earlier this year forced Athens to sign up to a deal that (as predicted here) could only make the country’s sovereign debt deeper.

Citing an interim report by the troika of European Commission, European Central Bank and International Monetary Fund, Der Spiegel said Greece would need €14 billion over the next two years to get its deficit below 3% by the end of 2014, up from a previously expected 11.5 billion. Prime Minister Antonis Samaras will meet the leaders of both France and Germany this coming weel, rounding off his whistle-stop tour by enjoying a cosy session with Angela Merkel in Berlin on Friday.

I suppose he could always casually remind both her and Francois Hollande that, had it not been for a €150bn arms order for Franco-German arms (that she and Hollande’s sleazy predecessor Nicolas Sarkozy refused to cancel) Greece would still be solvent. But then that would be ill-mannered, would it not?

But one thing even the EU’s Brussels Necks will find hard to wriggle out of is this: there is  a clause in Greece’s €130bn bailout deal that says the deficit adjustment period could be extended if its recession is deeper than expected. Given that the recession is a good 30% deeper than the IMF’s forecast, Samaras reall has nothing to negotiate about: he has the brass necks by the balls. But like almost everyone in the Greek elite, the Prime Minister would rather do anything than stem the flow of gravy heading south from Berlin.

It promises to be a lively week.