At the End of the Day

Being a short treatise on mediocrity – whence it came and how it happens

“The flexibility that I mentioned applies to the commitments undertaken by the parties regarding what will contribute to the goal of the effort,” said mathematical genius and tanning salon addict Christine Lagarde on the subject of Greek debt yesterday. But, she added, there was a catch:

“However, where the commitments are overtaken by what the last person said to me, the effort required to score the goal could well become indirectly correlated with the flexibility application of the contribution, all other things being potentially unequal.”

She didn’t actually say the second part – as Alistair Campbell would say with an engaging grin, “I made it up”. But she might just as well have. As time goes on and she opens her mouth more frequently, underestimating Lagarde is becoming an impossible job. I pretty much gave up looking for any scintilla of talent after she’d been French finance minister for a few months.

Whereas Greenspan & Bernanke (Party arrangers to Wall Street royalty, Bahmitzvahs a speciality) are like Gordon Brown – in that they’re bright, but couldn’t explain handkerchiefs to a snotty five year-old – Christine is just plain stupid. She’s a lawyer of course, but what the IMF needed was someone who could calculate more than fees, and then treble the number she first thought of. Nevertheless, like all people whose deep waters are a piddle-puddle, Lagarde is cunning: she knows that the average hack is even more superficial than her. She has acquired the gift of ventriloquy necessary when addressing the media: she talks straight out of her ass, but her facial lips move in perfect sync. It’s a miraculous thing to observe.

“The financial industry is a service industry,” she observed on getting the IMF job, “It should serve others before it serves itself.” That’s an interesting observation marred only by the fact that it applies to every service business in the world. There’s a small clue in the name.

Forbes reckons she’s the 7th most powerful woman in the world, which confirms my doubts about the lack of real progress the women’s movement has made over the last fifty years. Her position would have been filled by a guy who knew what he was doing – Dominique Strauss-Kahn – but he was too Socialist and European for the Wall Street mafia, so they framed him for the sexual assault of a hotel maid whom Quasimodo would’ve turned down. I know that sounds gratuitous, and I wouldn’t normally stoop to such stuff, but she really was a piece of work: early on, the lady was revealed to have a history of blackmail and forged papers….and once Pristine Lowgrade had been confirmed in the IMF job with indecent haste, DSK’s accuser quietly disappeared, and the case against him was dropped. (But not before he had been perp-walked by the NYPD, and found guilty by the entire liberal Western media pack).

Determined not to miss out on the chance to damn the Left’s best Presidential candidate in years, the Sarkozy tendency then fitted him up on a ridiculous charge of being a ponce. This too fell apart in disarray, but Strauss-Kahn is now damaged goods. There’s a sort of rough justice to it all (he is a cast-iron sex nuisance with a long history of hushed-up attacks) but that wasn’t among the motives of Geithner and his pals when they did for him.

As for France, it wound up with Francois Hollande – the only leader in French history who never fell from grace: he started out as a zero, and stayed firmly in that position. He couldn’t even have a mistress without seeming gauche about it; for a Frenchman, that is rock bottom. Had DSK gone on to head the financial executive of the EC, they may well have had to call it Eurogrope. Instead, it is run by Jeroen René Victor Anton Dijsselbloem, the unfortunate result of a brave Dutch attempt to mate Gouda cheese with a suburban hairdresser.

The DSK saga consumed my life for some five months, and during that time I learned a lot about how the US carefully groomed Christine Lagarde – they were touting her to the South American IMF members four months before the hotel maid fit-up – and the lengths to which the tiny, sociopathic minority that now runs the country will go in order to preserve their tight grip on things. Faced with irresistible pressure to have a non-American in the IMF role, the US financial movers quickly alighted on Lagarde, a lawyer who’d been working in the States on and off for years, and was inexplicably in the finance job under Sarkozy. Why she had that job is also part of a longer story, but that’s a book and this is a blogpost.

I also experienced, at first hand (and we’re getting close at last to the point of what I’m on about) the undiluted venom thrown at anyone by the ‘liberal’ Left who contradicts their version of pre-established guilt. The Right does it too, but the Right who buried Dominique Strauss-Kahn did it in the same facon as the Mob: “Diss is nutten poissonul, it’s strictly business”. For the Left, it’s the ‘principle’ of adherence to its all-conquering belief system.

For them (soft, hard or just fluffy) staying on message and in line on all issues is the key thing: Solidarnasc and all that. Except that deconstructing the fascism of it all with parody is like aiming a bazooka at the old barn. “Our principle is to stick our principles even when doing so is unprincipled. It’s a question of not questioning. You wouldn’t understand ‘cos you’re a fucking Nazi.”

I joined (mercifully briefly) the esteemed ranks of those like the inimitable Anna Raccoon who question some of the facts surrounding the undeservedly unassailable people (and things) among us. I got hate mail and lost two female friends – one of whom asked me with insouciant sincerity, “How can you defend a sex-pest?” Imagine the 30-second foxtrot from that bizarre question to a totalitarian State. On second thoughts, you don’t need any imagination: just think ‘non-violent extremist’.

But this is the real point: the outcome of this small (but typical) example of brainless American interfering in the affairs of others was mediocrity in three important posts: head of the IMF, the occupancy of the Elyssee Palace, and the Chairmanship of the Eurogroupe.

It is what happens when ruthless subterfuge is able to appeal to what Lenin called “useful idiots”.

Only by stepping out of the stockade and talking to the tribe over the hill can we gain a balanced view. I’m appalled at the degree to which even the most fair-minded journalists I admire, for example, have fallen headlong over bottom for the NATO myth about what’s happening in Ukraine and Hungary, Iraq, Syria and a hundred other places around the world where US meddling has left the seeds of hatred gaily sprinkled over the rich soil of mutual distrust. Equally, the dismally obvious propaganda of Peace flotillas and Israeli ‘war crimes’ must never be questioned: for down that road lies a place among the folks who “really” run the world: the dreaded Elders of Zion. Unlike the Spanish Inquisition, everyone expects the Elders of Zion.

The blogosphere is choc-a-bloc with threaders who know who or what “really” runs the world: the Masons, the paedophiles, Coca-Cola, the Zionists, the Bilderbergers, McDonalds Hamburgers, Rothschild Bank, all the banks, Rupert Murdoch, Dandelion & Burdock, Carter Ruck, the CIA, Goldman Sachs, Jehovah’s Witnesses, Anheuser Busch, the Pentagon, the Salvation Army, the BBC, BB King, The Glaser Family, the FBI….and of course, the infinitely pernicious Marylebone Cricket Club.

I suppose my feeling about those “hidden forces at work” is that, first and foremost, if they’re supposed to be running the world, they are sure as Hell making a complete balls of it. And second, if you round up all those who work for and/or consume the products of these organisations and/or know people who do, you’ll probably end up with a huge percentage of the global population in your corral.

Even that is not as flippant as it sounds. It is part of the human condition that we must have someone to blame. Crop’s failed again – chuck a few Jews down the well. Britain’s overcrowded – kick out the Muslims. Population’s out of control – burn the Catholics. The political system is being hijacked – imprison Hank Paulson, Lloyd Blankfein, Jamie Dimon, Jeremy Hunt, Michael Fallon and Mario Draghi. OK, sometimes there is a case for victimisation, but to keep your emotions under safe control, always remember this: those who don’t resist are merely the catalysts for those who refuse to desist.

We are all to blame in varying degrees.

Somehow today, to declare Putin Not Guilty is the same as defending DSK a few years back: any jerk can defend a saint. Pointing out that an arsehole has been framed is an equally laudable aim, as is the justified accusation of saints – if only because such things stop the obstruction of equal opportunity and the perversion of justice.

It’s just a lot less popular than directing the traffic to the stoning – prior to the pre-trial hearing.

None of which, I must stress, is why I live alone here in a secluded part of France.

Divorced, and in unwelcome solitude. Aged 67 – with only a small fraction of my money left. Bashing away on a keyboard in between recycling fruit as alcohol and growing a ponytail. Slaving over a vegetable patch. Shopping in Lidl.

No, that outcome has absolutely nothing whatever to do with the irresistible attraction of my pugnaciously eccentric view of what’s important, and a personality to match.

But on the other hand, if any of you have a spare million here and there, you can send donations to The Assange-Netanyahou Foundation for Distressed Gentlefolk, 27a Meryl Street, Cayman Islands, marked “Slog Chateau Restoration Appeal”.

Goodnight and, wherever you are, sleep well, get out of bed, avoid the burst mains in Elland, cancel lunch at the Ivy – and remember the profundity of this Lagarde classic:

“I’m very much a believer that it’s action that matters much more so than, you know, the flurry of political promises and statements and slogans that are used during political campaigns.”

My God, but that’s a brave thing to say. Especially from somebody who’s never needed votes. That Chrissie, she’s sedition on a rope, and no mistake. They tried to bury her under an avalanche, but she’s a game girl: got up and finished fourth.  

Yesterday at The Slog: The War between Yesterday and Tomorrow.