Mad for money? Of course we are!

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The reason I got it was that in the view of the PR people I had done more to promote this particular use of apples (as far as I’m concerned, it is the only sensible use) than anyone else. Herself said at the time that, given that this was likely to be my only claim to fame unless I broke the Island bass record from the back wall of St Catherine’s Breakwater, she would ensure that reference was made to it on my gravestone.

The contents of the bottle are long gone, as are the contents of many others, but those who, like me, believe that part of our existence is to enjoy life’s little pleasures – few and far between as they are for many of us – can rest assured that they were shared with many who really appreciate those little pleasures. However, there is another matter over which I can lay a small but nonetheless legitimate claim, although it gives me precious little pleasure to do so. And that is to having coined the phrase ‘speed and greed’.

I was reminded of it only because I saw the quite extraordinary assertion from the Dean, the Very Rev Bob Key, that ‘unpleasant selfish human greed’ is not a feature of Jersey’s finance industry (and, by inference, the City of London’s also), but is a phenomenon peculiar only to our cousins across the Atlantic.

I have no wish to upset the Island’s principal cleric, but that statement is 24 carat, 100 per cent utter codswallop, and if that is an example of how much he is in touch with what ordinary crapauds like me think, then might I suggest he gets out and about a little more. Furthermore, and leaving aside the Church of England’s infamous reputation for property speculation and, if what has been written recently is to be believed, investment in the sort of hedge funds which by various means drive down the price of shares which can be sold high and then bought back low, Mr Key is either naive or silly if he believes that American bankers have the monopoly.

The City of London seems to exist on it, and given the links between UK financial institutions and those who have found a home here (and in the other Crown Dependencies), it is a fact of life that it exists here also. But perhaps, in fairness to Mr Key, he and I are talking about different things here, so it’s best if I explain where I’m coming from in my definition of greed. I define greed in a number of ways, but principally there are two sorts.

The first is the practice – and that novel expression ‘sub-prime mortgages’ explains it – of lending money (but it can also be selling any other commodity) without the vendor or his agents giving a damn about whether the customer can afford it or, indeed, is responsible enough to be a customer. Invariably, as I understand it, the results are rewarded by bonuses, sometimes at levels described as obscene. It is a similar practice to that of those institutions which finance hire purchase agreements – the car salesman and/or his boss gets a percentage of the interest paid by the purchaser.

And then there is the greed of those businesses whose policy – sometimes declared, but only to the favoured few – is to encourage managers and executives to squeeze those of their employees (invariably the majority) at the bottom of the wage heap until the pips come out and then reward them handsomely for doing so.

As I said earlier, if Mr Key is either naive or silly enough to believe that none of this goes on in the Jersey he clearly believes he lives in, then perhaps he should vary the route between his home in David Place and two of his places of work near the Royal Square. As Alf Garnett used to say, if he did so he might learn something.

Walking down New Street instead of David Place and Bath Street might help. Then he would be able to pop in to the Transport Union office and ask the chief shop steward if he’s come across anything to suggest that my version of Sunny Jersey is closer to the reality of the situation than is his.

AND finally …. Was anyone seriously surprised that the number of candidates in the current election for Senators failed by only two to outnumber the number of young voters at the special hustings meeting held specifically for them and paid for to the tune of £250 by the candidates (although why there was any charge involved is a real puzzle to me)?

I certainly wasn’t surprised, just as I have never been surprised when the public money spent (wasted, in the view of many people) on trying to encourage people to stick their names on the electoral roll fails miserably to produce any sort of return on investment.

The attendance at Hautlieu School the other day was not only a disgrace, but also an insult to Daniel Wimberley (his late father, a former Director of Education, must be spinning), whose idea the meeting was, as well as a much bigger insult to the States Members who supported giving these uninterested brats the vote. I applaud those who attended and took an interest, just as I applaud 21-year-old Jeremy Macon for his public spiritedness in standing. Sadly, the majority of their peers have let them down.

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