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Here's a way to ease the credit crunch, although not one recommended by any of those useless financial experts you see every evening on your television news: steal from the banks. Fill your boots.
After all, quite apart from those penalties charged on your overdraft and their profitable chicanery when dealing with cheques, they're also taking your money in tax as a direct consequence of their greed and incompetence. So fair's fair.
Apparently some hole-in-the-wall cash machines have recently been paying out double the amount of money requested of them and people are queuing up to rip the banks off. There was one rogue ATM in Manchester on Friday - and the looks of utter jubilation and vengeance on the faces of the customers in the queue was a real pleasure to behold. The queue had a sort of carnival, holiday, atmosphere, people dancing around and texting their friends.
It may well be that these are sentient ATMs, cash machines with a conscience, which have decided unilaterally that the banks have gone too far and it is time for redress. Technically, of course, it is theft, taking advantage of an ATM which has gone doolally and is spraying out tenners right left and centre.
However, this is an increasingly difficult argument to advance on moral terms, if you are a banker. Especially if you are a banker who has presided over a catastrophic lurch towards bankruptcy, been bailed out with billions of pounds of taxpayers money but are still perfectly happy to trouser a million quid salary plus bonuses for having been stupid, or greedy, or most likely both.
Insisting that customers pay back the extra £30 they got from the ATM because to do otherwise would be immoral, and keeping a straight face all the while, must be a difficult trick to pull off. Not least if you are a senior employee of the Royal Bank of Scotland, whose chief executive receives a salary of £1.2m a year and owns most of the home counties, and whose bank has received £20 billion from you and me in the past year.
That's about £330 for every man, woman and child in Britain, if my free online calculator is working properly. Are you happy that this is money well spent, or would you rather put it towards a holiday?
When you hear that the bankers are still receiving enormous salaries, despite being about as much use as Anne Frank's drum kit, and while still refusing to advance credit to small businesses in the blitz spirit of togetherness which the government, naively, expected - does your moral compass suddenly start behaving in an unexpected manner? Does it start pointing due south, instead?
Just imagine - in the week that your income tax returns are due, an ATM - possessed by the spirit of Robin Hood or Rosa Luxemburg - gives you 60 quid instead of the 30 you asked for. What are you going to do?
We behave with honesty largely for reasons of reciprocity. The most unjust societies are generally the most corrupt, where individuals cheat and extort because it is the norm.
It may well be that in the affluent, democratic and meritocratic West the sense of justice and fairness is at least partly illusory, a clever sleight of hand.
But right now, with the extravagant rescue of the banks, and with those enormous salaries still being paid out, and with the banks utterly devoid of contrition, even that clever illusion has been shattered.
In the past few months incidences of burglary and robbery seem to have increased sharply - by some 98%, for example, in the county of Lincolnshire, and by more than double elsewhere.
Undoubtedly this is largely the consequence of people being skint, but it may also be a consequence of people not buying into this notion of fairness any more. The banks get away with it - why shouldn't we?
Don't let's be beastly to the gypsies
A council plans to spend £500,000 to erect a large steel noise barrier around a gypsy site in Cambridgeshire. Most local residents think that's a bit steep. A minority say this is a good use of their money - but only if the barrier is electrified.
It will be built at the request of the travellers, who complain that motorists on the adjoining dual carriageway are forever shouting things. A local councillor said: "They can't always distinguish what is being said but they know that it's negative." How do they know that, if they can't hear the words? The passing drivers may well be bellowing, "Good luck to you wonderful people, with your carefree, peripatetic lifestyles and reputation for honesty and cleanliness!"
The travellers also don't like the noise of the cars. Why then do they not invoke their traditional right to clear off?
The George and Amy Show
Lovely to see that old trouper Boy George back in the news - sentenced to 15 months for having manacled and whipped a rent boy while out of his mind. That's what George means by a "quiet night in" I suppose. Meanwhile the "new, sober" Amy Winehouse was photographed crawling on her hands and knees begging drinks from tourists in the Caribbean. Amy is apparently "seeing" a "clean-cut rugby player" which would drive even the best of us to the bottle. A lesson to us all: don't put your daughter on the stage, Mrs Worthington. I think we should build a theme park for our celebs where they can manacle and whip one another, pausing only to vomit or snort vast mountains of cocaine, for the benefit of a curious public.
+ Great news for London - the Evening Standard, like most other things in the capital, will soon be owned by a former member of the Russian KGB. The loss-making newspaper is to be sold to Alexander Lebedev for £1 - you don't haggle with the KGB, you see. Try to push up the price and sooner or later you'll find yourself glowing like a Belisha beacon and your hair falling out in large clumps.
It may seem unusual for former operatives of a somewhat sinister and hostile security organisation to buy up our newspapers, but many people have assumed that for years the Daily Mail has been owned by Haiti's vigorous secret police, the Ton Ton Macoute. And it is well known that The Guardian is managed by an edgy Sinn Fein-Hamas coalition.
There will be changes at the Standard, of course - the fashion pages will soon feature women with grim expressions in white stilettos, tons of gold jewellery, dyed auburn hair and ominous tattoos. The front page each day will be devoted to an exaggerated report of pig iron production - and restaurant critic Fay Maschler had better develop a liking for borscht pretty quickly. They lost the cold war and won, it would seem, the world.
+ Let's salute the brave stand taken by Ron Heather, a devout Christian bus driver who is refusing to drive any bus which carries that patronising (and equivocal) atheistic advert: "There is probably no God . . ." It is Ron's human right to drive only those nice buses which rejoice in the blood of Christ.
It is probably also his human right not to pick up atheists, Satanists, etc if he doesn't want to, and not to drive past that new mosque on the high street. Maybe if his bosses immersed the bus in a pond and told him it was born again (thank you Jesus) he'd be happy to drive it; who knows?
But then the Sikh conductor would probably object. How shall we keep everyone happy?
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