Newspaper article The Evening Standard (London, England)

Ignore the Screams of Rage, Cable's Spot on over Spivvery

Newspaper article The Evening Standard (London, England)

Ignore the Screams of Rage, Cable's Spot on over Spivvery

Article excerpt

Byline: Chris Blackhurst City Editor

SO, I'm sitting in a restaurant surrounded by City types, and one decides to have a got at me for defending Vince Cable. Words like "disgrace", "Marxist", "Trot", even "unpatriotic" spew from his lips.

It's hard to tell if I'm all those things or the Business Secretary. Judging by his enraged demeanour, it's safe to assume he's lumping us both together. I don't care. I don't think I've read such complete rubbish as the bile that been directed against Cable in some quarters this past week. For God's sake, he did not attack the entire capitalist system but merely pointed out that some bits of it were faulty.

Neither did he condemn all takeovers; he said that shareholders should have greater powers, and that such monumental decisions ought to be taken with an eye on long-term not short-term gain. Cable did say that a small group of investment banks, auditors and law firms have a stranglehold. Which they do. Oh, and he did attack the City "spivs and gamblers" who crippled the British economy.

He did not say that everyone who worked in the Square Mile was dodgy. He singled out those who led their banks on a path of taking huge positions in securities based on loans to low income earners in the US. Excuse me, have I missed something here? If that's not spivvery and gambling, what is? These were banks where the people at the top were unable to assess the consequences of what their subordinates were doing. Those traders were allowed to behave recklessly, to the extent the banks' very stability was undermined. In the end, the banks had to go cap in hand to the taxpayer to be bailed out. And they're not spivs and gamblers? You have to wonder whether any of Cable's critics have ever been on a dealing floor, visited a City bar and heard the chat, or read Michael Lewis's Liar's Poker (still the best book on the investment banking culture, and don't think that despite Lewis's work being over 20 years old, it has altered -- it has not). …

Search by... Author
Show... All Results Primary Sources Peer-reviewed

Oops!

An unknown error has occurred. Please click the button below to reload the page. If the problem persists, please try again in a little while.