Thursday, January 29, 2009

Whistle a Happy Tune

Another (ho hum) attack on the media, especially the BBC (but not The Times) from our man on Tuesday. It's all affable enough, as Dave lets us in on his extended family and his reactions to Spurs' matches.

But DA is rather too fond of using 'we' (in the collective rather than the royal sense).

So we might also believe that we too have danced, holidayed and texted on our iPhones along the capacious path to Hell. ...

One problem with this is that, excepting icons of overpayment such as Sir Fred Goodwin and Jonathan Ross, we haven't actually been orgiastically greedy, or particularly personally profligate. At least, I haven't. My money's gone on a mortgage on a house I love, on theatre tickets and on books, not on wenching or roistering. As Anatole Kaletsky has often told us, the large rise in debt in the last two decades has been overwhelmingly due to the operations of the financial sector, and not down to ordinary people or businesses. Most of us have just tried to live a little better, helped by many of things that we like, such as computers and mobile phones, being far cheaper than ten years ago.

But we won't have it. Things may be bad, but we won't be satisfied until they're worse.

"[We] have just tried to live a little better" but we also enjoy moral self-flagellation.

Not until United had replied with two quick goals could I regain my equilibrium. The chance of success was far worse than the certainty of failure. In the same way we seem to be easier with the idea that, however bad things are, they must in fact be worse.

Our man seems dangerously close to attributing his own emotional masochism to Times readers at large. But his real target is the BBC and the librul media.

Robert Peston on the BBC opined that perhaps they [Barclays presumably, though I can't find where he said this] had "protested too much". Any optimism is impermissible ...

So despite the Eeyore-ish tendencies of the British public, they still need the BBC thought-control machine to keep cheerfulness levels down. (OK, I concede that it's possible that "Any optimism is impermissible" refers to the zeitgeist or something, but if so, what is the line about Peston doing in there?)

I think DA is trying for a big argument: he actually has a sort of vision of a good society. However, I don't think he's convinced that the British public are really worthy of it. He doesn't make enough effort at actually arguing his case; Barclays shares rising on one day after a long fall shows nothing; you might as well peruse the entrails of chickens. The thing about Peston is - yet again - that Peston actually reports stuff. And this is Peston writing on the 23rd of this month The long and short of banks:

The short-sellers are the convenient whipping boys, not the prime malefactors (if you think it's a crime that the share prices have fallen, which is moot).

As of now, no irredeemable damage appears to have been done. And although it may jar to say so, shares can rise as well as fall - even bank shares.

The difference is that Peston said it before Barclays share price rose.


Anonymous Anonymous said...

" dangerously close to attributing his own emotional masochism to Times readers at large"

Surely "Tottenham fans at large"? And I'm with him on that, being one myself.

DA has just added another page to book of "Empty Hedonist Materialism is when other people spend money." This (though not a lot else) is nailed superbly in _Rebel Sell_.

Chris Williams

1/29/2009 12:13:00 PM  
Blogger Mr Kitty said...

Peston/BBC as the scapegoat for the crisis is pretty repugnant
and not dissimilar to the government using David Kelly re Iraq with their "shoot the messenger" tactics.

1/29/2009 01:08:00 PM  
Blogger ejh said...

So how long's Aaro been a Tottenham fan?

1/29/2009 01:39:00 PM  
Blogger Chardonnay Chap said...

That's a great article, Mr Kitty. I liked "It so far attracted signatures from four other MPs." Only 633 to go then, eh?

And "the fragile psychology of the City" is a phrase I wouldn't have missed for, ooh, quite a lot.

The thing about that piece is that I'm not exactly clear what Dave's saying. I *think* he's blaming Peston - he notes, after all, that a leader writer for his own paper felt compelled to state that "not all those assets [owned by British banks] are worthless". Against this is the pessimism of Peston.

If Dave objects to the maxim, "No news is good news" he should perhaps write for a less serious paper. Some of us feel we need to know about the bad stuff, so we can avoid it.

1/29/2009 06:00:00 PM  
Anonymous Anonymous said...

So how long's Aaro been a Tottenham fan?

Well, ever since he couldn't get his usual seat at The Arsenal.

1/30/2009 07:06:00 AM  
Blogger Matthew said...

"So how long's Aaro been a Tottenham fan?"

Although it would be nice to say 'since fellow fan Stephen Pollard was made editor of the JC', it'd be totally untrue, as I remember him writing about it in the 1990s.

1/30/2009 03:17:00 PM  
Blogger ejh said...

So he'd know what "The Shelf" was?

1/30/2009 04:04:00 PM  

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