8 May 2010
City commentators, the market makers of those who earn their cash in the casino economy, are torn during these days of high-level political negotiations. At no other time can the illusion of our democracy have been clearer. We will not be allowed to have a government of which the markets do not approve.
But which government should the market men go for? At first blush, you might think they would favour the fiscal probity and pro-City inclination of the Conservatives. The top line of their rhetoric is usually about the need for stability and a strong pound. This is the cover story, for in reality the city can make far more money from turbulent times. In the words of a friend whose main target is political corruption: 'The disgusting sight of the bond markets opening during the night to speculate at our expense demonstrates starkly what we are up against: the return of the casino economy backed by a neoliberal coalition government.'
The traders who speculated against Greek bonds until they - and the country they represened - was destroyed, were able to profit vastly from this sport. As they gradually reduced the 'credit rating' with one hand, with the other they were able to extract higher interest-rate payments for holding those bonds. The working people of Greece must pay that interest - and suffer the disastrous social consequences of the battle over the corpse of their country's economy.
In the UK, even greater profits can be made, since speculation can be against both the glinting gilts of the Treasury bonds and the pound. If currencies maintain stable values against each other then the scope for buying cheap and selling dear is automatically reduced. The volatility in the currency markets is an opportunity for currency traders to thrive.
Even at a superficial level, the easy way in which young men from the City pass judgement on negotiations about the future of what we like to think of as our democracy is disturbing. Beneath this lies the disturbing truth that a summer of civil unrest and union activity might be exactly what they want. Such turbulence can offer them the opportunity to feed once again off the working people of this country. Tweet