The World seems to have returned to normal today.
I read in the papers that President Obama had to squeeze the last drop out of the Senate yesterday to get his economic stimulus plan through. Just three Republican senators voted for it, showing us that real politics has returned. Good luck Mr. President – even the bleeding obvious has to struggle these days it seems.
Meanwhile in Britain, four senior figures from the now inglorious world of banking are being dragged, woops, sorry, are appearing before the Parliamentary Treasury Select Committee to explain why their banks failed and by doing so, contributed to the worst financial collapse in living memory.
As you can imagine, they have been doing their homework – they have been in intensive training with public relations teams so that they come across in a positive light. Hahaha!
We are told that they are not really the bad guys at all and they certrainly haven’t gained out of the crisis even though they are all in line to receive substantial cash bonuses.
The PR firms have given them sound advice. Say you are sorry and look humble. Will it work? Are we still all naive enough to be taken in by fat cats working from a script?
Just to squeeze the last drop of sympathy from us, one of them, Andy Hornby, the former chief executive of HBOS, is telling us that he is suffering just as much as the rest of us. The value of his shares have dropped from £10 million to a mere £500,000. This is the man who had to resign his job after the bank nearly collapsed under his leadership. He is now retained by them as an adviser on a salary of £60,000 a month – it is not clear as I write this how much he will get as a bonus.
Even more tragic is the sad tale of Fred Goodwin, the former chief executive of that other failing bank, Royal Bank of Scotland. He is also a Knight apparently, God knows what for. Poor love, he invested his £2.8 million 2007 bonus into shares which have lost 90% of their value.
They must have found an awful lot of humble pie to eat today if they are going to carry us with them.
They will have their supporters out there in this land of the free though. In a poll today, we are told that the number of people that think that Britain will do well in 2009 has gone up from 18% to 20%. It is always intriguing to wonder where these people, who will vote at the next general election, get their ideas from. They are obviously financial geniuses or idiots – the same poll predicts, by the way, that a majority of the country, 42%, wants Conservative leader, David Cameron, to be the next prime minister. Heaven help us.
At least we are not living in Zimbabwe, where the inflation rate is so high that they have had to knock six naughts off the figures. The finance minister, quite endearingly for a Mugabe supporter, said the other day that the best thing about running such a disastrous economy is the knowledge that it can’t get any worse.
So while the economy tumbles and the cholera epidemic deepens, the government has ordered 2000 bottles of champagne to celebrate President Mugabe’s 85th. birthday. Awww bless him, he is doing as well as he can for an old geezer. We can only hope he didn’t invest his retirement fund in the Royal Bank of Scotland.
So yes, the world is returning to normal.
Yesterday I went to the brain hospital, hopefully for treatment, not only for my brain haemorrhage but also for my disbelief at the incompetence of so many figures from public life. OK the last bit might be a bit over-optimistic but there was good news on the brain damage front.
They are now testing for the improbable…I won’t tell you what they are looking at as it is just too depressing and you have already read about Fred Goodwin’s shares.
I am told that it is still unclear why I received so many injuries after that haemorrhage and the accompanying brain seizures on that day, 30th. October last year. The fractured spine and torn muscles are not typical, they say, of this type of haemorrhage.
There is now no question that I was lucky to have survived what the doctors now call a major haemorrhage. Also, it is also true that I am not out of the woods yet either. The blood has still not dispersed and I am still at risk from further haemorrhages and seizures. The dosage of my my anti-seizure drugs will be increased yet again and more tests and scans have been ordered.
On the bright side, they still think it is not necessarily going to be essential for me to have brain surgery and that, if I am a good boy and do as I am told, I could make a good recovery over the next six months to two years. I may have to live with my new speech stammer of course but that might be as bad as it gets.
The neurologist said that I should take comfort from the fact that I was conscious, coherent and mobile and I can thank the fact that I was physically very fit when the event happened, even more importantly, I could drink up to three glasses of wine a week.
No matter how flippant I try to be about this, I cannot forget my fellow patients on the ward that day.
My mind especially focuses on the man physically paralyzed except for one side of his face. One eye glazed and unfocused, the other watching me as a nurse fed him his lunch. What was he thinking, I wondered. For all my sympathy, there was one thought that haunted me, I am so lucky that he was not me. I was so very near to being reduced to that condition.
So, I do have the chance of returning to normal life. My thanks for that even if I am living in a World where the poor are dying and the rich claim to suffer and bewail the loss of a percentage of their ill-gotten gains.
It was a pity about the wine though. Half a glass of burgundy went straight to my head and brought back memories of my first teenage binge. The room spun, my focus loosened and I came out in a sweat. If it wasn’t for those memories of my ill-spent youth, I would have thought I was suffering brain damage. Maybe the second glass will be better.