Sunday, March 15, 2009

I'd rather be a hippy than a banker

Good morning you lovely, generous, humanitarians, you. I say that because, once again, the British public have shown their compassion, decency and generosity in supporting Comic Relief. Despite the credit crunch, falling house prices, job losses and collapsing High Street chains, you have dug deep into pockets and searched down the back of the sofa and raised a staggering £59,187,065 (as of this morning); nearly sixty million quid to save lives and offer hope to those who desperately need it in the UK and Africa. As always, among the skits and sketches on Friday night's show, there was a serious message, often in the form of harrowing films showing us the plight of others. Like the little girl of alcoholic parents who phoned a helpline believing she was bad because she hadn't any Christmas presents. Or the young mothers in Africa dying in childbirth for wont of simple, cheap medical aid (there is a 1 in 8 mortality rate in some places). and that tiny 12 month old baby whose last breaths and parents' grief were captured on film as he succumbed to malaria. Just £1 could have saved that child by buying a mosquito net ... just 18p would have bought an injection to save one young mother from bleeding to death during the birth of her, now, orphaned child. So very well done all of you who donated. Rich or poor, almost anyone can afford a pound and just one pound can save lives and you'd have to be a pretty cynical and hard-hearted person not to donate a pound. That's not even two Mars Bars. And how about foregoing that Friday night takeaway meal and donating the money instead? £30 will buy 75 HIV tests for children in Africa. We had beans on toast.

So well done everyone. Fecking fantastic. Now, if we can only persuade governments to do the same, what a world this will be. Because, sad but true, the amount raised by Comic Relief is pitiful compared to the £500 billion bailout that Gordon Brown has given the banks. Yes, yes, yes. I understand that the financial solidity of a country's commerce needs banks to provide a solid foundation. We need the banks to be doing well as that drives industry, lending, home-ownership etc. But £500 billion? When they buggered it up with their own self-interest in the first place? It does annoy me ... especially when you realise that it's 10,000 times as much money as we all raised with our pounds. Ten thousand!

There is something desperately wrong with a society that rewards greed and rescues failure when children are dying of preventable illness, when women suffer violent abuse every day, when old people die of loneliness, and where people with mental illness have no facilities to ease their difficult lives. Yes, I sound like an old hippy, but aren't compassion and understanding and generosity of spirit the things that make us human?

And don't get me started on how much we pay grown men to kick a bag of wind around a field ...


chris hale said...

Hip hip hooray!

I was staggered to hear that a million African children a year die from malaria. But it also beggars belief that Gordon Brown applauds the public's fund-raising, whilst at the same time dipping into the pockets of those who can least afford it (I'm talking raids on pension funds) and, as you point out, bailing out banks who don't then loan the cash to the deserving; and that BT don't issue an 0800 number for use on Red Nose Day.

As you quite rightly say, well done everyone! It would be nice to persuade governments to do the same. But whilst MPs continue to justify the ludicrous amounts of money they claim for kipping down in their sisters' bedrooms and employing their wives as researchers, I think it's fairly unlikely.

Stevyn Colgan said...

Chris - I know. I shouldn't rant as nothing will ever change, sadly. What other group of people gets to vote on their own pay rise, eh? Madness. MPs. Pah. But what makes me laugh most are the miserable, pleading bank advertisements currently on TV that hope to entice us in with friendly faces and jolly tunes. These are the same bastards who fleece us £25 a go to send a letter telling us we're a penny overdrawn isn't it? That's £25 to justify an automatically computer-generated single sheet of A4 paper and envelope. Oh, and then another £25 letter a week later to tell us that we're £25.01 overdrawn ...


Rub on the patchouli oil and let's take the VW campervan somewhere groovy, man.

chris hale said...

Yeah! Wipe down those melamine surfaces!

There is no incentive in this country for people to save any more, thanks to the bankers. My current account pays a staggering 12p interest a year. Not even enough for that injection you mentioned earlier.

Many pensioners who rely on their interest in order just to live are being screwed so that the feckless can take out big loans at ludicrously low rates.

Rant over. For now.

I'm ranting again.

Stuart Peel said...

I'd rather be employed as a professional dung eater than be a banker. In fact, I'm not sure I'd actually want to exist at all, if it had to be as an employee of a banking corporation.

Totally agree about the concept behind Comic Relief. Having said all that I'd be lying if I were to say I found the show itself as anything other than atrocious drivel(minus the documentary stuff).

Anonymous said...

Hi Steve,
Couldn't agree with you more. And speaking as an employee hanging on by my fingernails in that industry (which I probably shouldn't admit to anyone, ever), I too totally agree about the eye-watering sums of money involved. Whatever happened to just being grateful for the monthly pay-cheque? It's not as if any of these people are on low wages, oh no, they are on more than generous salaries by anyone's standards. Why should such (OK, I will use the same word journalists keep banding about) obscene bonuses be paid? I could go on. And on. About this. But I am busy trying to keep my head below the parapet and out of the firing line.
Like you say, a huge amount has been pledged to Comic Relief probably by the people who can afford it least... what a pity it won't (at worst) make those responsible for the current financial fiasco hang their heads in shame or (at best) donate some of their millions to worthy causes (and I don't mean .. No. I should stop here.)
"There is something desperately wrong with a society that rewards greed and rescues failure ..." Seems that when they talk about 'Broken Britain', this is what they should be focusing on. Maybe then everything else will fall into place.
Deep breath now. Sorry for the rant.
Jooboz x

Stevyn Colgan said...

Chris, Stu - I commend your views!

Jooboz - Or shall I call you 'Anonymous'. Yes, I know you work for a bank. And yes, I also know that you nearly lost your job when that particular bank went tits up. But I also know that you're one of the worker bees who never gets to se the honey, let alone the royal jelly. And you'll also be the first to be axed when the fat cats need their bonuses. Nice to hear from you and hope the fingernails aren't too sore from all that clinging. x

Planet Me said...

I fully applaud this (and not in a Krusty the Clown "I endorse this product or event" style) and Gordon Brown should be ashamed of the finances of this.