George and Caroline had what may be their last foreign holiday in Tuscany for some time during the latter part of August until mid-September and George returned to the gathering financial storm. George is flicking through the financial press and chatting idly to a mate of his after a long day at work.
Dave: What do mean you are going to phone the Archbishop of York and see if he can lend you some mining shares to short sell? How much have you been drinking
George: I’ve only had half a bottle, Dave….The Archbishop of York has accused us all of being bank robbers and asset strippers for short selling …. but the real laugh is that the Church Commissioners, who manage the Church of England’s investments, set up a currency hedging programme, in effect short-selling sterling to guard against rises in other currencies…. and according to mumbo jumbo think tank Ekklesia the C of E has shares in mining and oil companies.
Dave: But isn’t that what we do all the time… weren’t you selling Lloyds TSB shares only the other day?
George: Ah…. yes….. but can’t do that anymore…. verboten… hanging offence. Government has banned it because they don’t want to have to buy up every bank in Britain just yet… may have to keep their powder dry for that if the bozos in the Republican party don’t get their act together and vote for the bail out.
Dave: Shame about Peter… I was talking to him earlier… he’s not taking his sacking very well.
George: Peter couldn’t cut it at a major league bank, went secondary… now the secondary banks can get prime beef from Lehman at a good price… cheaper to fire the veggie bankers and bring in the carnivores. That’s the way it is.
Dave: Well…. it just goes to show that greed doesn’t always work….. bet you are glad you didn’t go into investment banking…. you could have been in the same boat.
George laughed: Yep…. too greedy I was told at the interview… too much of a risk…. ironic.
George flicked open his laptop and started looking at some blogs.
George… laughing: Excellent… some guy called The Fat Bigot has been writing about short selling…. “As for those who engage in short selling being “bank robbers and asset strippers”, that comment merely shows the Archbishop of York to be ludicrously naive. Like so many men who spend their working lives in fancy frocks, he is best kept well away from the real world.” I couldn’t agree more.
George spent another five minutes or so picking up on blogs he enjoyed reading and then picked up his mobile phone to call his City lawyer friend Hugo.. Ring…. ring…. ring… ring….
George: Hi Hugo…. George here… still got a job? The word on the street is that law firms are carrying out mass sackings all over the place…. streets are full of lawyers selling matches and shoelaces….
Hugo: Very funny, George… No… I haven’t been sacked. I’m not a property lawyer. As it happens we are rolling in it after being called in to sort out the mess you financial boys have made of the known universe.
George: Fancy coming down for a beer?
Hugo: George… it is 7.00. I am unlikely to finish here until well after 11.00. We are working closely with the government. I do not think that they would take kindly to having to go through legal structures with me while I am sitting in the Dog & Duck with you.
George: So… that’ll be a ‘No’ then?
Hugo: Yes… it is a No. Bye.
George goes back to looking at blogs….
George: Fuck…. Dave… have you see what City Unslicker has written on his blog now?
George: He says that US plan to buy toxics is wrong … I quote: ” But what is needed is for banks to have enough capital to be able to write-down the bad loans now and not go insolvent. To that end, a better plan is to re-capitalise banks and the Government to take a charge on the money, maybe even in the form of shares.”… JESUS… he’s saying that shares could soar and the government could even make a profit….. We’d better get our skates on…. what do you fancy shorting tomorrow….. oil again?
Dave: Yeah… oil is good…. let’s do oil.