Friday, 28 January 2011

Licenced jester

What's the difference between a dead cat on a motorway and a dead banker on a motorway?

There are skid marks around the cat!

Says Vince Cable, who seems to have two jobs. Wearing his Secretary of State for Business, Innovation and Skills hat, he's only allowed to utter anodyne half-truths and unconvincing defences of policies he formerly opposed. But he's got another hat, with bells on, for playing the fool. As the world in general knows, it's the fool's privilege to say the unsayable:

In Renaissance times, aristocratic households in Britain employed licensed fools or jesters, who sometimes dressed as other servants were dressed, but generally wore a motley (i.e. parti-coloured) coat, hood with ass's (i.e. donkey) ears or a red-flannel coxcomb and bells. Regarded as pets or mascots, they served not simply to amuse but to criticise their master or mistress and their guests.

Originally from the Royal Shakespeare Company's Notes on the Fool

In other news:

The report of the Financial Crisis Inquiry Commission is out on what caused the 2008 economic crash and the current Great Recession. Although the commission is not unanimous ... the report says that the crash was foreseeable and preventable.

The report by the Financial Crisis Inquiry Commission draws on more than 700 interviews, millions of e-mail exchanges and other records that have not previously been disclosed....

The report examined the risky mortgage loans that helped build the housing bubble; the packaging of those loans into exotic securities that were sold to investors; and the heedless placement of giant bets on those investments.

Enabling those developments, the panel found, were a bias toward deregulation by government officials, and mismanagement by financiers who failed to perceive the risks.

Via. I don't care if it takes a 633 page report or a just a tasteless quip to remind us, so long as we never forget exactly who triggered this crisis. After all, the people being asked to take the pain - public sector workers, the unemployed, students, workers clinging on to insecure, unsatisfactory jobs with eroding benefits, ordinary people whose public services are being dismantled - don't share the blame. And that's no joke.