To Enter the Kingdom of Heaven…

…Would first require that we suspend all disbelief and merely assume that the evidence lacking assertion that heaven is real is correct.   It also requires that it is possible for a human being to mystically survive the death of our brains and nervous systems but that is a different post.  The reason for this post is an article in today’s Guardian.  Well, I call it an article, it was a paragraph and a photograph.

Bob Diamond to face Treasury Select Committee
Bob Diamond had no answer to John Mann’s question about camels, needles and rich men. Photograph: PA


“Barclays boss Bob Diamond was stumped on why it’s easier for a camel to pass a needle’s eye than a rich man enter heaven”

It strikes me as more than a little bizarre that this paragraph even got space in a separate section.  The general demeanour of Mr Diamond is shown to a ‘better’ light in an Independent article more related to the issue at hand.  Here is the ‘article‘.

“Bob Diamond, the new Barclays chief executive, was asked whether he was to collect his bonus, which is worth about £8m, this year. Diamond replied: “I’ll take that decision with my family as I did last year.” Labour MP John Mann of the Treasury committee of MPs, who handled the grilling, then asked him why it was easier for a camel to pass through the eye of a needle than for a rich man to enter into the kingdom of God.

And indeed, we ask you: why? Do you have the answer to this burning question?”

The proverb comes from Matthew 19:24.  But why is it a burning question?  I fail to see how it was relative to the issue at all.  Those of us who know the bible, the cult-inculcation tactics used by the church to expand their number and extend their influence, also know very well that this was merely a means to that end. It was driven by the need to persuade people to voluntarily enslave themselves to the church through the duplicitous and deceitful claim that by putting up with a life of going without even what they needed (let alone what they wanted), people would qualify for a reward at the end of it. A promise, that like it or not, had a distinct ‘no returns’ policy.

“I know that to sell the sausage, you need to be able to sell the sizzle”

“Ah, but sooner or later you must be able to produce the sausage”

Moist von Lipwig & Mrs Topsy Lavish – Making Money by Terry Pratchett

Bob Diamond is questioned before the Treasury select committee at the House of Commons yesterday

The matter was better discussed in the Independent, as Mr Diamond of the UK bank Barclays, faced questioning by the Treasury select committee at the House of Commons.  Mr Diamond is of the mistaken belief that the time for the banks to show remorse, shame or regret for the crisis which to a great extent, they were the main contributor to is over.  It would be unfair to hold them wholly responsible for the global economy plummeting into the ground because with irresponsible lending and investment comes irresponsible borrowing.  However, the banks were always at liberty to refuse those loans and had a duty to act with due consideration.  Lack of prohibitive legislation is no excuse because they know very well the effects their decisions can have.  It is also worth noting that the banks were not bailed out because of pity for the greed of the banks, but because when banks fail, it is rarely those who caused the mess who suffer the consequences.  As for the row over bank bonuses, I am still of the belief that no banker should be rewarded – whether through tax breaks or bonuses – at all until they have paid back every penny of what they owe the British tax payer.  It seems they want extra reward for doing their jobs.  They already do. It comes in the form of their already extensive salaries of which the so-called ‘guaranteed bonus’ is a part of.

“The time for bankers to show any remorse for the failings that dragged Britain into the worst recession since the Wall Street crash is “over”, the new boss of Barclays said yesterday, as the fury over the City’s forthcoming £7bn bonus binge grows.”

Bob Diamond, who will collect a pay package worth about £8.5m this year, is utterly unrepentant.  If bankers worked in the real world, as with many MPs and MEPs (Creepy-Cameron and Turncoat-Clegg), they would soon find that most people know that the reward for doing their jobs correctly is they get paid and to keep their jobs and if they don’t, they lose those jobs.  As it stands the minimum wage is a joke, JSA has been cut back to 12 months regardless of circumstances, those on incapacity benefit are moved to JSA, the coalition are about to begin laying off 500,000 civil servants (a decision which was actually cheered in the House of Commons when it was announced) due to cuts, and a there will be a vast reduction in housing benefit to those reliant on assistance because their minimum wage job does not pay enough to keep a roof over their head.

Committee member John Mann accused Barclays of operating in a “moral haze”, while its chairman Andrew Tyrie, a Conservative, suggested that banks might be less inclined to take risky decisions if their chief executives were faced with unlimited liability for losses they caused, as used to be the case in the City of London’s old partnership stockbrokers.

The move to approve bankers bonuses is a disgusting and divisive move to reward the rich for being rich and shows the working classes yet again that the Tories view those who do the jobs they wouldn’t deign to do themselves that they are worthy of little more than contempt.  Only in politics and banking does it seem that there is any such an animal as a ‘job-for-life’.  The time for remorse might be over had they ever shown any to begin with or had they even tried to make amends and apologise for their greedy policies and careless lending.  Instead they point the blame wherever they could, and  like spoiled children trying to lie their way out of trouble, blamed everybody else for their actions. That is not the conduct of those deserving roles of responsibility.  They have proven that they cannot be trusted without tight administrative and constant outside auditing which is all the more reason that we should never take the pressure off.

Asked if David Cameron or George Osborne had asked him during their meetings to show restraint over his own bonus, Mr Diamond said: “No.”

The effort the coalition is making is token at best and THIS is why the Labour Party and their volunteers worked so hard, last May, to warn voters of what would happen if the Tories or Lib. Dem.s did win the general election.  I am deeply saddened that we had to be proven correct.  The thirteen years of Labour improvements in general quality of life for everyone (not just the rich) obviously bred complacency, and I can only hope that the next four and a half years of Tory social engineering to put the poor firmly back in their place, will equally and firmly remind people, the Conservatives are bad for this county.  The depositors’ money that the banks play with in order to pay themselves with is, in the case of most of the banks, ours. Do we not have a right to decide through our elected representatives whether banks are investing that money wisely? Do we not have a right to demand that our ‘elected representatives’ do just that;  represent us.  We have no duty to enslave ourselves to the banks we keep our money in and it is about time that they realised that the banks work for US and not vice-versa.  Let us not let the banks replace the church as an unquestioned authority over our lives.




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