So, when we got in from circuits last night, there was a blinking blue light at the end of our street. Some sort of accident, cordoned off with stripey police tape and surrounded by emergency services.
We turned on the telly and there was Jon Snow talking with the controlled animation of a journalist helming a big story.
Then we felt a lurch as the house tipped suddenly sideways, pans clanging against the boiler on the swinging hanger and plates sliding across the work tops as we continued to put dinner together.
So this is a banking crisis.
A chuffing, sodding, frightening, arsing-great big one, apparently.
..Oh well, eh.
Yes, the accident was the British – and basically the global – banking system and the blue lights turned out to be metaphorical. ..Although we have had a surprising number of police incidents in our quiet little street over the years (..and they never tell you what’s going on…).
They’re yabbering on the wire this morning (by which I mean Radio 4, but that sounds WAY less dramatic) that the effective nationalisation of the UK banks announced lastnight is a seismic moment for western business. And it is. ..NATIONALISING the BANKS? The government becoming a major stakeholder in Natwest, Lloyds TSB, HSBC? Owning and controlling the FREE market economy?
Hang on, though. Does this mean, ironically, that in this time of evaporating investments, and governments around the world having to promise ordinary people like me that they’ll guarantee a lump of their savings, should the banks just, oh I dunno, lose them, I have just become a major investor for the first time in my life?
As a UK taxpayer, can I go to the AGMs of all the banks now? Eat the free sarnies?
If I can, can I also ask them where exactly ALL THE CHUFFING MONEY’S GOING! Down a sink, or something?
Well, it is, kind of. Value is relative, isn’t it; if no-one wants to buy your thing, it becomes worthless. And if banks are too nervous to lend things to each other in case they inherit a worthless thing from an unscrupulous chain of indifferent lending, then the money system grinds to a halt, because no-one can get the petty cash they need to buy things, lubricate things and keep things moving.
..I’m trying to figure out the best way to work in the word ‘plunger’ here.