The Lead Taker: Things that go bump in the night

Things that go bump in the night

Ghouls, ghosts, spooks & things that go bump in the night.

With All Hallows Eve having just passed, it's worth remembering that for those who celebrate the occasion in its true sense, it's an opportunity for reflection, rather than the launch of the Cadbury’s "Scream" egg.

While knocks on the door by local children acting as beggars (with menaces) may have to be endured there should still be time to reflect on the passing of souls and events, and to benefit by being able to carry on life with a renewed sense of normality, once dawn breaks.

A far cry from today, when we are still dragging around the carcasses of 2008, although the dead on this occasion are financial institutions and, more recently, economies.

Having experienced the denial and disbelief that kicks off the normal grieving process, we seem to have visited the rage that follows and got confused about who is and isn't guilty.

With the acceptance phase (which means life can carry on) still beyond grasp, we have ended up in a kind of moral and mental torpor.

Put bluntly, in the case of Greece it would have been nice to have either applied the paddles to the country's heart or ordered the flowers for the funeral.

Instead we have had to settle for the sticking plaster, although this may yet prove to be a credible solution in terms of steadying the markets and stopping the spiral of negativity and contagion.... unless, of course, the Greeks decide to commit hari-kari via a referendum.

But getting stuck in torpor is unhealthy emotionally and physically, so I have made a list of what I think we need to say goodbye to and what we need to welcome in, the general idea being to replace torpor with resilience.

First off, we should wave goodbye to the sound bite and welcome in its place sound governance.

"We are in a period of growth" said the Bank of England some months ago, when the economy had barely got the power to pull the skin off a rice pudding.

Likened to an athlete, the economy has been hit by a tram so it's no good politicians putting UK plc down for the 100 meter sprint!

Sound governance, on the other hand, allows things to develop over a slower pace and find their natural course.

If you look at the 1929 crash, it took economies of the world some four to five years to begin full recovery and that was partly because they began to re-arm.

We all know where that led, so I am also recommending we say goodbye to nationalism and welcome in community.

However, politicians would do well to remember that people are still recovering from Woolworths going bust, never mind entire countries, so don't expect anything "Big" on this front.

When it comes to nationalism the term hides a dark agenda - some of my family have died on the battlefields of Europe for so-called nationalistic causes of the past.

OK Greece is the naughty boy of the pack but we have just experienced the longest period of peace in Europe in modern times, given that the break-up of the former Yugoslavia was at least within national boundaries.

Europe has had war after war based on nationalism and economic failure, so let's not revisit that one, even if it does mean watching our leaders endlessly grapple with, rather than solve, problems.

Returning to community, a main focus for me is the broking community - which is what I believe we are - so I am making the suggestion that you write down and bury whatever has passed and head for a resilient future.

Specifically, what I am looking for is that combination of community and resilience recently summed up in a jab in the ribs from Elbow.

Elbow the Mancunian rock bank, that is.

I just heard lead singer, Guy Garvey, make an impassioned call for a sense of community right now, and for people to stop being frightened by negative media reports on things we can do nothing about.

When it comes to negative media reports, I will give you just one example, in its online edition The Wall Street Journal recently estimated US credit default swap exposure to the haircut on Greek government bonds at 43%, or upwards of €25 billion.


Fortunately, the International Swaps and Derivatives Association was on the ball and clearly rather miffed by the report.


It responded saying "we honestly do not know where these numbers come from" followed by a suggestion that the pot shouldn't be stirred by those who don't understand the ingredients.


I rest my case - and that of community and resilience over the sound bite, nationalism and anything else that feeds negativity.

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