Thursday, 19 July 2012

Loving Lehmans

The following quotation is taken from a Lehman Brothers press release in April 2004. This was the occasion when Gordon Brown, then UK Chancellor, officially opened the new Lehmans European HQ in London.

Brown's remarks on the event are quoted next. They are nauseating on so many levels that I will leave them for you to ponder:

"I would like to pay tribute to the contribution you and your company make to the prosperity of Britain. During its one hundred and fifty year history, Lehman Brothers has always been an innovator, financing new ideas and inventions before many others even began to realise their potential. And it is part of the greatness not just of Lehman Brothers but of the City of London, that as the world economy has opened up, you have succeeded not by sheltering your share of a small protected national market but always by striving for a greater and greater share of the growing global market."

I had forgotten about this particular event until a recent press report reminded me. However, the sentiments expressed by Brown about the wonders of the financial markets reflected the appreciation shown by all spokesmen (and women) of British imperialism. Today it is embarrassing for them to be reminded of what they said in the years when the financial bubble was still being inflated. Yet the economic interests of British imperialism are closely bound up with the fortunes of the City of London, as articles on this blog have explained. So, while today's UK politicians will hesitate to be so fulsome in praise of finance, they will continue to protect the status of the City of London.

Tony Norfield, 19 July 2012

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