Martin Meenagh writes:
I awoke this morning with a song in my head of which I must have been dreaming. It was one of those by Irish singers which my mother had played in the car when I was young, and she was driving around Northamptonshire thinking of Donegal. In retrospect, many of those songs were radical American protest songs, and quite a few were by Woodie Guthrie--but when replayed and resung in Irish accents, they took on a republican tinge I have always admired.
The song of which I was thinking was one I couldn't quite place--Guthrie's 'Banks are Made of Marble', which I can't find on youtube. The chorus runs
Let's break out the banks of marble
With the Guard on every door
And share out the gold and silver
That the workers sweated for.
After that, I went down the Cromwell Road and gave a sort of lecture-cum-seminar on European politics. A bright American asked me at the end what I thought of the reformed Paulson plan, and I, trying to be responsible, said that I didn't like it, I thought that it was wrong, but that I thought that it would pass, but that it should not. I thought this because the media, the establishment, the banks, and the Washington elites were all behind it.
Wrong again, Meenagh. The American republic is not dead. The stupid media and the corrupt hacks might think they own the place, but it belongs still to its citizens and a good part of their representatives are scared of them. When all else is rejected, they are still capable of choosing the right thing.
In fact, the representatives either freshly elected or about to go into elections won't touch this kryptonite, however hysterical the reportage class. That's how much the voters hate it. Seven hundred billion dollars will not be given to insane bankers with no questions asked, not yet.
The great republic, for the first time in decades, perhaps for the first time since the death of Robert Kennedy on this scale, is fighting back. So I went looking for songs, and found this beautiful version of the tune of the Battle Hymn of the Republic, sung in French by the incomparable Mireille Matthieu. The French touch is for any Republicans reading, even if I do know and like you. You'll thank your right wing for voting this monster down eventually.
And Martin Kelly writes:
The rejection of the Paulson Plan Mark II by the House of Representatives shows that, contrary to many expectations, the American people are not prepared to be bullied into a fascistic financial regime.
That the markets have tanked today was not unexpected - yet although the prospect of great financial adversity seems horribly real, one can only applaud those Congressmen, of both parties, who elected to prefer liberty and the nation over bipartisanship and managerialism. In the case of the Republicans, it should be noted that many hoped these principles would be discovered before they spent the years 2001 to 2006 spending like drunken sailors. However, it's better late than never - the Paulson Plan would have been a step down a path from which, if trod once, there would have been no turning back.
Let's see what creative destruction's really like.
But Kelly also writes:
On the day it was nationalised, Bradford & Bingley was still advertising for new business - on Paramount Comedy.
The immediate re-sale of its savings and business network to a Spanish bank, which already owns two other British high street players, is globalisation at the point of the sword. It's a car boot sale of what is probably the most valuable part of the business.
In all likelihood, the Spanish would deem it both culturally and politically unacceptable for a British bank to own three of their major high street brands. If it is considered politically necessary for the Bradford & Bingley to be nationalised to save it from its previous management's folly, then so be it - but there will be considerable resentment against what will quite rightly be perceived as yet a further extension of the powers wielded by companies based in one particular foreign country over the British economy; powers that that country would never allow to be reciprocated.
We are being cannibalised, gobbled up by the world one piece at a time.
You know what you have to do.