The Edinburgh mansion of Fred Goodwin, the former chief executive of the Royal Bank of Scotland, was vandalized this week after it was revealed that he received a $24 million pension after quitting RBS, a bank so burdened by bad investments that it required a $50 million taxpayer bailout to prevent its collapse. A statement issued to media by unknown sources after the attack explained, “We are angry that rich people, like him, are paying themselves a huge amount of money and living in luxury, while ordinary people are made unemployed, destitute and homeless.”
“This is just the beginning,” the statement warned.
A professor of anthropology at the University of East London was later suspended from his position for allegedly attempting to incite violence during an interview given last week in which he warned that the G20 summit could see “bankers hanging from lampposts.”
Protest at the summit, slated to being April 1, is widely speculated to be the most organized and well-orchestrated effort in years. Protestors plan to converge on the Bank of England from four sides, each group lead by one of the four horsemen of the apocalypse. Its no wonder that in the face of this potential mayhem, several London banks have decided to shutter for the duration of the summit and financial professionals are being urged to look like anything other than what they really are.
The impetus for violence against those individuals responsible for this mess – while certainly understandable – simply cannot be condoned. Banks closing and bankers being forced to wear different clothes is undoubtedly emboldening G20 protestors, but the fact that the threat of protest is capable of levying such effect indicates that this is an opportunity for real, sustainable change. Should the G20 deteriorate into violence, the mission will be undermined and the protestors dismissed as criminals. So if its true upheaval we want, let’s be sure to wear velvet to the revolution.
At last we’re in Winter. It’s the year 2047. A worn scrapbook from the future arrives in your lap. It offers a stunning global vision, a warning to the next generations, a repository of practical wisdom, and an invaluable roadmap which you need to navigate the dark times, and the opportunities, which lie ahead.