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Masters of the Universe Meet - Bullingdon Boys Bruised on Bank Reform
Sheesh. Poor bankers and pols.

Quote:Davos summit leaves David Cameron and George Osborne feeling bruised
Tory leaders suffer barrage of criticism at World Economic Forum over policy and bank regulation

Andrew Clark, Saturday 29 January 2011 22.17 GMT

[Image: David-Cameron-and-Angela--007.jpg]
David Cameron with the German chancellor, Angela Merkel, at Davos last week. Photograph: Michel Euler/AP

It should have been a chance to trumpet recovery in cosy Alpine surroundings. At Davos, David Cameron and George Osborne wanted to sell British austerity, discipline and economic stability to the world's most powerful people. It didn't quite work out like that.

The week started with dismal figures showing that Britain's economy had shrunk by 0.5% in the final quarter of 2010 and that questions were being asked about deficit-cutting without long-term growth. And instead of getting plaudits at the World Economic Forum's annual summit in Switzerland, wherever they went British ministers were confronted by economists casting doubt on British policy.

There was no respite when they met anxious financiers alarmed by "banker bashing". At a closed-door session today as the Alpine jamboree drew to an end, more than 40 bosses of banking and insurance companies met finance ministers from nations including Britain, Canada, France, South Africa, Turkey and Sweden.

A guest list obtained by the Observer reveals that those invited included Bank of America's boss, Brian Moynihan; Standard Chartered's chief, Peter Sands; the Lloyd's of London chairman, Lord Levene; the UK head of Santander, Ana Patricia Botín; and Aviva's chief executive, Andrew Moss.

In emollient form afterwards, Barclays' chief executive, Bob Diamond, said the get-together had been an opportunity to deliver "very heartfelt thanks" to governments for rescuing the banking system.

"We have to recognise, although there is some fatigue, that an awful lot has been achieved over the last few years," said Diamond. "We should say thanks to the central bankers and regulators because we're operating in a much safer system than a couple of years ago."

But France's finance minister, Christine Lagarde, made it clear that the discussion had been robust: "The best way for the banking system to say 'thank you' would be with good financing of the economy, sensible compensation packages and a refinancing of their capital."

Impatient with criticism of bonuses, tax avoidance and lending to small businesses, many banks used the occasion to turn up the volume in protest at what they see as undue punishment. JP Morgan's chief executive, Jamie Dimon, snapped last week that banks were not prepared to simply "bend over and accept it" from regulators. The Goldman Sachs president, Gary Cohn, declared that extra regulations on banks would simply encourage people to put their money into riskier hedge funds.

Some, particularly in Britain, are getting nervous a senior executive at one London-based bank said the tone of rhetoric from US firms was becoming concerning. In Britain, efforts to broker a peace deal between Westminster and the City, codenamed Project Merlin, have stalled. Osborne said: "The British government is trying to reach a new settlement with the banks whereby they lend more into the economy, contribute more in taxes and pay lower bonuses than last year."

Banks are holding out against efforts to curb telephone-number-sized bonuses. Goldman Sachs revealed on Friday that its chief executive, Lloyd Blankfein, had received a $600,000 pay rise, taking his remuneration to $13.2m for 2010 still far short of the $68m he scooped in 2007 but an indication that "restraint" is beginning to wane.

Osborne, under pressure from Liberal Democrat ministers in the coalition, is struggling to wring concessions from London banks which say the government's 50p top rate of tax is deterring international staff from moving to the UK, and any further crackdown will prompt them to make future investments overseas.

The chancellor urged patience: "When you've faced the biggest banking crisis for 80 years, fixing the system was never going to take place overnight."

Some of those visiting Davos from emerging economies sense an opportunity. Montek Ahluwalia, a senior Indian policymaker who is deputy chairman of his country's planning commission, suggested that instead of repeating their ill-fated quest for ever more opaque derivatives, banks should direct their money towards rapidly growing nations citing growth rates of 6% to 8% forecast for India and China this year.

"If they really want high returns, then that's where their capital should go," said Ahluwalia. "We will not be helped if too much financial innovation is producing instruments that aren't competitive and which we know are actually hugely risky."
The shadow is a moral problem that challenges the whole ego-personality, for no one can become conscious of the shadow without considerable moral effort. To become conscious of it involves recognizing the dark aspects of the personality as present and real. This act is the essential condition for any kind of self-knowledge.
Carl Jung - Aion (1951). CW 9, Part II: P.14
Hey, where've I seen those cop outfits before?

Quote:Guardian Davos journalist's sinister encounter with the Swiss riot police

A policeman pulled me off the train, bound my hands behind my back and frogmarched me into an icy field by the rail track

Andrew Clark in Davos, Sunday 30 January 2011 17.52 GMT

[Image: Andrew-Clarks-photograph--007.jpg]
Photograph of Swiss Police boarding a train leaving Davos after the World Economic Forum (WEF). Photograph Andrew Clark for the Guardian

My day began listening to George Osborne debate the fragility of the global economy. It ended sitting on the floor of a freezing underground car park, hands bound behind my back, in the custody of Swiss riot police.

A peculiar ordeal in ostensibly the world's most peaceful nation began when, leaving Davos after four days covering the World Economic Forumsummit, my taxi to the Swiss resort's railway station got clogged in traffic caused by an anti-capitalist demonstration. I hopped out and walked past a line of police to reach a platform where an uneasy mixture of demonstrators, skiers in full gear and WEF delegates were milling around. There were a few yells and chants and the tinkling of glass being broken somewhere nearby.

A train to Zurich arrived and as I boarded, my carriage filled with protesters handing out beers and leaflets. They were a friendly enough bunch, mostly in their late teens and twenties, and the journey began uneventfully, albeit to a soundtrack of loud europop. After 30 minutes or so, a convoy of police vans screamed down the mountain, sirens blaring, on a road alongside the railway, and overtook the train. It stopped and was surrounded by riot police wearing full body armour, carrying shields and bearing what appeared to be guns capable of firing rubber bullets. Minutes later, a woman burst into our carriage eyes streaming and squealing in pain after being pepper sprayed for sticking her head out the window to gesture at police.

It dawned on me that this was serious and that it could also be newsworthy. When the police, dressed in almost comically sinister in Robocop-style gear, came into my carriage, I took a few photos of them with my BlackBerry and attempted a video (which didn't come out). The cops went through with dogs, picking anyone who looked vaguely like a protester and ordering them off the train. Skiers and those not wearing anarchist fashion were left but selection was fairly arbitrary. A Greenpeace activist, Bruno Heinzer, who had been in Davos for a WEF fringe event, was bemused to find that his younger colleague and girlfriend were taken off, while he was left alone. I was initially ignored until a policeman twigged my BlackBerry and, deaf to my protestations, he pulled me off the train, suitcase, laptop bag and all. With about 50 others, I had my hands bound behind my back by plastic ties. We were searched and the contents of our pockets were put in plastic bags around our necks. We were frogmarched into a snowy field alongside the railway line, and ordered to wait,surrounded by armed police.

When I explained that I was a journalist, I was unconvincingly told in broken English that I looked like a "picture on a wall" of a rioter in Davos, which I took to mean I looked like some sort of photofit picture. I asked my arresting officer if he really believed I'd been rioting in a Banana Republic overcoat, dragging a wheely bag and a laptop. He affected incomprehension. It got dark and very cold as we shivered in the snow. Eventually, the police herded us into vans and drove us to a police station in a town called Landquart. Incongruously, the Monkees' I'm a Believer blasted out from the van's radio. We were marched down a ramp into an underground car park beneath the police station where we were ordered to sit, around the walls, still handcuffed, and forbidden from talking. Six police officers stood guard and forbade conversation one young woman was made to sit in a distant corner, facing the wall, primary school-style, for talking. Every so often, the motion-sensitive lights went off, plunging us into pitch darkness.

One by one, we were taken upstairs to the police station, at a rate of perhaps one every 15 minutes. After an hour or so, a policeman finally listened to my appeals and, examining my passport and press card, took me upstairs. I was photographed, mugshot-style, holding a number. Then an English-speaking senior officer ordered me to delete any pictures taken on the train, and to rip out any pages from my notebook relating to the incident. I declined, asking him whether it was truly illegal in Switzerland to take pictures of the police. He replied that policing the World Economic Forum was a "special zone" and that "special rules" applied. "You have one minute. You can do this and go or, if you don't, you stay here," he said. Again demurring, I asked to make a phone call which prompted the assembled police to go into a huddle. Instead, the senior officer reached for his phone himself and made a long, animated call in German. More discussion ensued when he had hung up. Then he strolled over and he snapped: "You can go back to your country."

Along with a contingent of anarchists, I was driven to another railway station, where we were uncuffed and put on a train to Zurich. The entire affair lasted three hours. It occurred to me that the last flight to London had probably gone.

The police didn't seem to be charging any of the demonstrators who were hauled off that boisterous train. They were, as one of my fellow captors told me, just trying to scare us: "They had been sent up to Davos and they need to show they're doing something. This is their way of saying 'don't come back to Davos next year'."

Reuters reported that things had become heated in Davos bottles were thrown at police, who responded with water cannon.

At no stage were the cops particularly frightening, And throughout, I found it hard to take the situation seriously this was Switzerland, not Iran, and things would be sorted out soon enough. But there is something sinister, particularly in this age of Twitter, Flickr and citizen journalism, in being ordered to delete photographs and rip up a notebook. And it cannot be right for demonstrators to be arbitrarily rounded up, after an event, and held captive irrespective of whether they had personally committed acts of violence. This, it seems, was kettling Swiss style.

Inside the WEF's calm cordon of privileged elite, my fellow delegates had enjoyed Standard Chartered bank's annual party the previous night, featuring an ice bar and sushi canapes, followed by Google's hip offering of cocktails and dancing. The talk had been of economic recovery, the rise of emerging nations in the east and esoteric banking regulation. It was an education to break through the cordon and unwittingly experience the grim side of Davos.
The shadow is a moral problem that challenges the whole ego-personality, for no one can become conscious of the shadow without considerable moral effort. To become conscious of it involves recognizing the dark aspects of the personality as present and real. This act is the essential condition for any kind of self-knowledge.
Carl Jung - Aion (1951). CW 9, Part II: P.14
David Guyatt Wrote:Hey, where've I seen those cop outfits before?

I don't know - was it Dixon of Dock Green?
Evening all.
The shadow is a moral problem that challenges the whole ego-personality, for no one can become conscious of the shadow without considerable moral effort. To become conscious of it involves recognizing the dark aspects of the personality as present and real. This act is the essential condition for any kind of self-knowledge.
Carl Jung - Aion (1951). CW 9, Part II: P.14

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