Daily Archives: November 10, 2008

John Gapper

I hate to disagree with Jim Surowiecki of The New Yorker, who is an astute commentator, but his blithe statement that the US government’s refusal to rescue Lehman Brothers was “clearly an abysmally bad decision” demands to be corrected.

As noted before, I have a dog in this fight since I recommended before the event that Hank Paulson, the Treasury Secretary, refrain from bailing out Lehman. Since then the general consensus has emerged that Lehman’s failure precipitated the most extreme phase of the financial crisis. Read more

John Gapper

It makes me feel nostalgic to consider the possibility that Peter Burt and George Mathewson could end up taking charge of an independent HBOS as an alternative to a rescue/takeover by Lloyds TSB.

In my young days as a banking correspondent in the early 1990s, Sir Peter and Sir George were in charge of the two Scottish banks – Bank of Scotland and Royal Bank of Scotland – that emerged strongly from that banking downturn. Read more

John Gapper

Since I am the father of two members of the target demographic, I have just been to the cinema in Manhattan to see Walt Disney’s High School Musical 3. I quite enjoyed it (as did the demo) but the main thing that struck me as was how apposite it was to Barack Obama’s election.

A summary of the plot: a multi-racial bunch of kids at a high school in Albuquerque, New Mexico, put on a musical, indulge in innocent romance and plan to go off to college. The end.

Troy Bolton, the basketball-playing hero, is white. Gabriella Montez, his girlfriend and the leading lady, is Hispanic. His best friend, Chad Danforth, is black, as is Chad’s girlfriend Taylor McKessie, who is going to Yale to study political science and intends to become the US president.

They are, in other words, a perfect representation of the amiable multi-racial fantasy of many youth films in which the realities of discrimination do not intrude. They make the audience feel good about itself by presenting a sanitised version of reality. Read more