In the strange make-believe world of pretend bank liquidity it's best not to think about the $500 trillion of worthless derivatives created by these greedy muppets. Actually, though I say worthless, there is some residual value, when all the Russian dolls are collapsed back into eachother the real junk value, the true 'worthless' balance of derivatives is much less. The UK banks are only exposed by some $10 trillion. If they wrote it all off at once, they'd all crash. So they run rings to pretend it's not there, with the connivance of the Bank and the government.
But as the Mail reports this morning, inaccurately as is becoming usual, this $10 trillion exposure gets aired from time to time when the banks are feeling threatened. UK banks direct exposure to Greek debt is a mere £2.5 billion, we're told. Small enough for the banks to bear the loss if Greece goes into default (as it will, in September, when the next £100 bn bail out doesn't happen). Ah but, the banks say, that doesn't include the worthless Greek-linked derivatives we've created; of our $10 trillion exposure, some $600 billion is tied up in Greece (and here comes the con) and this would cost £14,640 for every family in the UK.
Uhm, no. It would cost every family in the UK precisely nothing. Because we're not bailing you all out any more - you can all just crash, taking your worthless derivatives with you. And if in the chaos that follows, a few hundred fat cat bankers are hanged from the portes-cochere of Canary Wharf, well , heck.