Government for the people and by the people, rather than Government for the banks and by the banks, is the theme of Simon Jenkins' piece in the Guardian this morning.
This so-called crisis is being run by and for banks. They were burned by the credit crunch, by their own reckless lending to a housing bubble and to spendthrift governments. Declaring themselves too big to fail, they demanded policies whose sole virtue was to see their loans secured, at whatever cost to the European economy. They do not want a collapse of even a part of the euro, as that would jeopardise their balance sheets.
The banks share with Assad of Syria a determination to hang on at all costs, to maintain power whatever the butcher's bill. Countless millions across Europe are paying the price; like Assad the banks are mired in criminal malfeasance, exploitation, fraud and corruption. We are at an absurd point at which the British taxpayer throws £100m at a bank only to have the bank pay the same £100m to the US authorities as a 'fine' to keep the bank's bosses out of jail. Why not save the £100m and imprison the whole corrupt caboodle ourselves? Well, because the banks and the government are one. Each protects the others' back.
Jenkins writes 'When Nero duly fell from grace and committed suicide, he cried: "What an artist dies in me."'. Well, almost. He only determined to die less painlessly than being beaten to death by the horsemen then approaching his villa, and when the time came he lacked the courage and had to ask Epaphroditos to do the deed. We don't have an Epaphroditos to thrust the blade into the heart of the banks. But if we did, yes, they might say "Qualis con-artifex pereo".