Peter Hargreaves: Me and my Post-It Notes

At the end of last week following days of collapsing banks and tax-payer funded handouts to scrounging spivs, it seemed like suddenly everyone was an anti-capitalist. There were protests in Wall Street, the City and here in Bristol against tax-funded bail-outs to the likes of Bradford and Bingley. Amid the political confusion even the Tories found themselves having to act angry at greed of the City fat-cats in order to keep up with public anger.

So how did our local rag and tribune of the people react to events? They ran another puff piece for Bristol’s fattest fat-cat Peter Hargreaves and his grubby stockbroking outfit Hargreaves Lansdown.

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Whilst many ordinary Bristolians face jobs loses, pay cuts, home repossessions and soaring food and energy prices because of the economic crisis, the Evening Post thinks this is just the right time to print this sickening bit of PR for the stockbroker scum who are share responsibility for the crisis.

Hargreaves Lansdown has been making money. It recently posted a rise in pre-tax profits from £40.6 million to £60.9m, despite the credit crunch that, yesterday, led to the semi-nationalisation of Britain’s high street banks

Yes, isn’t it great that whilst some capitalists are suffering a little bit of the pain they deserve for the chaos they inflict on the world, our local, Bristol capitalists are still making money. Lots of it. At least we can all celebrate that, because they are from Bristol after all, and that’s what really matters.

Between the tedious insights into the life of this dull stockbroker (His thoughts on Post-It Notes – a waste of money, what car he drives – a Range Rover, his kids’ car – a Suzuki, blah blah blah) we are treated to some pretty offensive ideological bullshit. But because his views are presented in an interview (carried out by a feature writer not an economics reporter) Hargreave’s crap goes completely unchallenged. The piece is basically a page and a half of pro-capitalist propaganda in the middle of possibly the biggest ever capitalist crisis.

Mr Hargreaves does not believe the Government will be able to find an easy solution to the current financial crisis. “My worry is they’ve dug us into a hole that I think is going to be very, very difficult to get out of.

Whilst the government certainly shares a massive share of responsibility for the crisis, it seems a bit rich a stockbroker blaming the government for the mess. In reality, the government’s real fault has been to side with the likes of Hargreaves and his City chums at every opportunity for the past eleven years.

“People are going to have to learn to live off less if we’re going to continue to compete in the world. And Britain can’t go on having a huge, inefficient public sector. . .

“There are a lot of people who, until six months ago, thought property would always go up in value, that their salary would always increase, their job would be for life . . . “

Ha. Here’s a bloke who ‘earned’ £80m last year when his company floated on the stock exchange and still owns £250m worth of shares. And he’s telling us we’ll have to learn to live on less. Because of a crisis he and his mates have created! Here is a stockbroker attacking the public sector over efficiency? Exactly how efficient have his City gambling dens been recently?

These comments are little more than thinly veiled calls for more public sector lay-offs and pay cuts. And the Post’s response?

Perhaps they should think about how many of their readers are public sector workers; the nurses, the bin workers, the teachers, the care workers, the firefighters, the hospital cleaners etc., and how many of their readers are multi-millionaire stockbrokers. Perhaps they should pick a side because we Bristolians are not all in this together.

“I was desperate for Britain to have a recession seven or eight years ago. It puts the hand of caution on people and on governments.”

That’s right folks, this scumbag is just desperate for us all to suffer so that he can get richer. That’ll teach us. And the Post’s moral lesson for us . . .

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That’s right, Hargreaves is a millionaire because he is a good and virtuous man. We are not, so we will suffer. Who needs economic theory? It’s all about morals and values, innit.

The day after this piece was published (last Thursday 9 October) the Post had the perfect opportunity to redress the balance. Around fifty Bristol students, trade unionists and campaigners held a protest against the scrounging banks and the tax-funded bail-out outside the Badford & Bingley on the Centre. Here’s the Post report. Note, no page and a half interview, no background explanations, no photo, no charming details about the campaigners’ families, or what cars (or bicycles) they own. We don’t even find out their views on Post-It Notes . . .

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