LONDON – As youth riots continue to erupt throughout parts of Great Britain, several leading British bankers have complained that rioters have violated national bailout and plunder etiquette as laid down by the banking industry. “These protests are utterly unseemly and completely lacking in irony,” said Duncan Greenwood, chief executive of Lloyds Banking Group. “These youth have no sense of art. They have completely ignored the principles of massive wealth transfer that we painstakingly modeled for them.”
“Smashing windows is so narrow and old school,” said Royal Bank of Scotland Executive Peter Daniels. “Carrying off armfuls of MP3 players is such a precious waste of time when they could be lobbying parliament for emergency bailouts.” Daniels complained that the youth have no appreciation for exploiting a crisis. “With incompetent disciples like these, one really begins to lose hope for the future of wealth transfers. Banking’s hard-won heritage is being wasted.” Barclay’s executive committee member, Sally Jenkins, said, “If they don’t get it right soon, we’ll have to show them how to do it properly again and again and again.”
Riots broke out in Tottenham, north London, on Saturday and soon spread to other areas in London, including the capital’s main shopping district, and other major British cities, such as Birmingham, Manchester, Liverpool, and Nottingham. On Monday afternoon, large gangs roamed east London, attacking buses and setting cars alight.
“That’s just tacky and one-dimensional,” said Royal Bank of Scotland’s, Eric Vickers. Vickers attended the Manchester riots and addressed the protesters Thursday. “Gents, you need first to convince the populace that you are too big to fail,” he said through a bullhorn. “Then persuade parliament the economic downturn is the fault of the irresponsible working classes. Next fill the prime minister’s cabinet with people from your own industry. And be sure to inherit a sizable fortune.”
After Vickers’ address, one rioter, Simon Potts, explained to Vickers that he planned, “like Lloyds, to pay out £950 million in government money as staff bonuses to my fellow rioters.” The crowd cheered. “Good thinking, my boy. You’ll go a long way,” answered Vickers. Vickers reminded the rioters that their bonus plan would be much more acceptable if they first claimed to pay out bonuses of £1.3 billion and then sheepishly reduce it to £950 million. “That’s the sort of subtlety you need,” added Vickers. “People respect financial humility, and be sure not to giggle while you explain it.”
Yesterday’s emergency debate in the British parliament sought to counter the complaints of bankers. Prime Minister David Cameron rejected the claim that the riots reflected poorly on the subtlety of working class youth. Cameron explained that the riots were “an integral part of the coalition government’s Rebuilding Britain Program 2011.” Cameron explained that by paying the youth to riot, the government saved funds that would have to be contracted to expensive demolition teams. He argued that the program not only provides jobs for working class youth, it also produces work for countless security agencies. “We’ve called in an additional 16,000 riot police in London alone, many of whom were home just watching TV, unpaid.” Cameron reminded parliament of Britain’s proud history of using civil unrest to get out of economic downturns and distract the populace from larger crimes, such as police and government involvement in the Rupert Murdoch phone hacking scandal.
Lesley Pearson, a rioter in Tottenham, objected that the Cameron paid-rioting program “should include a bit more pay for the rubber bullets and water cannon.” She complained those measures were not specified in the original contracts. A rioter in Nottingham, Sean Withers, said he was thankful for government riot-work, but “banking executives should get hit with water cannon, too. The penalties should be the same for working class students and banking executives.” But the Attorney General, Vince Pickles, rejected this equalizing option because, “if everyone were punished like banking executives, then no one would be punished. And we have to have swift, tough action somewhere.”