“Have you no sense of decency, sir?

09 Dec
Brian Gable:The Globe and Mail

Brian Gable:The Globe and Mail

Dateline New York

Every so often whilst surfing my television, I see a group of men and women standing on a balcony in the New York Stock Exchange. A bell is ringing the end of Trading for the day and these 10 or 12 Howdy Doody types are applauding, all smiles.

In the middle of a financial crisis where millions of people worldwide are living in abject poverty, financially ruined by the wanton greed of a few insecure men who feel they must own everything in the world, these Stock exchange puppets are exuding an almost psychopathic pleasure. Is their world really that good ?

Dateline Toronto.

Last summer the entire downtown core of Toronto was fenced off by the various governments of Canada and guarded by hundreds of policemen. This was done to ensure the safety and privacy of the G 10 representatives who were in town to discuss the financial woes of the world.

They had booked every room in every upscale hotel in downtown Toronto. They needed those rooms because they came with staffs in tow. The total cost of this convention to the Canadian taxpayer may only be known by the trolls of secret government sepulchers and their masters, perhaps only the Prime Minister of Canada himself. I heard post convention reports ranging upwards to half a billion Canadian dollars.

Referred to as a Summit by our governments, these meetings are attended mostly by men and a few women. The men, habitually unimaginative, gave me no confidence. They looked as if they’d been cloned. Their suits, shoes and socks all black. Their shirts all white. Their ties of primary colors. Nary a trace of individuality anywhere. The small women’s contingent had dressed themselves in the dowdy, power-executive look.

To close out their summit, these financial wizards gathered, all smiles and palsy-walsy, for a group the table isphotograph while outside a patrol car burned, store windows were being broken and people arrested.

Dateline Brussels

A G10 redux doubled. This time its Brussels turn to host the clones of the financial world. One needn’t  look at the photographs. They are just Toronto’s G10 a year later, doubled.

Brussels is the capital of Belgium and its largest city. Brussels is also the de facto capital of the European Union and as such, lends an additional significance to the conference.

I’ve learned to give only partial attention to the media reports from these Summits. What I hear year after year is pretty much the same. “The world is in financial trouble and something must be done. Whilst living in luxury, we’ll spend multi-millions of your dollars, working hard to solve our problems and the problems of our friends.”  From Brussels however, I hear something new.

Belgium has run out of limousines. So many financial wizards, staffs attendant, have descended on Brussels, Belgium cannot satisfy their needs. It neither safe nor dignified for these financiers to walk. Panic. Oh woe is me.

Calls are made to all the surrounding countries: send us your limousines, clean and chauffeur driven, the chauffeurs in livery of course and make sure they get here today.

As the limos begin to slow their glide to the grand Palais, dark suited men deftly alight from a front door and, perfectly timed, open the back door just as the limo stops.

Black clad clones alight and to an accompaniment of obsequious gestures,  self importantly follow their red carpet to another set of open doors . Inside huge banquet tables await them. They’re covered with linen and  crystal glasses befitting the finest wines. The distance from the rims of the rich china plates to the edge of the table are ofmeticulously measured to ensure all plates have pride of place.

When I view these scenes I think of Joseph Welch the attorney who finally and decisively confronted Joseph McCarthy with the question, “Have you no sense of decency, sir? At long last, have you left no sense of decency?”


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One response to ““Have you no sense of decency, sir?

  1. Bill Youhass

    December 21, 2011 at 8:19 pm

    Priceless, so artistically getting to the core of it all.


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