Editor's Blog

The complete bankers

The collapse of investment bank Lehman Brothers was one of the defining moments of the 2008 financial crash. It was the largest bankruptcy in US history and exacerbated a global banking crisis – the effects of which are still being felt today.

The pictures of staff clearing their desks and leaving the offices remain some of the most enduring images of the crash (see above). And this year on September 15, to mark a full decade since the bank went bust, those self-same staff are getting together for a reunion to “celebrate” the 10th anniversary.

A Financial News report has revealed that staff who worked for the bank – which employed around 5,000 people in the UK – have received an email addressed to “Lehman Brothers & Sisters” inviting them to the get-together in London.

The email says: “It’s hard to believe it’s been 10 years since the last of our Lehman days! ... One of the best things about Lehman was the people. What better way to celebrate the tenth anniversary than getting everyone from former MDs to former analysts back together again!”

Organisers are expecting around 200 former employees to attend the party, set to take place at an undisclosed location in London. The exact venue is being kept secret due to the controversial nature of the event.

Well, quite.

I don’t know what you were up to during the 2008 financial crash, but I was just starting out on a career in journalism, a month into my first job on a local paper up north. A month after Lehman Brothers collapsed, I was made redundant as the newspaper group scrambled desperately to make savings wherever it could.

Governments all over the world spent billions of dollars bailing out the banks. Gaining power in 2010, David Cameron’s coalition government chose to impose austerity policies that slashed public spending to the bone.

Last month, a London School of Economics report suggested that those austerity measures may have had ‘a substantive impact’ on the outcome of the 2016 EU referendum, boosting the Leave vote by up to 10 per cent. In case you hadn’t noticed, Brexit isn’t exactly going as swimmingly as it might have done.

In other words, the financial crash of 2008 caused turmoil then and continues to cause turmoil now. I see no reason for anyone to be throwing a party.

Shadow chancellor John McDonnell called the reunion “absolutely sickening”, while Dennis Grainger, chairman of the Northern Rock Action Group, said it was “in very bad taste”.

The only thing I can think is that the bankers have decided that no one likes them anyway, so what have they got to lose?

There’s a great song about the financial crash by The Divine Comedy called The Complete Banker, which ends with the warning “One day you'll let your guard down – and I'll come round again.” My only fear is that that day will be here sooner than any of us would care to imagine.

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  • Mark Dodds 24/08/2018 Of: Roythornes Solicitors

    The anger at this proposed event should be directed towards the organisers - the fact that someone has seen the 10 year anniversary as a chance to make a quick buck typifies the attitude that got us into the mess in the first place. It seems this small and insular section of the population have no remorse whatsoever for their actions!