Thursday, 26 March 2009

G20 - Minding Your Manners At Table

It is alleged that the Credit Crunch really began with an AIG subsidiary hedge fund in Curzon Street, Mayfair, London, trying to pile it just too high. Mayfair, home to many different peoples in the past, is now the graveyard of the UK hedge fund industry. But as a district with a long history, there have been others in the past. Just along Park Lane is Hertford Street that has two blue plaques celebrating past lives.

One is for the Irish dramatist, politician, and theatre owner, Richard Brinsley Sheridan, whose fortunes rose and fell even more dramatically than his theatre productions. At one stage, the duns had gained entry and removed his china and silver as security for his debts. Unluckily, he was shortly to hold a private dinner for a number of leading politicians of the time. So he agreed with his creditors that they would lend him back his own china and silver, and the condition he had to accept was that they appointed the waiters. So the men who served at table were a number of Bailiffs, suitably dressed and washed for the occasion.

Across the street from Sheridan is where a close connection with his family lived, Jeremy Sneyd, Private Secretary to Lord North, and effectively then head of the tiny Civil Service. Sneyd grew up on the same patch in Ireland as Arnold Nesbitt, MP a close relative and city speculator who was one of the dealers who provoked the Credit Crunch of 1772, the one that lost Britain the American Colonies when the taxes had to rise to cover government borrowing.

Perhaps the IMF should provide the crockery, the cutlery, and the waiting staff at the not quite celebratory dinners that the G20 are due to attend in London soon. Given that the other blue plaque on the street is for General John Burgoyne, I think that President Obama should insist that the Special of the Day has to be Boeuf a la Bourguigonne.

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