Wednesday 13 April 2016

Holy Smoke

The latest "Private Eye" just came, in the shops in the next day or two, and on the first page has a Quote Of The Decade citing David Cameron in 2008.  It states: "The vast majority of (the City's activities) are extremely healthy for the world's financial systems. My father was a fourth or fifth generation stock broker so maybe that this is inculcated from an early age, but I do believe it."

Doing a quick count on the fingers and toes it appears that this takes us back to the mid and late 19th Century, an interesting period in the history of finance and banking.  My first thought was the major crash of 1866 involving Overend Gurney & Company, see Wikipedia.

But it became more interesting.  His forebear, Sir Ewen Cameron, after qualifying as a chartered accountant, joined the Hong Kong and Shanghai Banking Corporation, see Wikipedia, in 1866; later becoming a Director and then Chairman.

Another forebear, Emile Levita, in the same general period, became a Director of the Chartered Bank of India, Australia and China, see Wikipedia.  What these two banks had in common was a major interest in the financing of the extensive opium trade.  There is no smoke without fire.

Yet another, Alexander Geddes, made a fortune in grain dealing in Chicago before returning to Scotland in the 1880's.  In the history of finance and trading this was certainly the Wild West, red in tooth and claw, unregulated where everything could be done and was to fleece the unwary, unwise, widows and orphans.

The history of China, also, in the period of the mid, late 19th Century and early 20th Century is far from being a happy one.  Among their serious problems was extensive drug addiction to opium.    The Chinese are very conscious of this and when our Tory boys are doing deals they need to be careful.  Revenge is always best taken cold.

Religion may be said to be the opiate of the people, according to a contemporary of those mentioned above, but banking may be the opiate of our present elite.


  1. Perhaps this is where Cameron's preference for the EU comes from. To do business in the modern world we need to bury ourselves in the EU because of the activities of his family and their ilk in times gone by.