Mark Steel: Hands off our greedy bankers

It's the right of every Englishman to have his country robbed blind by the banks

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You can see why, after 50 years of putting up with Europe, this was finally the issue where we couldn't take any more. Because the bastards were insisting we impose a vague regulation or two on our bankers and speculators, those brave and tireless souls who invest round the clock to keep us safe with not a thought for themselves. Well, the French had the audacity to suggest someone kept an eye on them from time to time. Haven't bankers suffered enough?

So, just like in 1940, we stand alone, and hopefully at every bus stop, you'll hear the plucky British saying: "Blooming Krauts, who do they think they are telling us our bankers aren't allowed to rob us blind? That's the right of every Englishman, to have his country robbed blind by bankers. Now Frau Merkel wants to make them only rob me nine-tenths blind until they get themselves straight. Well, we fought off the Luftwaffe, so we'll see off this lot an' all."

Soon we'll hear heartwarming stories of national pride, with old-age pensioners on the regional news saying: "I had £20 put by for a new hearing aid, but instead I've sent it off to Goldman Sachs to let them know I, for one, am willing to carry on getting fleeced by them, whether the Frogs say I can or not." And charming letters from children will be published, saying: "I wanted to stop those Europeans make nasty rules for our banks, so I sold my rabbit to the butcher and gave the money to Fred Goodwin. It might not be much, but it's all I've got".

There are many reasons to be suspicious of the European Union, but it seems the ones we're supposed to be annoyed about are when they pass rules stopping employers from making people work longer hours than anywhere else, or insisting on extra holidays.

And the City of London wasn't necessarily the most loved institution, so it's taken quite an effort for the Government to present an attempt to tax them slightly as a similar act to Hitler's invasion of Poland. So maybe other unpopular groups ought to try a similar strategy. Paedophiles should issue a statement saying: "Would you believe what they're suggesting in Strasbourg? They want a law regulating our porn sites across the whole European Union." Then the Daily Mail will scream that we simply can't tolerate this unconstitutional bullying.

And anyone caught going berserk in a public building with an axe can spend all week debating whether a European axe law would destroy our sovereignty and what the Hungarians were offering and whether we're isolated outside the Euro-lunatic zone, and, with a bit of luck, they'll have half the country in a state of confusion and the other half screaming, "At last! An axe murderer prepared to defend Britain!", while it's gently forgotten that decapitation shouldn't, on the whole, really be celebrated at all.

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