All entries for July 2007

July 14, 2007

Unwitting Truth? You Can Bank On It…

And that is a terrible pun in the title, I will admit that. But this is a tale of a high street bank, the accidental truth and the complete farago.

I’ve got a new bank account. I didn’t really want it, not that it’s a bad thing in itself, but it became essential with the news that HSBC are a bit lame no longer offering interest free overdrafts for graduates. Read about it here. Sort of. Go on. Not that I did of course. I still haven’t even received my letter from HSBC informing me of the change. Admittedly my post goes to my parents’ house but I was there last Saturday and nothing. Considering that they were going to start inflicting interest on me as of today, that’s not great customer care. The postal strike was yesterday not last week. In fact I found out about this via Facebook, another slightly daming indictment of the mainstream media’s dislocation from a lot of young people.

Blah blah blah.

HSBC’s guff is not a million miles from common sense. They want graduates to realise the value of money, that there’s no such thing as free money, and that real people in the real world pay interest on their overdrafts. No shit Sherlock. Do they really expect us to believe that? It is, ostensibly true. But to believe for an instant that that’s HSBC’s benevolant, educational intention would be akin to believing that lemonade comes from cows. If HSBC meant it would they have sprung it on people with mere weeks to go? Would they not have sent out invitations to come into the branch and talk money, talk ways of being a responsible adult? And do they really think that people at university are stupid? Seriously? Even the ones at Oxbridge, St Andrews, York, Warwick…?

No, this is a money grab. The honourable thing to do would be to not apply this to existing accounts, opened under a different set of circumstances. This is not the same as changing the interest rates on an account, this is changing the account. There are people out there with £1500 overdrafts who are well aware of the value of money. There are many cases of people, graduates, who have planned their summer, or their first months of employment, around paying off these debts. They knew their overdraft was not going to be interest free forever, but that it would reduce in size slowly and in line with them having cash to put into it. The other banks do this, reducing overdrafts by £500 a year usually.

And so I’ve left HSBC. Partly I don’t want to pay the interest. Partly I am outraged at their attitude. The staff in their banks are shocked at the decision. In fact, the staff who dealt with me were absolutely lovely and deserve medals for being understanding. I will never bank with HSBC again, and I am not the only one. Banks are greedy, but to see one being so opportunistic, so disregarding of its customers, and so full of patronising bullshit… well, it’s certainly enough to make the others look great by comparison.

Now I bank with Natwest. This is not an endorsement of Natwest. It’s a condemnation of HSBC. We’re not stupid about debt. You just happen to be stupid about people.

July 01, 2007


Follow-up to Charlton Athletic Women's Team Gone from Hollyzone

Any chance Charlton can buy back their women’s team now, or do they need the money from Bent to buy more crap men who will never finish second and win silverware?

Look, this is the sort of England international talent which is both proven and not setting you back £16m!

From Charlton Athletic’s website

Bishops Say The Funniest Things

Writing about web page

Don’t know if anyone remembers a couple of years back during the Hurricane Katrina disaster that Pat Robertson (the man who said feminism was a “socialist, anti-family political movement that encourages women to leave their husbands, kill their children, practice witchcraft, destroy capitalism and become lesbians”) supposedly claimed the reason for the devastating hurricane was that New Orleans native and practising homosexualist Ellen DeGeneres was presenting the Emmys? Oh how we laughed at the crazy American, and conforted ourselves that it couldn’t happen here. We laughed a little less when it turned out to be made up by a website but then laughed again when we thought about it and concluded that the fact we had believed such ridiculousness reflected more on Robertson than on us.

And then we thought no more about it. That was our first mistake.

Now Pat Robertson is a minority figure, a voice only loud as the media seem to delight in hearing his ridiculous rants. Graham Dow is not a minority figure. He’s the bishop of Carlisle. And he thinks the flooding which is currently ravaging parts of England is retribution from God for gay rights.

No seriously, he does.

The fact God has waited rather a while to let this flooding come through seems to suggest a flaw in his logic. Also, note how God has managed to send the floods to places which, unlike London, don’t have a Gay Pride event this weekend. God can’t be that pissed off at gays if he’s letting them have a nice day out without those floats being rather literally named.

In fact let’s look at some other logic. There’s not much in the way of flooding here at Warwick University and the surrounding area, despite a recent history of massive flooding in Leamington cutting the town in half. There’s not been too much reported flooding by the large reservoir near Edgbaston in Birmingham. There’s not been too much flooding, or indeed any at all in Cheshire. And what do those saved places have in common? Members of the presigious (ish) Cruise family live in those parts. God, is blatantly punishing people who are not my immediate family! Die, non-Cruise heathens! Or rather, get wet shoes, non-Cruise heathens!

Sounds silly? It is silly. And so’s the bishop’s statement. But at least in this article I’ve not managed to drop a howler of such complete stupidity you wonder if having no self awareness is a requirement of bishops. Graham Dow said:

In the Bible, institutional power is referred to as ‘the beast’, which sets itself up to control people and their morals. Our government has been playing the role of God in saying that people are free to act as they want.

Right. Is that like how the Church sets itself up to control people and morals, maybe by telling them not to be gay and that if they are then there’ll be waves?

Rowan Williams, you have my sympathy if this is what you have to work with.

July 2007

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