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Anger on the streets (and in the annual shareholder’s meeting)

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Things are starting to get pretty ugly in Iceland, protesters have taken to the streets to complain about the government’s handling of the banking crisis which has seen this once prosperous western democracy collapse into the kind of economic disaster you’d expect to see in the third-world. It’s not surprising that they’re angry – just like the rest of us, they were told  that their economic boom was sustainable and based on solid foundations, which as we all know now is complete BS. The tide has gone out, and now it’s clear that the people running Iceland’s economy have been swimming naked.

And the Swiss are angry too – thousands of individual UBS shareholders want to know how the bank has managed to destroy their investments, whilst continuing to pay its senior staff enormous bonuses.

The scary thing about this is that it could just as easily be happening London. At the moment, the general expectation still seems to be that this credit-crunch nonsense will blow over soon enough, the property market will get back on track and everything will be right with the world again. But what happens if it doesn’t blow over? What happens if lots more people lose their jobs, house prices continue to plummet and a population that has been hoodwinked into believing that wealth comes easy suddenly has to face the kind of grim economic environment that we haven’t seen since the seventies?

Unless there’s some sort of miracle recovery in the immediate (and let’s face it, there won’t be) things are likely to get pretty bleak in the UK over the next year or two. So how much will people take before they take to the streets to demand the heads of their bankers and politicians?

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