Leaked recordings of bankers from Anglo Irish feature men making jokes about the financial crisis in Ireland, and quoting the Nazi-Germany version of the country’s national anthem: ‘Deutschland, Deutschland, uber alles.’
Not surprisingly, Angela Merkel has popped up with some pretty direct criticism. She said it damages democracy and confidence, because markets could react badly to the idea that bankers don’t give a hoot, and that ‘everything we strive for’ is at risk.
She adds: ‘I have nothing but contempt for this. The tone seems to be similar across all the banks. It is for us a huge challenge to convince people who get up every day and every day do their work and always pay their taxes, do everything, even show solidarity with other people who are weaker. All of this is destroyed by that and so I have nothing but contempt for that.’
At least Merkel can take comfort in the fact that in the end, Germany's influence meant the two exectuvies lost their jobs: Anglo-Irish was disbanded during the financial crisis, with most of its bad loans being taken into Ireland's National Asset Management Agency. Still, the Irish government won't be happy: this won't make Brussels any more enthusiastic about easing the pressure to pay back its bailout debt. We feel an inquiry coming on...