It’s been a funny old week. Not for the first time recently, some feckless overpaid eejits have sparked a media frenzy and attracted public opprobrium for their tasteless and irresponsible behaviour – but this time the offenders worked for the BBC, not in the City.
Still, at least the ludicrously overblown Ross/ Brand fiasco has knocked the credit crunch off the front pages for a few days. Or perhaps it was just the relative absence of bad news: although the week began with a Bank of England warning that the crisis has already cost us nearly $3trn, the stock markets rebounded later in the week as the US slashed interest rates again, putting pressure on Europe to follow suit.
BP and Shell also had cause to be grateful for the comedians’ public humiliation of the shy and retiring Voluptua from the Satanic Sluts. The Daily Mail brigade was so busy pursuing its Ross/ Brand witch-hunt that it barely even remembered to rant about fat cat profiteering and windfall taxes when the two oil giants both posted gigantic third quarter profits. Unilever also seems to be making hay while the sun hides behind a big black cloud – it shrugged off downturn worries by posting higher-than expected sales. Fortunately, Pot Noodle is slightly less politically sensitive than oil.
Judging by the reaction to Ross and Brand’s public extirpation, the two comedians clearly divide opinions. But the biggest helping of schadenfreude this week came (appropriately enough) in Germany, where several big hedge funds took an absolute roasting on their short positions in Volkswagen. News that Porsche had acquired a majority stake pushed the share price through the roof – and in a country where they’re about as popular as George Osborne at the Rothschild Christmas party, there wasn’t much sympathy on display for the hedgies.
Others had more cause to celebrate this week: bmi boss Sir Michael Bishop can enjoy an even more comfortable retirement after flogging his 50% stake to Lufthansa: think-tank Demos gave easily-distracted office workers an excuse to use Facebook; and we all rejoiced in a theory that the credit crunch is actually good for our health.
Elsewhere, some accountants protested that they’re much cooler than their image suggests. Judging by the reaction to our piece, some of our readers clearly find that about as convincing as a Russell Brand show of penitence.