We have still not finished cleaning out the office. Among other things we have found some pre-war Nazi marks. These turned up when a friend of Manos, who had come in to help, went over to the window to admire the view of the lady weightlifter who lives in one of the flats opposite. His foot went through the floorboards, not very surprising given that that was where the water used to come in when it was raining. There was a leather attache case down there, or rather its remains since it had been largely eaten away by some species of arthropod. Curiously it bore the Mad Doc’s initials, but that must surely be co-incidence. Its remains cradled a copy of Aristotle’s Poetics, pages irremediably stuck together, two silver teaspoons with London crowned leopard hallmark, a signed photograph of Butch White of Hampshire, some lewd magazines, the aforementioned currency, five pots of an unidentifiable sticky brown mixture, and the following letter, or copy. (We checked our suspicions and found it must have been sent to the Economist, in 2008.) The letter was printed but the last line was in pencil, in what I must admit did look very much like the Mad Doc’s hand.
There were all too many contentious points in your editorial ‘Barbarians at the vault’ (17th May) so may I just pose you one question? What important difference divides your assertion, ‘Financiers are rightly rewarded for taking risks, which by their nature cannot be entirely managed away or anticipated’, and ‘Gamblers are rightly rewarded for placing bets, which by their nature cannot be guaranteed to win’? My answer would be that gamblers on the whole are using their own money, and my conclusion would be that the banking system needs reform not of regulation but of personal standards.
Bastards never published, should have had a haircut before that photo I put in