Germany’s Bundesbank, that symbol of sobriety and caution, reports that banks appointing a higher proportion of female executives results in “a more risky conduct of business.” Yes, that’s right, women aren’t the traditionally viewed paragons of safety and touchy-feely empathy.
Of course, a moment’s rational thought would have come to the same conclusion. Britain’s biggest risk-taking prime minister was the sainted Margaret Thatcher who boldly threw the dice on taxes, the Falklands, unions and privatisation. And how else to explain the tens of thousands cheerily opting to surgically implant gelatinous gloop into their breasts other than a wild propensity for taking risks? You don’t see men doing the same with their tackle.
With this finding, though, we may have stumbled onto a way out of Britain’s current dreary predicament. On present form, the predominantly-male consensus view of our prospects is years of anaemic growth marked by incessant skirmishes about which lot of taxpayers to screw on behalf of which lot of tax spenders.
So let’s round up some of these risk-taking women and set them loose. We start with the Bank of England where that cerebral Mervyn King has probably run his course. Our new chief roulette spinner there would start with a systematic edging up of the Bank Rate. It’s been stuck at 0.5% for three years and looks set to stay that way indefinitely. This is like a bright red flashing light screaming: “We have no confidence! It’s awful out there! Run! Hide!” And the boys in charge wonder why nobody’s putting any chips down.
While she’s at it, our new BOE Governess would also put a stop to all this quantitative easing. It’s inflating the stock market, robbing pensioners and just postponing the inevitable reckoning of an over-indebted society. Perhaps a good candidate for the BOE job might be found in a drug rehab centre where they appreciate that you don’t cure an addict by shooting them up with more heroin.
Over at the Treasury, our new chief card dealer would shuffle the decks thoroughly. Why take a simple but probably losing bet of a 45% top tax rate when you can go for the really big payoff? With a flash of her pearly whites and a demur wink, she’d deal out 35% or even 30% with no loopholes, exemptions or dodges. And to sweeten the pot, a boost for personal exemptions to £15,000 would really wow the punters.
She wouldn’t stop there but would bring in some no nonsense chums to clear up the VAT mess with no exemptions for anything but a simple rate of, what, 15%? Just imagine, no more Cornish pasty crumbs on the table.
Finally, there’s that riotous pensions slot-machine hall where foolish folk feed in the coins, crank the handle and get nothing back. For this job, nothing less than a Lara Croft type will do because the whole racket needs closing down in favour of a simple giant annual ISA allowance of maybe £30,000 from which you can take your money tax free at an appropriate retirement age. No more advisors, no more unfathomable products, no more rip-off annuities, no more pension mis-sellings, no more hidden fees. Ms Croft’s skill in martial arts will be needed at the door to fend off salivating politicians trying to sneak in to grab a piece of the action.
The boys have had their day and clearly run out of inspiration. Bring on the girls ready to take a chance!