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Ah, the Great British press. They do enjoy a good dose of scaremongering. Hence the hacks are enjoying all their proverbial Christmases at once with the ongoing foot-and-mouth "crisis" coinciding with a very chill wind indeed blowing through the stock market.
Every day editors across the country are rubbing their hands with glee as they report on yet another farmer weeping over the loss of his income - sorry - flock, or a city trader cutting his cloth by drinking Chardonnay in lieu of champagne. The Evening Standard's doing a lovely line in billboards carrying headlines like:

"Hundreds more sheep slaughtered in mass bloodbath of wool, guts and lamby death - picture"

Despite the vast number of column inches devoted to the foot-and-mouth issue (2,732 last week), the media just can't persuade urbanites, with their instinctive mistrust of rural types, to really care about the disease. After all, it actually only effects a few thousand people in England - probably about the same number that'll be effected by the latest round of job losses in The City. The average bloke in the street won't be crying into his pint over the traders' lost income either.

Farmers may not deserve our sympathy or our subsidies as they've clearly been feeding rank old dead animal carcasses to their precious herds for so long that they've managed to create two crises within the same year. But worrying about rich city types who might lose their holiday home on the Cote d'Azure? Puh-lease!

This derisory email, doing the rounds in the city puts things into perspective!….

With redundancies at investment banks around the globe looming, now is the time for us to show the world how much we care. It's just not right. Hundreds of investment bankers in your very own country are living at or just below the seven-figure income level! Atrocious! And, as if that wasn't bad enough, they will be deprived of pay for several weeks, possibly a whole year, as a result of their redundancy. But now you can help!
For about two thousand pounds a day - less than the cost of a large screen projection TV - you can help an investment banker remain economically viable in his time of need. Two thousand pounds a day may not seem like a lot to you, but to an investment banker it could mean the difference between a holiday golfing in Florida or a Mediterranean cruise. For you, two thousand pounds is no more than three months' rent or mortgage payments. But to an investment banker, it will almost replace his pay.
Your commitment will enable an investment banker to buy that home entertainment centre, trade in the year-old BMW for a new Ferrari, or enjoy a weekend in Rio.
Each month, you will get a complete financial report on the investment banker you sponsor. Detailed information about his stocks, bonds, property portfolio and other investment holdings will be mailed to your home.
You'll also get information on how he plans to invest the £5 million lump severance package he will receive upon redundancy. Plus you will receive a photo of the banker. Put the photo on your refrigerator to remind you of other people's suffering.

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