Goldman boss says he does "God's work"

Who does he think he's kidding?

It was only on Friday that I posted on the proposition that "Jesus was a lefty" and included these words: "Feeble attempts to suggest that the Parable of the Talents shows that Christ would want everyone to work at Goldman Sachs fail to convince, and in any case clearly miss the larger point."

But lo, it came to pass that only two days later Lloyd Blankfein, Goldman's chairman and chief executive, gave an interview to the Sunday Times in which he said this: "We're very important. We help companies to grow by helping them raise capital. Companies that grow create wealth. This, in turn, allows people to have jobs that create more growth and more wealth. It's a virtuous circle. We have a social purpose." He was, he said, "doing God's work".

And Blankfein is not alone. Brian Griffiths, Goldman's international adviser, argued: "The injunction of Jesus to love others as ourselves is an endorsement of self-interest." That, in October, was within the walls of St Paul's Cathedral. Last week the CEO of Barclays, John Varley, announced in St Martin-in-the-Fields that "profit is not Satanic".

Varley may have had a point, but I don't think Griffiths did. His is a frankly vile distortion of a message that ultimately is one of selflessness, not self-interest. I don't think "selflessness" is a word that comes to mind when one contemplates Goldman Sachs, or any of those great temples of commerce whose false gods were exposed by the crash. We are all too aware of how much "self-interest" matters to them, with their offensive pleas about how they can't be expected to manage without Lottery figure-sized bonuses. Surely we don't want to return to worshipping those idols again so soon?

Sholto Byrnes is a Contributing Editor to the New Statesman
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The section on climate change has already disappeared from the White House website

As soon as Trump was president, the page on climate change started showing an error message.

Melting sea ice, sad photographs of polar bears, scientists' warnings on the Guardian homepage. . . these days, it's hard to avoid the question of climate change. This mole's anxiety levels are rising faster than the sea (and that, unfortunately, is saying something).

But there is one place you can go for a bit of respite: the White House website.

Now that Donald Trump is president of the United States, we can all scroll through the online home of the highest office in the land without any niggling worries about that troublesome old man-made existential threat. That's because the minute that Trump finished his inauguration speech, the White House website's page about climate change went offline.

Here's what the page looked like on January 1st:

And here's what it looks like now that Donald Trump is president:

The perfect summary of Trump's attitude to global warming.

Now, the only references to climate on the website is Trump's promise to repeal "burdensome regulations on our energy industry", such as, er. . . the Climate Action Plan.

This mole tries to avoid dramatics, but really: are we all doomed?

I'm a mole, innit.