Belfast Telegraph

Robert McNeill: Why I’m saying oh, ah, Cantona to Eric’s plan to crash the banks

Now I'd like you all to get your best sherry out. Got it? Good.

And if you've any crisps on the premises, put them into bowls. That's the stuff. Right, now, pour the sherry into a pint glass – stir in a couple of crisps too, if you fancy — and be upstanding for a toast: to me!

Yup, I won my fight against the evil bank this week, with the Financial Ombudsman taking my side in a mortgage cock-up that could have cost me four grand.

The bank offered me a paltry £300 in compensation, which they've now been told to stuff carefully into a fetid orifice.

Thousands of people were affected by the cock-up, and I feel sorry for those who accepted the derisory sums. You've got to fight back, you see. It's stressful and a hassle but, often, worth it in the end.

So, let's all doff our berets to famous Frenchman Eric Cantona (right), formerly of Manchester United, who has come up with a radical plan to bring down the banks.

Before I come to the detail, I see that some of you — no doubt fuelled by the ill-advised quaffing of pints of sherry at this time of day — are objecting: “What does he, a footer player, know about banking and finance?”

Madam, have I not just explained to you that Eric is French? As such, he is always thinking creative, revolutionary thoughts about all sorts of things. He has also gone on to act in films and has, commendably in my view, grown a beard. This allows him to make intellectual points.

He has done so before. Readers familiar with footer will recall that, after he had — in the normal course of events — karate-kicked an opposing fan during a game, he explained his action by telling reporters: “When the seagulls follow the trawler, it's because they think sardines will be thrown into the sea.”

To this day, no one knows if it was an analogy for something or an analysis of the French fishing industry. But that's Eric for you.

It's my view that people put too much store by making sense nowadays, and it's in that spirt that we must assess Eric's call for everyone to withdraw their money from the banks and thus bring about their collapse.

The People's Eric averred: “There would be a real revolution. It's not complicated. Instead of going on the streets and driving kilometres by car, you simply go to the bank in your country and withdraw your money.

“And, if there are a lot of people withdrawing their money, the system collapses. No weapons, no blood, or anything like that.”

I'm glad about the lack of weapons and blood, and there are signs that the call is generating mass support — in France at least.

In boring old Britain, as usual, loads of dull, sensible objections are being adduced as to why Eric's plan wouldn't work.

They say you couldn't get everybody to do it, that it would only be a temporary blip, that it would just inconvenience citizens and possibly bankrupt the banks, thus stuffing their customers.

They say: what's the point of bringing down the banks anyway? Oh, fair enough. Let's forget it. But at least Eric has tried to think of something.

Speaking personally, I eagerly await his next sardine.

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