The American investigative journalist Greg Palast was on fine form last night launching his new book, Vulture's Picnic, at an event at the University of London Union – he's a showman, and with a supporting cast of Warren Ellis, Laurie Penny, Nick Dearden and Anna Chen, he put on a great performance, full of stunning allegations and revelations – not the least of which was that it costs him $400,000 a year in donations to keep his investigative operation on the road.
I'm about 95 per cent with Palast overall: he's brilliant on the role of hedge-funds and giant corporations in subverting democracy, and his take on how the debt crisis has made tensions between established banks and hedge funds (speculating on the banks' failure) the major fault-line in politics is breathtaking. I'm not convinced that he's right about the Chicago School origins of the euro, but more on that later.
I'll always respect the man for the scoop that did more than anything else to expose New Labour's craven attitude to big business in the Observer in summer 1998. Funny how the same old names crop up. (I did a piece elaborating on it in the next issue of Red Pepper, which is here, and, though hardly of the same import, still has some resonance, I think.)