The Blog

We've Found Plenty of Nothin'

Astronomers have just found nothing. Hold the front page! Actually, they have found so much nothing that it made the news. This nothing is in space, where you would think that nothing would not look out place but this nothing is so humongous that it has men with Biros in their shirt pockets scratching their enormous heads.

It is a nothing that is 1.8 billion light years across. To put that into perspective, if you had a car that went at twice the speed of light, it would take even longer to drive round it than going between junctions 6 and 9 on the M25 in a bus on a bank holiday.

This "supervoid" is a space in that should contain 10,000 galaxies. A galaxy is a very big thing. You are in one right now. You are in the poor end of the one called The Milky Way, which is itself the Sub Saharan Africa of galaxies. Other galaxies cross to the opposite side of the universe to avoid us. Which is not to say it isn't big. Our big, dirt poor galaxy has 40 billion planets in it just like ours that could have life on.

This void of nothingness they have just discovered should also be as full of life. That's 10,000 missing galaxies multiplied by 40 billion potentially inhabited planets, which is a very large number that just broke my calculator.

It is an area of the sky that should be as teeming with life as the shower floor in your gym, yet there is nothing there.

It is such a gaping void that bankers must keep their decency in there.

HSBC is a British bank. It is one of the great success stories of the "industry" and is the largest bank on earth, in terms of the amount of money it makes (which is the only term these people are interested in).

It is one of the most profitable enterprises that the world has ever seen. In the six months to June 2014 it made a gross profit of £7.33 billion. That is £7,330,000,000 in the time it would take for a bank to OK your mortgage request.

Coincidentally, £7.33 billion is also the exact amount that is known in banking circles as: not nearly enough.

HSBC is smarting because it has been asked to pay...what do you call it now? Last year they were forced to pay £750m in bank levies. That is about 5% of their yearly earnings. Isn't that awful? How do they cope?

They are concerned that a new government could further "damage" the bank and investors are not happy that money that could be paid to them in dividends is, instead, going to prop up the NHS, fill pot holes in the roads, run schools and all the other stuff that governments find to waste bankers' tax money on.

There is nothing for it. They are threatening to up sticks and relocate to Asia, where they will have nothing to do but sit in their air-conditioned offices and count all the money they are saving.

Of course, they wouldn't be in a position to relocate if we, the tax paying public, had not bailed the banks out when their stupidity caused them to fall flat on their faces. It is true that HSBC did not take any actual money from us, but every bank on earth benefited whether they took the cash or not.

If one big bank fell, what do you think would have happened the very next day? Every person with a bank account on earth would have formed a disorderly queue to get their money out of their local branch. Chaos of a magnitude the world has scarcely seen would have ensued and the whole lot would have come crashing down. So, you're welcome, you ungrateful ba**ers.

Other experts in the City are predicting a massive exodus to the Far East, where governments aren't so beastly as to ask them for some spare change. This will mean thousands of British workers will be handed the sack and Britain will become much poorer.

In the playground it would be called twisting your arm. Grown ups call it something else.

I think they should relocate to the centre of the supervoid.

In space, no-one can hear you scheme.