We financial hacks have been encouraged, indoctrinated perhaps, to think that London’s Big Bang was a Very Good Thing. That moment in October 1986 when the City threw off old shackles and embraced global finance, ditched boozy lunches and chased money like never before was a result for us all — so we’ve been led to understand. My word is my bond went out. In came computerised trading, and the notion that greed was good. If you could monetise a thing, turn it into something tradeable, why wouldn’t you?
In Crash Bang Wallop, published 30 years after the historic event, Iain Martin starts out sceptical but in the end doesn’t depart much from the script. The Thatcherite reforms — she was behind the principle, not the detail — may have led to yuppies, braying traders and other people of whom one could disapprove, but they were also part of Britain becoming a modern country.