The Weekly Quill — Big Brother in the Bank Account

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Examining the Potential of Central Bank Digital Currencies

There was a lad in Glesga town, Ramensky was his name
Johnny didnae know it then but he was set for fame

Now Johnny was a gentle lad, there was only one thing wrong
He had an itch to strike it rich and trouble came along
He did a wee bit job or two, he blew them open wide
But they caught him and they tried him and they bunged him right inside

And when they let him out he said he’d do his best but then
He yielded tae temptation and they bunged him in again
Now Johnny made the headlines, entertained the boys below
When he climbed up tae the prison roof and gave a one-man show

But when the war was raging the brass-hats had a plan
Tae purloin some information, but they couldnae find a man
So they nobbled John in prison, asked if he would take a chance
Then they dropped him in a parachute beyond the coast of France

Then Johnny was a hero, they shook him by the hand
For stealing secret documents frae the German High Command
So Johnny was rewarded for the job he did sae well
They granted him a pardon frae the prison and the cell

Let Ramensky Go, Roddy McMillan, 1963

Every now and then, crime pays. In the best of times, you get on the job training that paves the way for God and Country. So it was with Jonas Ramanauckas. In 1905, the world greeted him to a life in Glenboig, a mining village on North Lanarkshire, Scotland where he followed his father into the clay mines and learned how to use dynamite and gelignite. And then the depression in the wake of World War I struck alongside the death of his father, sending the family to tenement life on the south side of Glasgow. It was then that Jonas became Johnny Ramensky, a soon to be legend in the underworld. His strength and acrobatic skills made him a quick burglary study. But fame awaited in his attaining Peterman status, that of an expertise in safecracking.

Early on, even his pursuers knew Johnny was not a hardened criminal in the traditional sense. His reputation grew with every rooftop scaled, but he also lived by a hard code — his targets were limited to businesses, not ordinary people, and violence was anathema to such an extent he never resisted arrest earning him the nickname “Gentle Johnny” among Scotland Yard’s detectives. Upon learning Detective Superintendent Robert Colquhoun, one of his adversaries, had fallen ill, Johnny sent word wishing him a speedy recovery with a postscript that he’d been working too hard pursuing him.

In the end, we cannot speak of glamour and Johnny in the same sentence, for he spent 40 of his 67 years behind bars. Some of these sentences were presumably carried out by choice. He was both the last man to be shackled in Scotland and the first to break free from Peterhead Prison, a feat he would go on to repeat four times. It was in that very prison that Johnny secured redemption. In 1941, Johnny was two years shy of finishing a five-year stint when he learned of the Nazis’ atrocities. The moment he was released, he was offered a special assignment with the 30 Assault Unit. The commando unit was led by Ian Fleming, a naval intelligence author who would one day find his calling as an author.

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