Sunday, February 08, 2009

Will Brown find a Backbone on Bank Bonuses?

Well Alistair Darling said all the right things on the Politics Show - about what a disgrace it was that senior managers in banks paid themselves such obscene bonuses while leading us to hell in a hand cart. They're all right in their mansions while the rest of us fear for our jobs and worry if we'll ever get a mortgage again.

So you'd think, that if the Government were so opposed to these huge multi million pound payouts, they'd stop 'em now they control such a whopping share of the banks. Nah. What do we get? An independent review!

Come on, it doesn't take a rocket scientist to see that these bonuses are plain wrong, that the whole culture of the banking system, built on incentivising short term risk, is utterly wrong.

Compare and contrast with Nick Clegg's clear and decisive plan to stop what he calls the casino capitalism and end these massive payouts. He wants rewards to come for sustainable financial management rather than heady short term gains.

Be clear, though, that it's only the senior executives, who have been responsible for this chaos, that he wants to penalise. The people who are on the front line, the staff who serve people in the branches and on the phones, should continue to be rewarded for good performance.

It's quite clear that the Government could quite simply be more decisive about how it uses its large shares in the bank. Each of us is paying £1000 for the privilege of keeping them afloat, and we don't want to see millions going to people who got us in this mess in the first place.

Why does a Labour Government find it so difficult to say "enough - no more" to big business yet so easy to penalise the most vulnerable in our society?

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