There are some things you really couldn't make up.
Just imagine if you had made such a muck up of your job, taken so many short term risks that your company needed almost £37 billion of public money just to keep it going.
Would you not think you were lucky to still have a job? After all, 3,700 of your lesser paid colleagues have been shoved on to the dole queue because of your short sighted incompetence? That's not to mention the misery your actions caused to people who are now losing their homes because they were lent money they had no hope of paying back. Or the businesses owners facing financial ruin because the banks wouldn't lend them the money their sustainable business needed to keep going.
Would you really have the nerve to jump up and down bemoaning the loss of a multi million pound bonus, saying that if you didn't get it, you'd just go and get a job elsewhere?
I expect that it won't just be the ex and soon to be ex employees of RBS who will be at best bemused by the threat of the directors to resign if they aren't allowed to pay huge bonuses to senior bankers. Most people will find it quite hard to understand the unfairness of it being business as usual if you're rich while ordinary folk pay the price of their failure.
I just hope that Alistair Darling has the backbone to tell them to get lost. It'll be interesting to see which side the Tories take in all of this. It makes me think that I want all the people at RBS who are getting these huge bonuses properly investigated and sacked if they are found to have made unsustainably stupid decisions.
I'm glad to say that the Almighty Vince is being his usual common sense self:
“I would welcome their resignations, as the bank cannot hold the taxpayer to ransom.
“As a state run bank, the Government must finally take control and ensure that both its pay and lending practices are in the public interest."
Vince has said all along that the banking sector should be split up into tightly regulated banks for small business and personal customers and high risk taking investment banks that would not be bailed out by the taxpayer. The tantrums of the grossly overpaid we see from the RBS directors show that they either don't get what they did wrong, or, more likely, they do, and they are just having a laugh at all of our expense.
We taxpayers are going to be paying for the economic meltdown they contributed to for at least a generation.
I wonder what the same highly paid individuals would have said if their lower paid staff had demanded even a modest increae in salary. Would they have listened or would they have said "take it or leave it"? If anyone knows what pay rise frontline counter staff at RBS or any other bank are getting, do put in a comment. These people have had a hideously stressful year and they deserve every penny they earn.
It will be interesting to see what side the Tories come down on. Vince has been quite clear on where we stand. Will Cameron and Osborne back the greedy bankers? It would be ridiculous if having spent months slamming the Government for the necessary (if at times misdirected) fiscal stimulus to get us out of recession, the Tories supported the waste of millions of pounds of public money to pay huge bonuses to very rich people.
UPDATE: Nobody says it better than the wisest elephant in the history of the Universe
UPDATE 2: on the other side of the argument, you might like to read what a sensible lawyer has to say. Scott argues that the threat of the directors to resign is entirely rational. What he's effectively saying is that these rich bankers can dictate their terms and if the company doesn't meet them then their directors could be up for not carrying out their duties properly. What about their obligations to the majority shareholder, though, the British people? He's right about one thing, though - the Government has to legislate to make things happen and so far it's been unwilling to do anything meaningful to regulate the banks.