A View From Middle England - Conservative with a slight libertarian touch - For Christian charity and traditional belief - Free Enterprise NOT Covert Corporatism

Monday, November 15, 2010

Of bankers and soldiers

British bankers are in discussions about the possibility of reducing New Year bonuses from £7bn to £4bn. The expectation is that the £7bn figure will be paid, but one banker said, "Maybe we can cut that to £4bn. But although that would be a huge reduction, £4bn is still a big number - and we'll still face attacks." I still don't think they get it. It isn't necessarily about the money. It's about the greedy attitude in the face of a grave financial crisis hitting the country. Whilst many face the New Year with unemployment on the horizon, these cheesy characters are arguing the toss about bonuses.

"One of the great paradoxes about all of this is that ministers would love us to agree to cut bonuses, but they're powerless to stop us being prosecuted under competition law," a banker has said. If that was reported correctly, then it sounds like they are hiding behind a perceived prosecution. Did it ever occur to this banker that it might not be in the public interest to mount a prosecution?

The BBC reports that British banks are said to be irked that Wall Street is resistant to the idea of a mutual agreement on restricting bonuses. "There's no chance that the big US investment banks will follow our example, which means that business and good people could leave London for New York or elsewhere, if we're seen to be paying less than the market rate," another banker said. Good people? If we are all in this together, what is so good about just going after the market rate. Are the so-called good bankers only motivated by money?

Yesterday was Remembrance Sunday. Plenty of soldiers died fighting for freedom and a better world. Soldiers are still dying today and if these current conflicts don't end soon will continue to die. Those that died laid down their lives for their country.

It seems that good bankers are reluctant to lay down even part of their bonuses for their country. Doesn't that say an awful lot about the culture that has infected the once noble profession of banking?


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