The pre-budget report from the Chancellor seemed reasonable – that is – until Vince tore it apart. Let’s just just take the bankers (no – you take them) and their bonuses.
As far as I understood it – Darling was proposing that if the bankers used their profits to increase their capital reserve – they would be left in peace. If, however, they chose to use their profits to pay bonuses – then there would be a 50% levy on any bonus over £25,000. They would use anti-avoidance measures so the banks couldn’t dodge this.
That all seemed fine until Vince got going. And he had lots to go on as the entire pre-budget report was left untouched by George Osborne’s really pathetic response. It was so astoundingly bad, embodying only political rhetoric but not a single word really about what the Tories would do, that I can’t imagine that won’t be the gist of the media coverage.
But I digress. Vince posed simple questions really: what anti-avoidance measures? No answer – just a repetition of ‘anti-avoidance measures’. What would stop bankers converting proposed bonuses to salary and thus avoiding the levy? No answer.
This is just a tiny part of Vince’s demolition job – but just those two simple questions blew gigantic holes in the idea that the bankers are going to feel any wind blowing on them from Darling’s proposals.
However, it’s not just about what can stop the bankers’ bonuses. I’ve been pondering on what sort of person must there be sitting on the Board of RBS ? To threaten to resign on mass if bonuses are not paid – is stupid, arrogant and a shocking indictment of the nature of man – well man on bank board.
I would say let the bastards go. But the real question that keeps running through my brain is what sort of human being, what individual, thinks in this time of great hardship for the country and for those hit by the recession – that it is OK to be paid a bonus? Let alone a bonus that is more than most peoples’ annual salary?
These must be pretty dismal human beings, to whom the god of money (above and beyond what they are paid for being on the Board) has made them no longer understand nor care about others’ well-being. Whether or not the Government succeeds in curbing their bonuses (and Vince’s response rather led me to believe that this was an unlikely outcome) surely this is a time when these men of good fortune should be showing leadership and saying that they would not dream of taking a bonus when others less fortunate than themselves are losing their jobs and their homes? You would think……………..
Perhaps this is clear evidence that bankers should be spelt with a w.