Saturday, August 15, 2009

George Osborne attacks 'unacceptable' City bonuses.

It really says something about how outrageous the behaviour of British banks has been when they find their antics being deplored by the Tories.

Large City bonuses should be outlawed in banks that have received any sort of government guarantee, according to the shadow chancellor, George Osborne.

In an interview with the Guardian, Osborne delivers the strongest attack yet on the bonus culture, suggesting that a future Conservative government would act to curb pay excesses across the financial services industry.

"It is totally unacceptable for bank bonuses to be paid on the back of taxpayer guarantees," he said. "It must stop."

The Tories exist to facilitate capitalists, so it's says something about the level of public anger at the banking industry that even these sleazebags feel the need to condemn them publicly.

"These banks need to live in the real world, where the country's in a deep recession, and where the taxpayer has spent billions of pounds, not just bailing out some failed banks, but also underpinning the rest of the banking system," he said.

"There are hundreds of billions of pounds of guarantees in existence: guarantees provided by the taxpayer to all banks, to guarantee inter-bank lending and the like. The reason those guarantees are in place is not so the bankers can pay themselves large bonuses. They are in place to keep a banking system afloat during a recession, and to allow the banks to rebuild their balance sheets, so they can function again, and start lending out in a normal fashion. If it's the case that banks are using those guarantees and actually engaging in pretty low-risk activity and making huge profits on the back of it, and then paying huge bonuses, I think action needs to be taken."

And this is, of course, exactly what the banks are doing.

They don't seem to understand that most of us go to work for a wage and that this wage is the only incentive that most of us need.

For most people, it is the fear of losing their job which is their incentive, unlike the banking industry; where their salary is not sufficient incentive and only bonuses of millions of pounds will actually be enough to make these buggers work at their full potential.

They are so out of touch with ordinary working Brits that they think making comparisons with football players will help us to understand their astonishing greed.

Bank bosses tried to justify huge pay and bonus packages last night by likening their employees to footballers and Hollywood stars.

John Varley, chief executive of Barclays, said: 'The football analogy certainly goes some way. There is no higher priority than to ensure we field the very best people.

'That is exactly the same as a football manager if they are going to win. Our obligation is to ensure we pay appropriately.'

Where does one begin with that flawed analogy? Well, when a football player scores, it is a goal. That is inarguable. For the past couple of years, the "goals" which these bankers have scored have turned out, in retrospect, to be spectacular own goals which have almost brought the world's entire financial system to it's knees.

But, at the centre of public anger, is this argument that bankers need more than their salary as an incentive to do their job. Their greed is apparently so manifest that only a bonus will inspire them to work to their full capacity.

That's so out of touch with the reality of the way everyone else lives that even the Tories can no longer defend it. Most people who fail to do their jobs properly, or who don't work at full capacity, are simply fired. I don't see why the same logic doesn't apply to bankers.

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