Bankers’ Fortunes

 the decision of these banks to hand out bonuses as though nothing has changed is unbelievable. The only reason these bankers are still in jobs is because the taxpayer bailed out the system
If you pressed a rifle into the hand of the man in the street and asked him to choose between two targets – an MP or a banker – who do you think would get the bullet? Tricky, eh? It is hard to know which of these two formerly respectable professions has fallen further in public esteem. Some people might hesitate, like Buridan's ass, the rifle barrel weaving indecisively between two such luscious hate-objects. Most people would simply call for two bullets. But then let me ask you a slightly different question. Which of the two species has managed to steer itself most effectively through the crisis? Which type of cockroach has scuttled through the nuclear blast of public disapproval? On the face of it, there is an obvious answer, and it is getting more blatant by the day. Most of the MPs I know seem to be in a state of nervous collapse. Some of them are on suicide watch. Some of them face the task of sacking their wives and selling the house, or possibly the other way round. Some face penury. Never has Parliament been subjected to such protracted humiliation at the hands of the people. Then look at the bankers, the bankers whose high-rolling risk-taking triggered the recession that has so exacerbated public rage at MPs. The bankers seem to be waltzing off with a song on their lips and their hands in their pockets – at least, their hands would be in their pockets if they were not stuffed with money. And when I say stuffed, I mean bulging, bursting, ballooning with the biggest bonuses you ever saw. Boris Johnson now condemns the awarding of giant bonuses: "London estate agents say they cannot believe the wheelbarrows of dosh that are suddenly crashing through their doors. Savills says the number of buyers from the financial services sector has risen by 48 per cent in the third quarter of this year, purely in the expectation of yet another ginormous Christmas bonus. A knuckle-cracking realtor in Knight Frank's Kensington office says he has never seen anything like it: email after email from the boys and girls at Goldman Sachs. "We did our first Goldman's deal in June," he tells the FT, "and we are now doing five times as many for its employees as for any other bank." How did these bankers come by these new fortunes?  How on earth, having been so heavily implicated in the credit crunch, are they are suddenly able to lash out on more stuccoed schlosses in Notting Hill? The BBC has officially gazetted me as the last politician in the country willing to stick up for the bankers. It is a badge I wear with pride. We need a strong and competitive financial services industry, and we need London to be open to talent from around the world. We need to remember the damage that is caused by protracted high marginal rates of taxation, and we need to fight off poor regulation. But the decision of these banks to hand out these bonuses as though nothing has changed is unbelievable. The only reason these bankers are still in jobs is because the taxpayer bailed out the system. I don't just mean RBS and Lloyds. Even the mighty Goldman Sachs would have gone down the tubes, because it was a counter-party to so much of the debt. Now, millions of hard-working people face being asked to work even longer and harder to pay for the economic crisis – and ensuing fiscal nightmare – those banks helped to cause. These banks can no longer talk glibly about the need to offer competitive salaries to star bankers, and the operation of the free market. Their irresponsibility almost brought the free market crashing to its knees. How can they pretend that the world hasn't changed?  The banking sector now stands in a completely different relation to the wider public. Their interests, and the interests of the community, have been intertwined by the fact of state intervention, and they need to show they understand that. They need to grasp why Goldman's was recently described as a giant vampire squid wrapped around the face of humanity, and why so many people nod approval at that description. Instead of planning to hand out gigantic bonuses to their masters and mistresses of the universe, they should be lending that money to liquidity-starved British businesses. It is monstrous that good businesses are going to the wall for lack of credit, while bankers are using their taxpayer-funded bonuses to pile back into the yachts and the villas. They should also find some way – preferably collectively – to show that they understand their duty to the wider community. There is a huge divide between rich and poor in London. The banks could give much more vivid proof of their willingness to bridge that gulf. Because, if they do nothing, if they carry on pretending that it is business as usual, public anger will rightly be irresistible, and politicians will be driven to act. George Osborne dropped the hint of a windfall tax in his conference speech. Now, Labour is said to be planning some act of confiscation. How can any politician be expected to oppose such measures, when the banks refuse to learn? If they act now, if they show they understand, if they direct those bonuses now to the good of society, they may be able to avert their comeuppance in the form of tax or regulation. And it is absolutely no use their complaining that they are all paying a price for the bad behaviour of a few: believe me, that is exactly what the MPs think. There may be time to avert a windfall tax, but time is fast running out." The article appears in full in the Daily Telegraph today

27 thoughts on “Bankers’ Fortunes”

  1. Hold the phone! Boris Johnson DID defend the bankers at the Tory conference.

    Some of them [MPs] are on suicide watch. Some of them face the task of sacking their wives and selling the house, or possibly the other way round.


    Oh do me a favour!

    Not some but many farmers have been on suicide watch for a LOT longer than MPs. Remember the foot and mouth crisis? And the crisis before that.. And what about all the people who lost their pensions? What about the parents who’ve had their children taken away from them for no good reason whatsoever; a consultant watching TV who knew a mother was guilty. When she wasn’t. She’s dead – a long slow miserable death. Yet ‘Baby P’ was still tortured and many like him. What about small businesses strangled by legislation? What about Royal Mail – our once wonderful postal service that was trashed because of EU legislation. Yet the government heaps it on and the Tories won’t even mention the Lisbon treaty.

    The MPs are supposed to be an administration. They are supposed to administrate; ‘to manage or direct’ the affairs of the country. Let’s face it this lot in Westminster couldn’t manage a childrens party.

    And as we own the banks, or some of them, why blame the bankers. I blame the people in charge. And that would be the MPs. When they are not flipping houses and considering their duck ponds maybe they could do their job?

  2. PS: Boris Johnson was the ONLY politician I saw prepared to mention europe and the Lisbon Treaty. A superb rejoinder to Paxo. I understand that Boris was hauled over the coals by the Tories because of it.

    I want to see a referendum now too!

    Boris Johnson for PM!

  3. Some people might hesitate, like Buridan’s ass, the rifle barrel weaving indecisively between two such luscious hate-objects. Most people would simply call for two bullets.

    Whereas very efficient people might stand one in front of the other — killing two birds with one stone. Um, so to speak. Hypothetically, of course. 🙂

  4. What BAREFACED IGNORANCE and PREJUDICE causes you to use the term *ASPERGERS* in reference to deafness and blindness and the behaviour of the bankers. You betray your public position and need to account for the effect these words could have on societies perception of Aspergers. People with Aspergers can be deeply competent and insightful and have high moral awareness, the direct opposite of that of the bankers in fact. And of you Boris in bandying a term around so lightly which you clearly have no genuine understanding of, an act of blindness indeed. Lets see how deaf you also are to these words and this issue, this can only be accounted for by your forthcoming actions.

  5. I don’t mind how much bankers make as long as they pay us back, in full, with interest at base + 10% (to reflect the risk).

  6. Line up the bankers shot them on the asses.

    I don’t really care about the PMs. But I do feel sorry for the pathetic bunch of them acting like the bankers’ servants.

  7. (Thames airport): Johnson’s steering group to look further at the £40bn project also includes the architect Sir Terry Farrell, who was appointed design champion for the Thames Gateway Parklands two years ago, and the mayor’s deputy, Kit Malthouse, who recently claimed there was “an incredible amount of interest” from countries such as Kuwait, Qatar and the UAE in funding the airport.

    These people don’t come cheap (especially Farrell). Could Boris Johnson say how much he is spending on this steering group?

  8. So babbling Boris bashes banks- so be it, and City A.M. editor Allister Heath exposes his arguments as rubbish far better than I. But just as his mock understanding of people struggling rings hollow because it is beyond his experience, he obviously doesn’t have anyone within his close circle who is affected by Aspergers syndrome, otherwise he would never have used the word so flippantly in his description of bankers. Can we teach these people to be less loathsome? Perhaps not.

  9. Money! Money! Money! Oh, this rat race! Let us dream…

    Autumn. From the little window of my attic bedroom, I can see the dome of the tall, old Spanish Chestnut tree in the street outside our terraced house.

    Its long, toothed leaves have turned bright yellow. The tubby sweet nuts, inside the clusters of spiky, golden husks, are still clinging onto the ends of the stems like hibernating little hedgehogs. The Autumn sun has been roasting them for weeks, some of which have burst open, tipping the shining, chocolate coloured nuts inside onto the grassy ground below, tempting the neighbourhood grey squirrels. A red Mini car drives past, blowing the fallen yellow leaves on the road into the distance behind it. White smoke…

    When I was a kid, I had a little worn-out book on Greek mythology. While reading it, I would dream about those mysterious, faraway lands. Icarus and his untimely death. His youth. Golden curls. Greek beauty. And an explainable sadness just washed over me.

    Now I am looking up at the English October blue sky. It is true that the higher the point from which you look at the sky, the closer to God you feel…

    Listen

    Can you hear Autumn?
    The rustling sounds of the falling yellow leaves?
    Let us count the fallen leaves into the season…

    Can you hear Autumn?
    The gentle footsteps of a hesitating Roe deer on the crispy golden leaves?

    The fluffy tanned clouds are floating away…
    Can you hear the silence of Autumn?

    Can you?

  10. People have been making money out of misery from time immemorial, but please put this into context. Those Bankers (I use the term loosely) who are earning 6 figure sums are not those who have to sit at the counter doing the grunt work, for which they’re paid a pittance. I’d like to know how those banks, which I believe I technically own, can justify paying bonuses that just one would wipe the Duchess of York’s debts out at a stroke. On October 10th last year we faced financial ruin, now we, the tax payer, are being told that those facing penury at that time are raking it in. How do we feel, those of us who were made redundant, our lives destroyed, to have to accept this fact? Then came the tsunami of MP’s expenses, the sheer gall of those in public office who have dug their own grave by greed, outright fraud, and deception on a scale that Madoff must relish. I don’t want two bullets, I want napalm, germ warfare, and public vilification, then I might, just might, get a decent nights sleep

  11. “I’m afraid, with the best will in the world, I am not going to be Mayor of London beyond 2017.” said Boris JOhnson.

    That’s excellent news. Perhaps we will once again get leadership with clear direction, rather than one who bases his decisions on political expediency.

  12. Listen

    Can you hear Autumn?
    The rustling sounds of expense claims as our sovereignty leaves?
    Let us count the fallen soldiers into the season…

    Can you hear Autumn?
    The gentle footsteps of the European Union encroaching on the crispy poppies?

    The fluffy promises of politicians are floating away…
    Can you hear the silence of Autumn?

    Can you?

    It will soon be winter for Great Britain.

  13. London in autumn
    I am walking to a date
    We have promised each other
    That we would meet in this pub
    After downing several pints
    On my own
    But where is my date?

    Still autumn
    Another date
    We have promised each other
    That we would meet in Hyde park
    I am sitting on a park bench
    Waiting and waiting
    I am shivering
    But where is my date?
    I make friend
    With the bench
    Instead!

    Oh, Autumn
    Do you know where Brown-Eyes-Blond-Hair is?
    Brown-Eyes-Blond-Hair,
    I am still sitting here
    Waiting for you to turn up
    For so long
    The fruits of sorrow
    In the trees
    In Hyde park
    Have ripened

    Autumn
    Showers
    Cloudy
    Grey skies
    I treat my love generously
    Yet he moaned
    I was making him
    My prisoner! ( roll eyes )

    Autumn
    Showers
    Cloudy
    Grey skies
    Never date in autumn!

  14. “I’d like to know how those banks, which I believe I technically own, can justify paying bonuses that just one would wipe the Duchess of York’s debts out at a stroke.” (Ali)

    It’s a combination of the same way football clubs can justify paying silly money for the best players and that fact that the very best traders can easily go freelance – i.e. leave, set up a hedge fund and pocket 20% performance fees.

    Bonuses for senior executives and directors is another issue however.

  15. LABOUR: Campbell wants to come back

    Former No 10 communications chief Alastair Campbell wants to return to Labour to fight the General Election campaign, he says today.

    He feels he ‘owes it to Labour’ to return .

    He tells the listings magazine, Shortlist, ” A lot of people come up to me and say ‘You’ve got to do what you can to stop these Tories’ and I feel bad. I feel like I should be doing something full-on, full-time like I used to.

    ” I don’t mean to be pious about it but I feel that if you think you can make a difference, you should.

    ” If I were to go back it would be full-on 24/7 because what I did was 24/7. Read my diaries: every holiday interrupted and every weekend ruined.”

    He says that politics is ‘part of who I am’.

    On David Cameron, he says the Conservative leader has done a better job that Iain Duncan Smith and Michael Howard.

    ” I think what he’s good at is the presentation stuff – but that’s only important up to a point.

    ” I don’t think he can do the vital stuff – big strategy, big policy.
    And so (at the Tory party Conference) what he’s done is get himself as tame a media as it is possible to have in politics. They are so far up his backside it’s obscene. Cameron is just getting away with murder. It’s (the media’s) fault.”

    It was put to him that he was accusing the Conservatives of doing what Labour did.

    He replied, ” And we did it very well. But it was not a substitute for policy and strategy. And what’s more, we have the media coming at us 24 hours per day. The slightest thing, they’d pick you off. The Tories get away with absolute murder. I don’t mean they kill people, although they probably would.

    He says he is not sure who will win the General Election. ” Since the Tory conference I’ve noticed more people saying ‘I’m not sure. I don’t like the look of those Tories’. In a recent poll in the Times they went down.”

    The life-long Burnley fan reveals the one job he would love to do ‘more than anything else’: to be a football manager.

    ” I was really chuffed when Steve Cotterill (Burnley manager 2004-07) left and Ladbrokes had me down, I think, at 60-1 to take over.

    And if he had to choose?

    ” That’s a tough one. If you’re saying I could only go for one, and providing my son doesn’t read this, then I’d have to go with Labour.”

  16. Hi folks,
    I’ve fine-tuned my feelings and corrected some mistakes near the end of my poem. I mean I just want to show you how annoyed I’m still with my rubbish date. I’m sure she’s just trying to play hard to get – that’s all.

    WHAT A DATE

    London
    Autumn
    Showers
    Cloudy
    Grey skies

    I’m on my way to a date
    We’ve promised each other
    That we’d meet in this pub
    On time

    On time!
    After downing several pints
    Of bitter
    All by myself
    The night’s gone stale
    But where is my date?

    Still autumn
    Cloudy
    Grey skies
    Another date
    We’ve promised each other
    That we’d meet in Hyde Park
    On time

    Well I’m sitting on this bench
    In Hyde Park
    Waiting
    And waiting
    I’m bloody shivering
    But where’s my date?

    Oh, Autumn
    Where is my love?
    Do you know where Brown Eyes & Blond Hair is?

    Brown Eyes & Blond Hair
    I’m still here
    Waiting for you
    To turn up
    On time!

    Waiting
    For so long
    The fruits of sorrow
    On the trees
    In Hyde Park
    Have ripened

    Waiting
    For so long
    I’ve made friends
    With the bench
    Instead!

    Autumn
    Showers
    Cloudy
    Grey skies
    I treat my love generously
    I treat my love generously
    But in her mind
    I’m making her
    My prisoner! ( roll eyes )

    London
    Autumn
    Showers
    Cloudy
    Grey skies
    Oh… oooh…

  17. @Danny Boy 3 words: There was no need for you to change the genders in the poem. Just be yourself. Try and learn to be comfortable with yourself. Kinda accept who you really are. Good lucks!!!

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