Yesterday the bankers apologised for the part they played in the financial crash. So that’s ok then!  I would have been more impressed if they had not followed this by trying to justify their actions and saying that the crash happened before they could do anything and had  then followed it up by volunteering to pay back their bonuses!  They had justified their astronomical salaries and bonuses by telling us that they were earned because they were the clever people who could foresee such events. We have been told for years that these “top” people would go elsewhere if  they did not get these incentives. What a pity we did not call their bluff and let them go. There must be some honest financial wizards around who are not thinking of their own bank balances and pension pots before their duty to their customers or to quote Private Frazer ” We’re doomed”.

When did this bonus culture start?  Was it always there and we did not notice it until it reached astronomical proportions? We are told that it is to reward those who do their jobs well. What about other people who also put extra effort into their jobs? Should I have received a bonus for staying to deliver a healthy baby after my shift finished, the teacher who gives extra tuition to get a pupil through his exams or gives up their free time to run an after school activity, the foster parents who take on troubled children and turn them into decent citizens etc etc.

If there are to be rewards for outstanding achievements surely there  should be a penalty for failure due to incompetence.

One of the bankers said that he had lost out too because his shares had gone down! What a shame, he must be down to his last few millions. I am sure that his customers, the people put out of work and those in danger of losing their houses will all weep for him 🙂

Andy Hornby (ex HBoS) admitted that he was  now being paid £60,000 A MONTH   Even after tax ( assuming that he has not found a convenient loophole) one month’s salary would pay a State pension for more than 7 years! When asked what he thought the job seekers allowance was, he stammered that it was probably low!

It cannot be right that – even without bonuses- that there can be such disparity in remuneration. Many years ago I remember the Liberal MP David Penhaligan (who was sadly killed in a road accident) suggesting that there should be a maximum wage as well as a minimum wage and that top management should be paid no more than ten times the salary of their lowest paid worker. Sounds fair to me!

Of course we all have to take a share of the blame for the financial mess, overspending on credit cards, buying houses we could not afford to pay for, switching banks for an extra percentage of interest and thus encouraging them to take even more risks to offer ever increasing rates, but these were supposed to be the “clever people”  whose first responsibility should have been giving their customers sensible advice, not making fairytale profits to finance their luxury life styles.

As an optimist I hope that after this mess is cleared we will have a restructured financial market, a more responsible attitude towards borrowing and be more focussed on the important things in life and not on possessions and celebrity.

Incidentally when the Opposition and some journalists give such a gloomy picture on how long it will take the country to repay government borrowing,  as though we would all be on bread and water for the next few decades.  I would like to remind them that my generation have lived through 50 years of paying back the war loans and for most of it it has been a pretty good time with huge advances in all fields, and I can only be glad that the war cabinet took out those loans as it would have a very different story had they not done so!

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