Set Your Compass

So the world is in financial chaos and yet Barclays have reported a profit of £6.1 billion, RBS is planning to pay out £1 billion in bonuses, and departing HBOS executives shared a £4.5 million payout!

Shameless, greedy, disgusting, self-serving, money-grabbing … the list could go on and on! But what would be the point. The banks that we entrust with our money do not care about us. They take our money and use it to make more money for themselves. They reward themselves whether they do a good job or a bad job. They gamble recklessly with our money, lose out, get bailed out with even more of our money, and then sit back laughing in delight to the chink-chink of a fresh pot of cash from which they can line their pockets still further.

The government needs to do something about this. So what is their response? Well Gordon Brown is “very angry” about it and his Chancellor has warned RBS over their bonuses, and has proposed a (pathetic) review into banking practices. They’re also trying to use moral pressure to get the banks to see the error of their ways. Moral pressure?!?!?! Surely that can only be applied to someone that actually has morals! Which pretty much excludes every damn bank, banker and financier so far as I can see. These people are sitting on fat salaries, fatter bonuses (and fatter arses too, no doubt) whilst the rest of us (including lowlier bank employees) wrestle with the threat of redundancy and struggle to cope with rising shop prices, falling house prices, and all the other fallout from the credit crunch. What notice are such people going to take of a moral appeal? None at all!

In the case of RBS there should be no question of a moral appeal, warning or expression of anger. The British tax-payer has something like a 70% stake in RBS. That sounds like enough of a majority to not only block any bonuses but to kick every member of its board out the door and replace them with real people – the kind who live in the real world and actually have a moral compass. The kind that Gordon Brown is going to find voting against him in a few years if he doesn’t get his butt into high gear and clean up the banks and the mess that they have made!

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