The bankers have sent out a message – it’s not their fault and people should stop blaming them for the crisis. Is this just bare-faced cheek or a deeper reflection of the arrogance of the ruling class? Both, we suggest.
The bankers have sent out a message – it’s not their fault and people
should stop blaming them for the crisis. Is this just bare-faced cheek
or a deeper reflection of the arrogance of the ruling class? Both, we
Bob Diamond, the current boss of Barclays, paid a little visit to the Treasury Select Committee on Tuesday to put them right on a number of issues. With the arrogance which comes from years of involvement in finance capital he wanted to make a few points clear. First of all, there should be no more talk of holding back the massive bonuses which top bankers – not the low paid staff on the bank tills by the way - routinely award themselves. Mr. Diamond takes home an estimated £8.5 million in annual salary but still thinks he will need his probable bonus of up to £3.4 million to make ends meet. So it seems unlikely that he will be forgoing this bung and he doesn’t think his mates should suffer either. Of course, these are the same people who are always complaining about pay increases for staff earning a fraction of what he takes home and don’t get them started on the questions of benefits and dole money for the worse off. As always, it is one law for the rich and another for the poor.
However, Mr. Diamond doesn’t just want to leave it at that. No, he wants people to stop blaming the bankers for the crisis. When a committee member refered to Barclays Capital as a bank which indulged in "casino capitalism" and "blackjack", Mr. Diamond retorted angrilly: " I resent the fact that you refer to it as blackjack. I think it is wrong. I think it is unfair. … we have some fantasically strong financial institutions in this country and I think they deserve better." He demanded that people now stopped blaming the bankers and left them alone. "There was a period of remorse and apology for banks – that period needs to be over. We need banks to be able to take risk working with the proivate sector in the UK." In otherwords, stop hindering our profit making – as always, when he talks about risk, he means risk for oridinary people not the likes of him!
The fact that the banker’s Tory-led government is in the process of presenting a bill to the poorest sections of society to help pay for the bankers wanton greed seems to have escaped him. Even the normally conservative Simon Jenkins, writing in the Evening Standard, (click here to read the full article) seems to have had enough of the bankers and their arrogance. Here is a taster of what he said:"
Not long ago a public relations adviser to the banks was asked by a
journalist how things were going. He replied: “They just don’t get it.
They are on a different planet." They seemed immune to what their
profession had done to ordinary mortals over the past three years and
could not care less about rectifying their image …. Senior bankers are the highest paid salary-earners in Britain. Despite
the recession, their basic pay went up last year by a reported 12 per
cent. Most people are expected to work to their full capacity without a
colossal end-of-year bribe. For a bank chief to call such a bribe
“decent” is an abuse of language. The correct word is indecent…. Yet the top high street banks this year mean to skim £7 billion in
bonuses from predicted gross profits of £52 billion, in effect a 15 per
cent private “commission” on top of salary. This money belongs to
everyone who uses banks or holds their shares. Such practices evoke more
than envy, they evoke anger….The chief mystery is why David Cameron finds it necessary to appease this behaviour. Bankers carry few votes. Cameron, George Osborne and Vince Cable
rattle their sabres at the banks all the time. On Sunday, Cameron
threatened to “veto excessive bonuses” but he does not mean it. He owns
half these banks. Why does he not do what he claims to want, which is
switch the bonus pot, lock, stock and barrel, into a small business
Mer. Jenkins concludes:
Bonuses are poison to any organisation. As numerous books on the credit
crunch have shown, they are what distorted behaviour before the crash,
as well as creating envy and inequity. If a few bankers, and it would be
a very few, decide to take their work elsewhere, let them. We should
not be blackmailed. London has no shortage of brighter, more ethical and
less culpable bankers to take their places.
In truth, this article reflects what millions of people, now facing an uncertain 2011, are thinking. We should not be surprised. The attitude of the top bankers towards their financial bungling and subsequent desire to keep the cash flowing into their pockets shows the attitude of the ruling class as a whole. They do not expect to be held responsible for their actions because they know that their task is to extract the maximum amount of surplus-value, now as always, from the masses.It is what they are.
It is time to learn the lesson that the banks cannot be reformed or "made to see sense" – the only answer is to nationalise the lot, with compensation on the basis of need only – so kiss goodbuy to your bonus, Mr. Diamond – along with the monopolies as part of a socialist programnme that will bebnefit the many not just the scoungers of the City of London.