Feb 062012

If you read certain articles, you might believe that the current UK government is anti-business. The Tories ? Anti-business ? That is simply preposterous – the Tories would never let the government be anti-business. They are after all in politics to help their business buddies.

What certain bankers don’t understand is that there is a certain level of anti-banking here – which is not anti-business. Banks are merely a subset of business, and given that many banks are “too large to fail” comprise a rather special category of business that is not very business-like.

And the government is not really anti-bank at all, but anti-preposterous banking bonuses. Banking bonuses seem to have risen out of proportion to the value that people add to a bank. As mentioned before, no person is wholly responsible for the success or failure of a bank – a CEO may come up with a great plan, but his or her underlings have to carry out that plan. And the success of the CEO is dependent on how effectively his or her plan is carried out.

Personally I do not have a problem with bankers earning millions in bonuses (and I’m very unlikely to ever get such a bonus), providing that :-

  1. They are properly taxed.
  2. They are proportional to the bonuses given to every other employee in the firm.

It is interesting to see that the bosses of National Rail have voluntarily given up their bonuses into a fund for improving the safety of railway crossings. Whilst there was some pressure about the potential size of their bonuses, it was nowhere near as much as that received by the banking bosses, and they gave up their bonuses a lot quicker – nice to see that some business leaders see that their bonuses may be a little excessive after all, rather than whinging about how the government is “anti-business”.

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