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One to watch

Nick Robinson | 12:47 UK time, Wednesday, 24 November 2010

Attacking the government for going soft on the banks is a political banker for any leader of the opposition. David Cameron did it. Now Ed Miliband has followed his lead.

George Osborne and Vince Cable

 

There is an added piquancy now given the scarcely concealed divide between the chancellor and the business secretary.

When Sir David Walker's plan to publish bank pay and bonuses above £1m in bands was unveiled before the election Vince Cable called his guarantee of anonymity for highly-paid bankers a "whitewash".

Now George Osborne is considering not even going that far, at least until other countries do the same. The prime minister insisted today that the government was simply following Sir David's new advice that it would be "be mistaken to go it alone."

With Lib Dems feeling growing pressure over their U-turn on tuition fees they will increasingly demand tougher action on the banks.

This is one to watch.

Comments

Page 1 of 4

  • Comment number 1.

    Can Nick Robinson not look at any issue except in terms of a split?

    There are serious economic issues that impact the country. And there is 'Westminster bubble' stuff. The BBC should be reporting how issues decided in Westminster impact the wider world where BBC license payers live. Instead we just get this triviliasation from him, where policies do not matter in themselves except to the extent that they split the Coalition or Conservative party.

  • Comment number 2.

    It does not surprise me that once again we have promises followed by disapointment - once again regarding the bankers. This government by public schoolboy is turning out to be a daily disapointment.

    Other than their cuts, it difficult to see how nu-conservative is different from nu-labour.

  • Comment number 3.

    So,Sir David Walker says that it would be a mistake to go it alone.Why?

    Mmmmh,could it possibly be because bankers have stamped their expensively
    shod feet?

  • Comment number 4.

    David Cameron = Ed Miliband = George Osborne = Nick Clegg = Tony Blair = Gordon Brown = (Add name of politician) = ad infinitum


  • Comment number 5.

    Public outrage over bankers' bonuses is far more justified than over tuition fees. They lost their right to privacy when it became clear the banks were only superficially private sector - that there was a publicly funded safety net. Private sector only during the good times, that is.

  • Comment number 6.

    This government likes to bang on about being a leader. The rather dated Economist even described them as radical. And yet when it comes to bankers they want to be followers not leaders. Is Cameron now saying he will only do something if and when the Sarkozy and Merkel tell him it is okay.

    BTW - the PM was misleading everyone at question time when he said most of the immigration came from outside the EU. As we all know you don't have to immigrate to the UK if you are from a member of another EU country. You are free to come and go as you please.

  • Comment number 7.

    Osborne is not going to make life tough for his old school mates who are now bankers. Its a bit like turkeys voting for christmas.

    Votes count for more than morals I guess.

  • Comment number 8.

    Hmmm.

    So, why does anyone - outside of those who invest and shareholders who have a duty to question remuneration packages - need to know? UKFI, given the size of its stake in RBS and HBOS could and arguably should be open about these details because the public have a direct stake in these institutions. But insofar as the rest of the industry is concerned, especially those who did not take any form of government shilling, governance of such matters and disclosure of such information is an internal matter or one for shareholders. None of the rest of us, either as individuals, or collectively, politically can do anything about it. We do not hold vast amounts of shares in these organisations, our pension funds we do not control, they are remotely managed for us (and much more needs to be done on reforming that, before this) - those of us who outside of the public sector who have still got pensions anyway - why should any of the investment banks, traders, etc, give a flying fig for what Joe Public thinks? Short of engineering a run on a bank by everyone withdrawing their money at the same time (as a certain Eric Cantona has advocated) which would be spectacularly dumb, it is not going to achieve anything.

    I'm intrigued about politicians making so much noise about transparancy and open-ness about money when you consider how many legal challenges there were and how much noise they created before the Daily Telegraph blew the lid on their expenses - and they still havent sorted it out properly and we havent even got close to doing the same with local government yet either. Yet this, this is the "one to watch"??

    This is only something to watch Nick, because its simple dumbed down red meat that is being waved around to get the plebs excited coming up to Christmas, to get their burning torches and pitchforks out. Thats all its for.

    And as for Vince.... dont get me started on Vince. The man's a complete spanner.

  • Comment number 9.

    5#

    Mind you dont blow that dogwhistle too hard mate, it'll make you go light headed.

  • Comment number 10.

    I agree bashing a banker will continue to be a very popular sport over coming months.

    Pressure from Labour and LibDems will eventually force even Dave and Georgey Porgey to do something.

    You can bet Mr Coulson will be telling his boss that after paedophiles and expense fiddling politicians, bankers are next in the line of pantomime villians.

    What makes it even easier is that the bankers show absolutely no ability to understand the public's revulsion or do anything to improve their image and standing.

  • Comment number 11.

    9
    Only if you make sure you don't overuse that particular expression. Deal?

  • Comment number 12.

    Oh dear, not another UK sell out looks likely– who would of thought it?

    Of course, we could set an example & lead from the front for a change, but why bother; after all, we are talking about the banks here & kid gloves are always the order of the day regardless of who is in charge.

    No wonder the Labour party seem to be so quiet these days; the ConDems seem to be doing their job for them, so why rock the boat.

    Don’t expect too much from Cleggy & chums, they have sold out so many times now in order to keep their delusions of power sharing afloat that opposition looks highly unlikely.
    Perhaps they need to check on the opinion polls every now & again.

  • Comment number 13.

    This is what happens when the ministeria car rolls up and the perks of office begin to be enjoyed. At the same time these politicians who are all so "high minded" in opposition turn into the people they claim to have despised when in power themselves.

    Cameron showed weak judgement when appointing his photographer. Osborne shows his other worldliness by cosying up to the bankers with this climb down. My personal hope is that vince Cable will "keep them honest".

    I want to know who beleives they are worth over 1 million. This is a testament to their greed, I also want to see their charitable giving status via gift aid for the past year.

  • Comment number 14.

    8#

    What the.... oh for gods sake.

  • Comment number 15.

    Real-world: Credit crunch, recession, public deficit, public sector cuts, tax rises, etc.

    Nick Robinson reports: Politician ‘A’ courts popularity by bashing unpopular minority blamed for credit crunch. Politician ‘B’ defends scapegoat. THERE IS A SPLIT.

  • Comment number 16.

    I agree with Freeborn John (#1) - at least to an extent.

    I do find Nick's quick summaries of political goings-on intersting, and this is a politics blog after all.

    However I'd find the posts even better if the Lib/Lab/Con positions were followed by a bit of speculation on which policy was actually most sensible. Even admitting that these things don't often have black and white answers.

  • Comment number 17.

    This comment was removed because the moderators found it broke the house rules. Explain.

  • Comment number 18.

    10#

    What, light-headed?

  • Comment number 19.

    At 1:27pm on 24 Nov 2010, Freeborn John wrote:
    "Can Nick Robinson not look at any issue except in terms of a split?
    There are serious economic issues that impact the country"

    Banker`s bonuses are a serious economic issue. They raise questions of public control over the banks in circumstances where the ordinary taxpayer is asked to bear the risk while the bankers take the profits.

  • Comment number 20.

    Cassandra 6 wrote:

    "Is Cameron now saying he will only do something if and when the Sarkozy and Merkel tell him it is okay."

    Their inconsistency and opportunism is breathtaking.Before the EU caught deficitis and were incurring debt to fight the slump,Messrs Cameron and Osborne advocated deep cuts in spending, opposed by Gordon Brown and Europe.In government they pretend to be constrained by precisely the European leaders whose policies they previouasly rejected.They are only consistent in their class interest,and savagery.





  • Comment number 21.

    This comment was removed because the moderators found it broke the house rules. Explain.

  • Comment number 22.

    Hurrah...the party formerly known as newlabour finally has a policy.

    A dog whistle bash the bankers policy. How stunningly original.

    This should fix all sorts of problems; the deficit, the NHS, the 50% of teachers found to be sub standard after thriteen years of cash.

    It's a great time to be a tory...

  • Comment number 23.

    This comment was removed because the moderators found it broke the house rules. Explain.

  • Comment number 24.

    This is pathetic. Agree with the BBC left wing agenda or get censored. And whatever you do, dont cast aspersions on Vince Cable.

  • Comment number 25.

    Step one is public data on £1m+ banker bonuses. Step two (more important) is to make sure the whole of that data can be printed on a postage stamp. Sounds easy but, for our Establishment, it isn’t. Since the 1980s we’ve venerated wide boy deal-making above all else and we now have an economy reflecting this ... we’re extremely dependent on the financial sector. They have us all ways up. Whilst booming, they reward themselves with vast sums for doing what is actually a piece of cake job. Now bust (if it weren’t for the government bailout), they pay themselves equally vast sums because otherwise – somewhat risibly - the “talent” would refuse to carry on eating the cake or would go scoff it elsewhere. An absurd situation to be sure, but looking more and more intractable. Certainly it will take a political leader of (by our standards) vision and courage to tackle it. Could that person be George Osborne? I’d like to think so, I really would, but the early signs are not encouraging.

  • Comment number 26.

    Firstly, I'd put money on Vince Cable being the next leader of the Lib Dems.

    Secondly, and speaking of rash financial wagers, the banking sector seems to be rumbling on, unchanged and unscathed, still undoubtedly gobsmacked at the lack of public outrage over us having to pay for their greedy mistakes (at least those in the City whom I know feel this way).

    And we've been told by politicians on both sides that we daren't hold the bankers to account, because if we do the cream of the crop will jump ship, move overseas and leave us in a bigger pickle than we're already in. Or so the story goes.

    Which seems to leave us with two options, those being:

    A) Like it or lump it: keep funding the banking sector with public/taxpayers money; let the banks continue holding our economy to ransom; let the old guard in the City laugh all the way to the ... err .... bank, until it happens again (or rather, is happening over Ireland); rely on political spin to persuade the public that our deficit is because of public spending and not because of the money paid out to banks during the global financial crisis.

    Or:

    B) Take the opportunity to reform the banking sector; make he banks repay the money they were given during the bailouts; let the old guard sail off into the sunset (because that's quite literally what they would do); replace with a new crop and new ethics; lead the way for other Western nations to follow. Risky and difficult? Undoubtedly, but if not now then when?

    The only person I've yet hear speak frankly about plan B is the French economic minister, Christine Lagarde, who suggested at the time of the banking crisis that we should use it as an opportunity to get tough on banks, not slacken their leash even further. If anyone has any real "balls" in this debate it's her (pun intended), and not the chinless patsy that is Mr Osborne.

    Our politics seem spineless, and future generations will look back on us and feel ashamed that we didn't do more to make the banking sector pay for its own mistakes at this time.

  • Comment number 27.

    I never for one moment thought they would ever carry it through, all the major parties are funded by these people so they talk hard but in reality there was never going to be any hold to bankers pay . We need to ditch the major parties as much as possible in all elections, they no longer represent the people of this country and in years gone by there actions coupled with those of the bankers would be seen as treasonable.

    The French have the right idea with their December 7th protest take all your money out of the banks it would bring them to their knees crying.

  • Comment number 28.

    Fubar @ 24
    Oh do stop whingeing. Everybody has to abide by the same rules. Your belief that you are singled out for censorship because you are right wing is just paranoia. Nobody's more right wing than Robin (that's almost literally true) and his comments always survive.

  • Comment number 29.

    pdavies...

    You're wrong. I believe Attilla the Hun may have been just slightly to the right of my position.

    It's a great time to be a tory...

  • Comment number 30.

    The Lib-dems need to stop acting like hostages with Stockholm syndrome and start acting like coalition partners. I want to see them disagreeing with Osbourne and friends on just about everything. The U turn on education was really disappointing, they should have stuck to their guns. Hopefully they will do the right thing this time. Stand up Liberals because- as the student demonstrations today show- they will speak for an awful lot of people.

  • Comment number 31.

    "The BBC should be reporting how issues decided in Westminster impact the wider world." - FB John @ top

    But the subject of the NR blog is “politics” in the Westminster sense. Nick can’t go in for a deep discussion of the real world impact of various policies (or policy ideas) because it would then be impossible for him to maintain impartiality – something which all but the hard-core tribals of either side acknowledge that he manages quite well.

  • Comment number 32.

    Robin @ 22 and 29 - why not tell us what your policy is on the UK banking industry.

    The great thing about winning such a spiffing election victory (with a little help from the Libs Dems) is you get to do stuff. So what would you like to do in relation to the bankers and the banking industry?

  • Comment number 33.

    "Banker`s bonuses are a serious economic issue." - bryhers @ 19

    Too right. The bank bonus culture was a very significant contributory factor in the industry’s crash. To decry concern for this issue as “dog whistling” and such like is to miss the point entirely. Let's just hope George Osborne is made of sterner stuff, that he's the astute and courageous Chancellor we need at this time. Let's pray that he doesn't miss the point entirely.

  • Comment number 34.

    27 AqualungCumbria

    The French have the right idea with their December 7th protest take all your money out of the banks it would bring them to their knees crying.

    >>>>>>>>>>>>>>>>>>>>>>>>>>>

    You can't have a pretend run on a bank, it will have no effect at all.

    The conspiracy theorists who believe that fractional reserve banking is the cause of all the world's problems have probably stashed the bullion in their bunkers anyway and have no fiat money to withdraw!

  • Comment number 35.

    28#

    I made a perfectly reasonable point in 8#, but dared to have a sly dig at Vince Cable and got censored.

    Everybody SHOULD abide by the same rules, but they're not enforced in the same way by ALL of the moderators, pd.

    You're alright, whatever you say is bound to get through, you're whistling their tune.

  • Comment number 36.

    "A dog whistle bash the bankers policy. How stunningly original." - robin @ catch

    And how stunningly original of you, Robin, to describe concern over bank bonuses in this way. See how I show (in 33) that people who do this are locating themselves a long long way from the point? Quite so.

  • Comment number 37.

    what a calamity the governments millionaires row will not give details of the earnings of their mates in the city.Surprise,surprise
    they want to expose the earnings of those in public jobs between 100k and 1million a year but not the multi millions of the bankers.
    Could it be it is these people that keeps the tory and lib dem parties afloat.
    what has this country done wrong to deserve such a shameless set of leaders from one useless government to another.

  • Comment number 38.

    Robin @ 29

    You almost sound regretful.

    Don't worry. There's the inevitable drift rightwards that comes with age; you could still overtake ATH on the home straight.

  • Comment number 39.

    #27
    Aqualung, it won't work - see the Who,what and why column in the Magazine. The only thing it will do is irritate people who like to use cash - electronic transfers won't be affected.

  • Comment number 40.

    We know Osborne couldn’t care less about this. And frankly Vince Cables whitewash remark is a whitewash in itself. What has Vince Cable actually done and what does he plan to do? The answer is ...follow the conservative party down a road of sheer ideological madness and aberration. Enjoy it while you can Vince, if you had any decency you would resign now and take the Conservative Clegg and all the other Conlibs with you.
    In regard to the bankers and banks, I wonder if it could be more appalling. Here’s the charge sheet
    1. Allowing, encouraging and participating in risky and immoral trading.
    2. Paying grossly inflated salaries and bonuses especially in comparison to the jobs benefit to society.
    3. Causing worldwide recession that caused misery to millions of peoples lives.
    4. Accepting taxpayers money and then continuing to pay grossly inflated salaries and paying back the taxpayers money that was lent by charging the taxpayer inflated and immoral bank charges. Especially targeting those who were already hit hardest by your mistakes in the first place and can least afford to pay.
    5. Restricting lending to businesses in need and hoard the cash given for this purpose.
    6. Happily continuing to receive govt backing, continue unethical practise, continue to pay excessive salaries and bonuses and enjoy life in luxury.
    7. Making thousands of ordinary lower paid banking staff redundant.
    8. Sticking two fingers up at all the millions of lives and businesses destroyed and about to be destroyed.
    9. Continuing to support the parties that facilitate this practise in every manner possible.
    10. Showing wilful contempt to the public.

    Guilty as charged.
    I sentence you all to............absolutely nothing. Please carry on.



    ” The modern banking system manufactures money out of nothing. The process is perhaps the most astounding piece of sleight-of-hand that was ever invented. Banking was conceived in inequity and born in sin….But if you want to continue to be slaves of the bankers and pay the cost of your own slavery, then let the bankers continue to create money and control credit.” ……Josiah Charles Stamp



  • Comment number 41.

    36#

    "Concern"..... yeah, {irony on} ...right. {irony off}

  • Comment number 42.

    FBJ @ 15

    "Politician ‘B’ defends scapegoat."

    Making me wonder if you know what "scapegoat" means, John. Anyway just in case, it means being blamed for something which wasn't really your fault. So not a good term for the banks (obviously!) but apt for, say, a situation like when Beckham got sent off vs Argentina in the WC game in 98 - you remember? - the hanging effigies and all that. He was our scapegoat back then. We scapegoated him.

  • Comment number 43.

    So the Government publish any salary in the public sector over a level that is no where near a million pounds and that's good because taxpayers need to know how their money is being spent to exert influence.
    However, for the banking sector that the tax payer has supported, by a number of schemes, to keep liquidity moving and where we actually own majority stakes in a few companies its not good to know how our money is being spent.
    So the Governments policy is we can have an influence in the public sector but not in the private sector where we are also shareholders.
    What kind of arguement is this? No wonder you could hear a pin drop on the back benches behind DC at PMQs today -this line is just not sustainable.
    It is really laughable that he thinks the voters will buy this one.

  • Comment number 44.

    26. Skol303 wrote:

    Secondly, and speaking of rash financial wagers, the banking sector seems to be rumbling on, unchanged and unscathed, still undoubtedly gobsmacked at the lack of public outrage over us having to pay for their greedy mistakes (at least those in the City whom I know feel this way).
    -------------------------------------------------------------------------
    Who says the public isn’t outraged?
    We voted to get rid of this NuLabour attitude, but we now seem to have got a crew that is just as spineless as the last lot.

    The City & banking institutions run our country now & what they say goes; the “Little People” are a mere incontinence to them.
    That should have become clear yesterday with the new immigration rules complete with loop holes the size of hula hoops & today’s apparent climb down (yet again) by Osborne regarding the publishing of bankers pay & bonus details.

    Heavens; we aren’t even talking about getting rid of the bonus culture-which has pretty much brought our country to its knees – just publish the details.
    After all, didn’t we bail these guys out using OUR money?

    The UK Government are just a bunch of patsies, nothing more.

  • Comment number 45.

    Hmmmm.....

    The banks make profits. They can keep them and be taxed at 28% or pay them as bonuses which will be taxed at 51%

    Which would the baying Lefties prefer?

  • Comment number 46.

    fubar @ 41

    Re the "ease" of banker-bashing: just because something is easy doesn't mean it isn't good and right and it shouldn't be done. Where would we all be if we followed that rule? No, to B-B is more than fine but there comes a point when, if the BBing is coming from politicians, there needs to be some teeth-laden policy to address the excess and abuse they're bashing. Absent such policy, politicians of all parties - politicians, pls note, as opposed to left and leftish posters on here - leave themselves open to a charge of (if we really can't think of a better term) ... dog whistling.

  • Comment number 47.

    25 - "Since the 1980s we’ve venerated wide boy deal-making above all else and we now have an economy reflecting this ... we’re extremely dependent on the financial sector. They have us all ways up. Whilst booming, they reward themselves with vast sums for doing what is actually a piece of cake job."

    Don't you claim to have been part of that?

    There you are decrying how unjust riches give the children of the wealthy an unfair advantage and yet by your own claims, you were unjustly enriched yourself.

    So what's the difference between some idle trustafarian, swanning about with nothing much to do and making nothing of his life and you, supposedly swanning about with nothing much to do and making nothing of your life?

  • Comment number 48.

    Bankers and their bonuses have become the pantomime villain of the piece, thus precluding any actual debate about the the banking industry.

    Politicians change their tone when they get into government because there's a big difference between rhetoric and actually being the person who makes decisions (see: Liberal Democrats). I honestly don't know why the public find that so difficult to understand.

    For the majority of malcontents on this HYS the banker bonus issue is just a spokescreen for their real agenda which is the *amount* that these people earn ("Oh the humanity! How can anyone be worth that much money?!"). I call that the politics of jealousy, and history has told us that it typically doesn't get us very far (see: 1970s).

    One final point. I know someone who works for RBS in a call centre in Peterborough. He earns around £20,000 a year. He gets a £250 Christmas bonus. When papers quote 'exorbitant bankers bonuses' of billions this, and the Christmas bonuses of all those in his office, are included in that figure since RBS are a bank. Don't accept everything you read without question.

    Final obligatory comment so I don't get pelted with eggs (too much): I am not a banker.

  • Comment number 49.

    44 - "new immigration rules complete with loop holes the size of hula hoops"

    So the loop holes are very small and impossible for anyone to get through?

  • Comment number 50.

    44 - Oh....THOSE hula hoops.

    Not the savoury snack.

  • Comment number 51.

    45#

    Dont ask them that Andy... far too complicated.

  • Comment number 52.

    There is a major split here between Osbourn and Cable and there is a real danger that it could widen. Cable is already mad as hell about the student fees and this will add fuel to the fire.

  • Comment number 53.

    "With Lib Dems feeling growing pressure over their U-turn on tuition fees...."

    A "U-turn" is putting it a bit too mildly. Knowing their policy was undeliverable, the Lib Dems told deliberate falsehoods in their manifesto in order to win seats.

    They have no moral authority.

  • Comment number 54.

    Dear Andy @ 45. You still don't get it do you. These days it is not just the lefties that despise the bankers.

    Answer me this - would you say the bankers at RBS and LLoyds who lent so much money to Ireland deserve the millions of pounds they took in bonuses?

  • Comment number 55.

    46 so what would YOU do saga?

    What changes would you make to a system you claim is wrong and yet you were happy to enjoy the beenfits of when it suited you?

    Don't tell me......you'll write a few barbed comments on a BBC website....yeah, that'll send the banks running for cover.....

  • Comment number 56.

    24
    24. At 2:54pm on 24 Nov 2010, Fubar_Saunders wrote:
    This is pathetic. Agree with the BBC left wing agenda or get censored. And whatever you do, dont cast aspersions on Vince Cable."

    Test case:-Saint Vincent,voice of the crisis!(2)Evil Vincent,Judas of the coalition.


  • Comment number 57.

    pjs @ 48

    "I call that the politics of jealousy"

    Well you shouldn't. The bank bonus culture was (is) a significant cause of the industry's malaise and, as such, merits very serious attention.

  • Comment number 58.

    46#

    So you and some of your fellow thinkers might like to ponder on the issue of why none of the three parties have done anything about it. None of them.

    And what realistically they can do. And, what the consequences of implementing the report in full would be. And whilst it may be right to be unilateral in your approach so far as UKFI (RBS/NR/HBOS) are concerned, is it equally so for those who have not been bailed out or used the toxic assets facilities? HSBC, Barclays, any number of the investment houses?

    All this about bonuses and remuneration Saga, yes, it is a factor, but it is NOT the solitary one. If there is to be reform it HAS to be MUCH wider, MUCH broader than just using the one lever against Financial Sector misbehaviour, especially when as you acknowledge, GDP is so heavily dependent on this sector.

    Maybe those are the kind of reforms the FSA should have been coming up with but either have not done or have not publicised, and that the MSM have not brought to wider attention. But that doesnt sell newspapers or increase TV News viewing figures, does it, that kind of minutae?

    What does that is sensationalising this one issue and playing this one tune for all it is worth in order to get everybody into a right lather.

    Certainly helps distract matters away from the likes of IPSA, members of the house on trial for fraud, the level of pay and bonuses and allowances from the taxpayer in Central and local Government, doesnt it?

    They have to put their own house in order before they attempt to do that with any private sector organisations. Those are the things to use Nicks words, that should be the ones to watch. Not the things that will bring about what he is itching for which is the first signs of a tear in the coalition which would allow the meatheaded voters to put the previous shower back in and resume the journey back to hell in a handcart.

  • Comment number 59.

    andy @ 50

    No, I think he did mean the savoury snack. Would have said "hoola" hoops otherwise.

  • Comment number 60.

    Cassandra..

    with the exception of sagamix, I do not reply to people who get moderated as often as you do.

    Sorry, but I can't oblige you.

    But it's still a great time to be a tory.. (and drifting further to the right with age, pdavies).

    I'm looking forward to sitting in a chair shouting about everything from the price of booze to the outrageously loud music of the young to the ineffectiveness of another bland centre right coalition run by the great grandson of Nick Clegg - Enrique Nicholas Clegg-Durantez the third; now entering his fourth reforming term in parliament having only managed to close the NHS in the first, privatise education in the second and sell off Wales to the Argentinians in the third....

  • Comment number 61.

    Rather than simply publish the names of the bankers, would it not make sense to actually introduce some legislation right now and get the issue dealt with?

  • Comment number 62.

    Sagamix (42): Other BBC journalists cover the issues at stake, without burying them and resorting to title tattle. E.g. Robert Peston or Stephanie Flanders. So Nick is not prohibited by BBC impartiality from doing the same.

    Politics is not about Westminster gossip. It is about ideas and a competition between those ideas held in public with voters ultimately choosing their representatives based on their informed verdict as to the merits of the competing ideas. The state-broadcaster should, in a democracy, inform the public debate as to the contested ideas. Instead Nick Robinson seems to believe that politicians should agree on all matters and his role is to identify ‘splits’. Maybe Nick spends too much time talking to Whips because he seems to share their world-outlook. But if the public broadcaster acts like a 'Beyond-Westminster Whip' marginalising dissenting opinions and shutting down public debate then it results in a political class talking to itself and divorced from public opinion. Arguably that is where we are at the UK, and Nick Robinson’s style of Westminster coverage is in my opinion part of that problem.

    As I say, other BBC reporters do better, and we should expect more of a BBC political editor than to be on constant watch for splits.

  • Comment number 63.

    55 - No answer to the question then? Would you rather the banks kept their profits and paid CT on them or paid them out and we got 51% going to the treasury. Surely it's not THAT difficult a question.

    And it is mainly the political left who 'dispise' bankers.

    Now, those Lloyds & RBS bankers...which bankers are you referring to? Any names? Any actual details? What was the detail of their lending to Ireland? How big a proportion of their business was with ireland? How much was lost on defaulting Irish debt? What were the bankers bonuses based on? How much did they get? Do you know the answers to any of theose questions? Or have bankers become the 'benefits cheats' of the left? An easy stereotype to hurl unfounded accusations at. The left disparage the Daily Mail benfits scrounger sterotype yet they leap gleefully on a sterotype 'banker'.

  • Comment number 64.

    Millicent Harper 30

    "Hopefully they will do the right thing this time. Stand up Liberals because- as the student demonstrations today show- they will speak for an awful lot of people."

    Not now they don`t.The student`s have been lied to. Mr.Clegg`s nonsense about not seeing the books until the weekend might just be acceptable if it weren`t for the other betrayal of policies on which he was elected.You can fool some of the people some of the time,(well an awful lot really),but you can`t fool all the people all the time.

    I know that politics spreads personal integrity pretty thin,but Mr.Clegg is a slice of graphene.



  • Comment number 65.

    "So what's the difference between some idle trustafarian, swanning about with nothing much to do and making nothing of his life and you, swanning about with nothing much to do and making nothing of your life?" - c555 @ 47

    Mea culpa on the City thing, Andy, but all the difference in the world between me as I am now and some idle trustafarian. I blog quite actively on here for one thing, putting something back. I don't have to do this; nobody is holding a knife to my throat saying "Right buster, go ahead and post a series of enlightened and enlightening thoughts on the Nick Robinson blog or it's curtains" ... there's none of that, but yet I do.

  • Comment number 66.

    Andy I am happy to admit that you seem to have more expertise in this area than me. I for one would actually like to hear your views on:

    - the LibDem's (pre-election) policy of breaking up the banks - a split between retail and investment banking.

    - the EU's proposed new rules on bankers bonuses.

    - the proposal to reveal bankers earning more than £1 million.

    Or any other ideas you have to ensure the tax payer is never again required to baiil out the banks.

  • Comment number 67.

    48 "One final point. I know someone who works for RBS in a call centre in Peterborough. He earns around £20,000 a year. He gets a £250 Christmas bonus. When papers quote 'exorbitant bankers bonuses' of billions this, and the Christmas bonuses of all those in his office, are included in that figure since RBS are a bank. Don't accept everything you read without question."

    It's a good point. I find it odd that the same people who jump up and down in anger at Daily Mail benefit scrounger sterotyping seem so eager to embrace "bankers' bonuses" stereotyping. You'd think they were a bit more sophisticated but it seems not.

  • Comment number 68.

    . At 3:56pm on 24 Nov 2010, AndyC555 wrote:
    Hmmmm.....
    The banks make profits. They can keep them and be taxed at 28% or pay them as bonuses which will be taxed at 51%
    Which would the baying Lefties prefer?"

    Isn`t corporation tax now 24%, or hasn`t it come in yet?

    This baying lefty would prefer all of the profits to go to the state.The taxpayer owns half of them anyway!


  • Comment number 69.

    Robin @ 60. I understand you are a cheerleader.

    Must be a bit gauling though having waited for 13 years to have the "heir to blair" as your leader. He is not exactly right wing - well to the left of any previous Tory PM.

  • Comment number 70.

    Will the loan save the irish banks? No gaurantees! And the repayment of the loan will depend on their growth. Growth while investment and public services are slashed
    Whos next, belgium, portugal, spain. How many billions more to prop up a failed system?

    Solidarity with all of europes working class.
    Jack O'Connor, president of the Irish Congress of Trade Unions puts it well...........
    "Despite the collapse, those who brought it about have no intention of going away.
    Quite the contrary, they are busily exploiting this devastating catastrophe to re-engineer our economy and society according to an even crueler blue print which more effectively reflects their interests.
    The agenda is manifestly evident in the calls for the reduction of the minimum wage, the dismantlement of public services and the sell-off of state assets at bargain basement
    prices".



  • Comment number 71.

    57 - sagamix

    I disagree. Banker bonuses did not cause the financial crisis. They really didn't..

    The price of the globalised world we live in is an increase in our inter-connectedness, and so the risk that a problem in one part of the system will have effects somewhere (everywhere) else.

    I suppose we could get rid of all this gloablisation nonesense, but I dunno about you but I'm rather enjoying it, *even* given the last couple of years. You're enjoying your iPhone, 42inch flatscreen TV, high-powered car, revolutionary drug therapies, etc. too I presume? How about those cheap and affordable mortgages you demand as a God-given right? Ever stopped to think that the lending into the UK that Icelandic banks did - and which you decry - was the reason such loans existed? Tax things, make them unprofitable and yes, people won't do them, but are you sure that's what you want?

    To clarify my point I'll say it again: bankers bonuses did not cause the financial crisis.

  • Comment number 72.

    65 - "I blog quite actively on here for one thing"

    Wow. Exactly what's the result of that, other than giving people a good laugh. What changes have any of your posts brought about in the UK? Pretty close to zero, I'd say. About as much impact as some Trustafarian who occasionally buys a copy of Big Issue.

  • Comment number 73.

    saga 65

    '"Right buster, go ahead and post a series of enlightened and enlightening thoughts on the Nick Robinson blog or it's curtains"'

    Just as well cause it would have been curtains.

  • Comment number 74.

    fubar @ 58

    Yes yes. We've been round this before - the absurd personal remuneration models are important to address but are not the ONLY thing (re the banks) to address. An issue doesn't have to be the only issue in order to merit very serious attention, does it? It only has to be - as this is - important.

    Give you a gratuitous and not-adding-much analogy - an "Andy", we can call it. You and I go out for dinner and it's horrible - the food, I mean, not the company. We have steak and chips and both are very very sub-optimal. Chips are thin, hard little things (yuck) and the steak tastes like rubber. Peas are quite appalling too - did I mention the peas? No? Well they're appalling.

    I say, "gee Saunders, these chips are poor, aren't they?"

    You stare at me for a couple of seconds, face going bright red with exasperation and anger. "Oh for god's sake man, what's all this about the chips! Not as if the chips are the only thing wrong about this place, is it? Is it? ... IS IT?"

    You yell.

  • Comment number 75.

    66 - So i take it you've no actual knowledge of which bankers got what bonuses and why. But you're joining in the baying voices of the media and politicians. This being so, what's the difference between you and someone joining in with similar baying about benefits cheats?

    Or is there some virute in believeing one sterotype rather than another?

    Answering your questions...

    Seems like a good idea,
    Not sure I know enough about them to comment
    Don't agree - Why should bankers salaries be revealled when there are a host of other people one could argue are over-paid. Why bankers? Why not footballers?

  • Comment number 76.

    68 - "Isn`t corporation tax now 24%, or hasn`t it come in yet?"

    Not yet. Top rate of CT set to fall from 28% to 24% but starting in 2012 and falling 1% a year.

    Good thing actually as if the full rate is as low as 24%, it makes small investment companies a much more attractive proposition. Why pay tax at 50% on savings when you can roll them up in a company at 24% tax then retire abroad and liquidate them tax free?

  • Comment number 77.

    63.
    You claim its better for bankers to be taxed at 51% but then you have previously boasted on these bloggs that your company at £180 per hour reduces higher rate taxpayers liability down to a mere 5%. The sort of tax schemes that you sell are are supposedly being targeted by this govt and are trying to be stopped..because they are immoral.
    So your comments are pretty inane as its obvious someone involved in immoral practise is bound to defend others who are involved in immoral practise.. Better just to say you don’t care and get back to the counting house rather than trying to justify the unjustifiable and making yourself look ridiculous. (more ridiculous)

  • Comment number 78.

    Nick, how about an independent and transparent review of journalist's pay, particularly those from the public sector? Many of those are over £250,000 and some are unbelievably high, and not for generating any wealth for the Nation but just for commenting on supposed news.

  • Comment number 79.

    Cassandra 66

    'Must be a bit gauling though having waited for 13 years to have the "heir to blair" as your leader. He is not exactly right wing - well to the left of any previous Tory PM.'

    The most right wing PM we've had except for Maggie and in a number of areas policy is to the right of anything contemplated under her leadership, education and welfare reform being just two examples.

    Good to see though, criticism veering helplessly from same 'old nasty party Tories' to 'soft and cuddly left wing Tories'. As long as opposition is this disjointed they can look forward to a long period in office.



  • Comment number 80.

    Let's just spin back a little and see what lies behind the criticism of the Tories involvement in the banks, shall we?

    Firstly it was the Thatcher government that deregulated banks with the Big Bang, and in doing so let the Genie of deregulation out of the bottle - the USA etc had to follow the UK to remain competitive. This was no mere political expediency, it was part of the ideological offensive coming from the rise of the "New Right" - the libertarian philosophy which we can chart back to Hayek, the Adam Smith Institute and the Institute of Economic Affairs, to mention but two UK temples of Neo Conservatism.

    Deregulated banks went wild - they engaged in reckless gambles and piled up mountains of debt - in the end the US sub-prime crisis combined with the blatant attempts to dump worthless special financial vehicles on our pension funds led to the collapse we now call the Credit Crisis - and in the UK alone we've all stumped up £40,000 EACH to bail out the banks AND we're going have our public services slashed to pay for it.

    Blair & Brown deluded themselves - and us - that they could ride this mad tiger - let the City loose on the world, but then tax its ill gotten gains to fund their belevolent do-gooding - "New" Labour - social justice funded out of rampant greed - a perfect circle of better public services and globalisation funded out of London - what could go wrong?

    We now know. Post-Blair/Brown, a quick look around the City & the Tory party reveals a heavy overlap at many levels - you could almost describe the PCP as the Bankers' Party - hell, the British Bankers Association Spokeswoman is even an ex Tory MP...

    So UK banks bankrolled the Irish property bubble - now the Irish banks are effectively bust and the Irish government is bailing them out - but they don't have the money.

    Cue George Osborne "helping friends" in the "national interest" to the tune of £7 Bn bilateral aid plus a lot more indirectly via the EU & IMF.

    This money is going from HMG to Eire Gov - to Eire banks - to UK banks - to bail them out - again.

    Follow the money - I'd say that George Osborne's "friends" are a lot closer to home - in the City of London - Tory backers, ex Tory MPs, wannabe Tory MPs, their relatives, friends and hangers on.

    And if the UK banks have this exposure to Irish debt, why haven't the regulators, auditors, directors and EU Stress Testers spotted it?

    I'd say that now the additional debt is out in the open, the UK banks should be forced to re-state their accounts for the last few years and take the hit on their balance sheets which would wipe out any scope for bonuses since the last bail out - and for the foreseeable future - but this would involve lots of pain for the Tories' mates in the City, so nothing appears to be going to be done about the wildly misleading accounts and inspections of UK banks for the last three years...

    This is without a doubt "socialism for bankers" - an obscene Robin-Hood-In-Reverse policy of hammering taxpayers and public services to prop up the greed bonus culture of the Conservatives' friends in the city where ex Tory MPs go to work, where their friends and family keep the snouts firmly in the trough and where vast sums of money that should have been invested in our future jobs and infrastructure have been poured down the drain of greed and excessive risk-taking at the expense of ordinary people who are being treated as the City's back pocket where they can find a biut more ready cash when they run short, through their very own Parliamentary Bankers' Party representatives.

    "Going soft on bankers" - Nick, I thought you realised blood is MUCH thicker than whitewash...

    2000 years ago someone said something very similar to: "greater love hath no man, than he lay down his (POLITICAL) life for his friends."

    If this all goes a peared shaped as it looks as if it's about to, I'd lay serious money George Osborne wil have to pay the ultimate political price for his "friends" at the next election.

  • Comment number 81.

    "77. At 5:03pm on 24 Nov 2010, lefty11 wrote:
    63.
    You claim its better for bankers to be taxed at 51% but then you have previously boasted on these bloggs that your company at £180 per hour reduces higher rate taxpayers liability down to a mere 5%. The sort of tax schemes that you sell are are supposedly being targeted by this govt and are trying to be stopped..because they are immoral.
    So your comments are pretty inane as its obvious someone involved in immoral practise is bound to defend others who are involved in immoral practise.. Better just to say you don’t care and get back to the counting house rather than trying to justify the unjustifiable and making yourself look ridiculous. (more ridiculous)"

    The only one being ridiculous on here is you.

    I don't work for a company, I work for a LLP.

    It isn't 5%, it's about 3.5%.

    I've already explained that the EBT scheme is aimed at owner-managers. Hardly fits the banking sector does it?

    I've explained all these things before but it's just not sinking in is it?

    So, as a businessman, what do you do? Organise your affairs so you pay the maximum tax you can? Refuse to claim allowances? Refuse to claim deductions? Course not. As with all hypocrites, you can justify YOUR tax planning but everyone else's is immoral.

    Stick to banging on your upturned bucket.

  • Comment number 82.

    "78. At 5:05pm on 24 Nov 2010, PlummyBrummie wrote:
    Nick, how about an independent and transparent review of journalist's pay, particularly those from the public sector? Many of those are over £250,000 and some are unbelievably high, and not for generating any wealth for the Nation but just for commenting on supposed news."

    Indeed. Read some journalist's work and you'd think all they've done is a bit of cutting and pasting from an already published news report and then added something like "I wonder how this will develop" at the end.

  • Comment number 83.

    79.
    As long as opposition is this disjointed they can look forward to a long period in office.
    -----------------
    Actually in latest ICM poll Ed Miliband gets best score for Labour since Gordon Brown cancelled the planned 2007 election. Wait til the cuts really bite. Next election, lib dems blown away and a pasting for the tories.

  • Comment number 84.

    80 - So poor old Gordon and Tony just didn't stand a chance after what Mrs T did?

    Funny, though, that whilst the old monitoring system was in place, the banks seemed to be doing fine. It was the new regulations that allowed the reckless lending to go unchecked.

    Do give credit where it's deserved and remind us who put those in place.

  • Comment number 85.

    N077 lefty11,
    AndyPandy looking ridiculous? never in the world.

  • Comment number 86.

    Dear, dear, the government going soft on bankers bonuses and pay, never!
    We are all in this together Nick, as to Vince and the Lib Dems, they are people of their word they would never go back on a promise, would they?

    I am sure I saw a Tory or Lib Dem pig fly past the other day.

  • Comment number 87.

    "The banks make profits. They can keep them and be taxed at 28% or pay them as bonuses which will be taxed at 51%

    Which would the baying Lefties prefer?"

    ^ Well, Andy, here's a crazy left-wing idea for you...how about we tax both profits and bonuses at 51% (or whatever) until the money that was paid out to the banks during the financial crisis is recouped?

    The trouble is that the proverbial horse has already bolted (the door held open by politicians on both sides), so this is likely impossible in retrospect.

    It also assumes that the money could be re-packaged as 'loans' rather than 'gifts', which again would surely come up against huge legal barriers.

    But that IS the fair and equitable solution here, given that the culpability of the financial crisis lies with the banking sector.

    Unless, of course, you truly believe that the situation we're in is simply a result of overspending in the public sector? And that we, the taxpayers, should foot the bill?

    (Clever old Dave... he's a marketing and PR man, you know?)

  • Comment number 88.

    lefty11 83

    Exactly the same as in 80/81, 84/85 and 90/91. Still, only another 17 years left for you to wait if that's repeated.

  • Comment number 89.

    At 4:55pm on 24 Nov 2010, AndyC555 wrote:
    66 - So i take it you've no actual knowledge of which bankers got what bonuses and why. But you're joining in the baying voices of the media and politicians.
    --------------------------------------------------------------------
    Isn't this why some people are complaining about the refusal to publish such a list? Dumb argument Andy. I'm surprised. Perhaps you've become so focused on having a go at 'lefties' that you've forgotten what the blog is about.
    It's about whether such a list should be published as promised. How could anyone know the answers to your questions in the absence of such a list! Own goal, I'm afraid. Try to concentrate.

  • Comment number 90.

    Whilst the tax payer loses out big style lending billions to the banks, who claimed their self inflicted losses against taxation. The Banks have now decided that they have enough of our money on their balance sheets to pay out highly dubious bonuses.The level of hubris amongst these people who continually claim they have to pay the best to get the best is shown to be false by what has happened, clearly they didn't get the best. So whilst others have their pay packets frozen or in many cases reduced or wiped out altogether, our bankers will carry on as if they are immortal and our political wimps will not turn a hand against them. It carries on with the UK now committed to lending Ireland money to avoid UK banks again going broke. Private eye Number crunch of the week: £7bn, cash loaned by UK to Ireland, £7bn, further cuts to UK welfare budget announced last month on top of the £11bn already taken away, thats the way to balance the books, Vince Cables behaviour is somewhat mystifying in light of his rhetoric pre election.

  • Comment number 91.

    This comment was removed because the moderators found it broke the house rules. Explain.

  • Comment number 92.

    "Nick, how about an independent and transparent review of journalist's pay, particularly those from the public sector? Many of those are over £250,000 and some are unbelievably high, and not for generating any wealth for the Nation but just for commenting on supposed news."

    ^ Quite simply, no.

    The vast majority of journalists earn nothing near £250K; the majority earn £20K or less.

    If you want to point this particular finger, then there are plenty of professions that warrant pay cuts before it's the turn of journalists.

  • Comment number 93.

    "bankers bonuses did not cause the financial crisis." - pjs @ 71

    Not all by themselves no, plenty of other factors, but they were a key ingredient in the toxic soup. Loops back to the key point that something which is an important issue to address, but which isn't the only issue, should still be addressed - pls see 74. The crisis has its roots as much in behaviour within the industry as it does in structure. The absurd personal remuneration model in the financial sector (in particular the "one way bet" aspect, reward not at all aligned to long term value creation) was a very significant contributory factor. Why? Because it to a large extent drove the aforesaid behaviour. This is a true thing I'm saying here.

  • Comment number 94.

    19. At 2:28pm on 24 Nov 2010, bryhers wrote:
    At 1:27pm on 24 Nov 2010, Freeborn John wrote:
    "Can Nick Robinson not look at any issue except in terms of a split?
    There are serious economic issues that impact the country"

    Banker`s bonuses are a serious economic issue. They raise questions of public control over the banks in circumstances where the ordinary taxpayer is asked to bear the risk while the bankers take the profits.


    They raise further questions. The main one, I believe, being that everyone who is affected by government cuts can now claim the high-ground by asking why there is no money for them, but 500 billion to bail out the greedy, parasitic bankers who still show not a flicker of remorse. And there doesn't seem to me that there is a valid argument against that.


  • Comment number 95.

    87 - "Well, Andy, here's a crazy left-wing idea for you...how about we tax both profits and bonuses at 51% (or whatever) until the money that was paid out to the banks during the financial crisis is recouped?"

    Aha. Now, that is actually an argument worth putting. Refreshing to have something more meaningful to respond to than the barely literate rantings of the banker-bashers on here.

    There's some merit in the suggestion but I'm not sure it would be workable in practice unless applied retrospectively, which isn't really a precedant you'd want to set if you wanted to keep any banks based in the UK. Free movement of businesses and all that. Not much of an incentive to stay in or come to the UK is it? "Come to the UK, we'll tax your profits and your employees at higher rates than anywhere else in the developed world". Not got much of a ring to it, has it?

  • Comment number 96.

    "This baying lefty would prefer all of the profits to go to the state." - bryhers @ 68

    And this one. Only fair.

  • Comment number 97.

    This comment was removed because the moderators found it broke the house rules. Explain.

  • Comment number 98.

    22. At 2:49pm on 24 Nov 2010, rockRobin7 wrote:
    Hurrah...the party formerly known as newlabour finally has a policy.

    A dog whistle bash the bankers policy. How stunningly original.


    Your use of irony is, quite simply, breathtaking.

  • Comment number 99.

    92 - "The vast majority of journalists earn nothing near £250K; the majority earn £20K or less."

    I doubt the latter point but your first point is probably correct.

    Same true, of course, of those working in the banking industry.

  • Comment number 100.

    87 skol303

    Eh what profits? we the taxpayer have paid the banks an awful lot more money over the past few years than they have paid in either tax on profits or bonuses, why do they get bonuses when most of them are still making such big losses anyway?

 

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