The good and the bad of Barclays
It's plainly better for banks to make profits, than not (unless you are actively working for the destruction of capitalism).
So it would be foolish to dismiss Barclays' £11.6bn of pre-tax profit - 92% up on the previous year - as of little importance.
Probably more relevant is its £9.6bn of retained earnings - because that is additional capital to underpin lending that our economy badly needs.
In fact, Barclays has become a much safer bank over the past year.
Its gross lending and assets are now equivalent to 20 times its equity capital, down from 28 - thanks to its accumulation of precious capital and because its gross assets have fallen from £2.1tn to £1.4tn.
Or to put it another way, a much higher proportion of its assets would have to go bad to bankrupt Barclays than was the case in 2008.
For which we should all be grateful - since its £1.4tn of assets is still very substantial, equivalent to the annual output of the British economy, which means that Barclays remains in the special club of too-big-to-fail banks that would always be bailed out by taxpayers.
Inevitably regulators continue to take a neurotically close interest in what Barclays is up to - and haven't yet decided whether its relatively integrated structure would allow sufficient protection for retail depositors in the event that there was a major accident in the investment bank.
It is the performance of the investment bank that is controversial in so many ways.
It should of course be said that Barclays' performance in retail and commercial banking has been pretty robust in the inclement recessionary conditions.
In the UK, Barclays made a £612m profit from retail banking and £749m from commercial banking.
That's well down on 2008, but is pretty creditable after £1.9bn of charges for bad debts.
Neither Lloyds or Royal Bank will have done as well.
However the truly big numbers come from Barclays Capital - where net income surged from £2.8bn to £9bn and pre-tax profit jumped from £1.3bn to £2.5bn.
It's that surge - in part due to Barclays takeover of the US rump of Lehman at the end of 2008 - that was responsible for Barclays paying out record bonuses of £2.7bn (see my earlier note for more on this).
Your attitude to whether those bonuses are appropriate will stem from four considerations:
1) the extent to which you hold all banks responsible for the Great Recession we've experienced;
2) the proportion of Barclays Capital's profit that is a de facto windfall from governments' and central banks' emergency measures to limit the depth of the recession;
3) the extent to which Barclays Capital takes risks that are effectively subsidised by retail depositors and taxpayers;
4) whether you think any bank should be paying bonuses so soon after all banks were bailed out by the unprecedented loans and guarantees provided to them by taxpayers (from which Barclays was a beneficiary, although unlike RBS and Lloyds/HBOS it wasn't semi-nationalised).
Tell me what you think.