Link to this page: http://www.socialistparty.org.uk/issue/755/16281
Them & Us
The idea of bankers' bonuses is supposedly that they encourage hard work, which can only be good for the economy. We have to reward them or we couldn't guarantee that they'll behave responsibly.
Why is it then, that the boss of Lloyds Banking Group, Antonio Horta-Osorio, is in line for a bonus of £2.5 million despite the bank (still supported by tax money) racking up losses of £570 million last year? And the Royal Bank of Scotland that lost an even bigger amount - £5.2 billion - is giving out bonuses of £607 million.
It seems like failure is rewarded the same as success. You could be forgiven for thinking it's just about making the super-rich bankers even richer.
I spent the weekend at an excellent Socialist Party Congress in Clacton, hearing members discuss the prospects for the struggle, and learning from each other about how we have campaigned.
Changing trains in London on the way home I picked up the Evening Standard with the headline "HSBC pays 78 UK bankers over £1 million each". Yes, that's what we're fighting. Back to work!
George Osborne was left humiliated after being outvoted 26 to 1 in favour of limits on bankers' pay and bonuses. No other EU finance minister agreed with his objections.
8,300 banks will be affected by the cap on annual earnings and the introduction of a regulation to require a big majority of shareholders to allow a bonus above two year's salary - not exactly impoverishing them, then!
Keep calm and rape a lot, keep calm and hit her, keep calm and knife her, keep calm and grope a lot. These were some of the slogans on t-shirts available through the Amazon website recently.
US company Solid Gold Bomb claimed that the products had been 'automatically generated' and slowly removed them. Amazon had refused to stop selling the company's products.
Some limits are being introduced on rip-off payday loan companies and how they advertise. Them and Us has previously reported the rocketing numbers relying on payday loans as a result of squeezed income and rising prices.
The interest rates of up to 4,000% or more are trapping thousands in a cycle of debt. The Office of Fair Trading recently found widespread irresponsible lending.
Limits on advertising are all very well but what we really need is an increase in the minimum wage, a cap on rents and an end to attacks on benefits so that nobody has to rely on payday loan sharks.
British Gas profits soared 11% in 2012, largely as a result of the cold winter forcing people to have their heating on for longer, despite continually rising costs.
At the same time, wholesale gas prices reached a five-year high on 4 March after a power cut at a North Sea gas plant left supply low.
We need nationalised utilities, not vulnerable to every tiny shock in the market and capable of offering capped prices and profits invested to improve production and service.
In The Socialist 7 March 2013:
Socialist Party news and analysis
Socialist Party feature
International socialist news and analysis
Socialist Party reports and campaigns
Socialist Party workplace news
Socialist Party review