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Thursday, 18 December 2014

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Muppets and fat cats

On the BBC Six-O-Clock news lthis week was a story about the muppets.

Not Waldorf and Statler or Miss Piggy although you might presume it by the self important snouts in the trough.

No this was bankers pay … again! … and a ‘leading city figure’ was trotting out the old mantra that if we tax the bankers too much they will go elsewhere.

This leading city figure was none other than Michael Spencer, the Chief Executive of a city information firm and past treasurer of the Tory party.

Of course, his current role is chief apologist for the fat cats and purveyor of utter tosh.

Then we had the sorry tale of the head of Barclays who was out earned by not one but TWO of his fellow Barclays bankers.

Well, that simply isn’t good enough, Mr Diamond. You really will have to have a word in the ear of your banks renumeration committee won’t you?

Finally, we heard, not for the first time, that the head of Lloyds TSB, Chief executive Antonio Horta-Osorio, had foregone his bonus this year because he took a couple of months off with exhaustion.

Surely it is time for him to give up the paper round and the waiting on tables to make ends meet.

So, let’s face some facts here which the BBC and its number 1 man, Robert Peston, were a tad short on:

The banks will not walk away from London if their executives are squeezed. For a start, with the record bonuses they earn, they, like a premiership footballer, won’t miss the odd million or two.

No, London is ideally placed to be the centre of world banking. They can trade with the Far East in the morning and the Americas in the afternoon (and that one fact will be enough for us NOT to change our clocks to double summer time as it will interfere too much with this trade).

The banks have all the infrastructure around them – even parasitic firms such as Spencer’s – and it would appear they like the good life that Fortnum and Masons and Harrods brings.

Add to that the best private schools for their kids and a chance to own a few acres of land in the Home Counties to keep horses (who mentioned horses????) and it is easy to see why they wouldn’t want to move to Frankfurt.

Secondly, Barclays boss, Bob Diamond, would claim that his bank never received any bail out from the UK Government and they can do what they want.

The question I would ask is how much of their toxic debt have they exchanged for the money released by quantitative easing, money which we, the British tax payer, will be paying for in years to come? No, Mr Diamond, please remember that it is the British taxpayer who has underpinned your profits and rubbing our noses in it just isn’t cricket.

Finally, I should like the BBC to stop pandering to Peston and his cronies by providing such a one sided story.

Of course, as anyone who watches NewsWatch would know, they will trot out some news editor to say that they did report the story fairly.

Somehow, like politicians, you know a news editor is telling porkies because their lips are moving.

I know that the average man and woman in the street, the ones who are suffering because of the excess of the banking industry – the likes of Diamond, Horta-Osorio and Spencer – will go on suffering and the bankers will go on sipping their champagne but I really must resist the temptation to have it forced down my throat at the risk of my shoe hitting the screen!

By Ashley Tiffen
Published: March 16, 2012

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