Yesterday was not a good time for bankers’ popularity: as yet more bad economic news meant lower incomes all round, whatever was announced in the Budget, Barclays was dishing out almost £40 million in share awards as bonus payments to senior staff. Boss man Rich Ricci will be getting the largest share of that, £18 million. But he didn’t take a bonus last year, so that’s all right, then.
Most of the press was not impressed by this display of conspicuous largesse: the left-leaning Mirror predictably told that Ricci “was laughing all the way to the bank”, which he could hardly avoid doing without bunking off work. The Maily Telegraph informed readers that Ricci had sold his shares – and that he owned a string of racehorses. Loadsamoney!
The people at Sky News (“first for breaking wind”) warned of a new bonus row: “The bank risks being accused of seeking to bury news of lavish payouts to top executives on Budget Day”. Barclays remained tight-lipped, if not ashen faced. But they now have a vociferous supporter in the press pack, the Express. Richard “Dirty” Desmond’s finest are giving their full backing to bankers.
So why is a paper aimed at an older and middle-class market campaigning against limits on bankers’ bonuses? Simples. Because Des’ papers adhere to the iron law of EU bashing. The bonus cap has come from negotiations among EU member states. And the outcome has met with the approval of a rotten leftie who talks foreign, so that settles it.
Instead of admitting that it is going in to bat for the fattest of fat cats, though, and after some creative work from the headline writers, readers are told “Smug EU hails victory over Britain’s banks”, thus giving a personality to an organisation that does not have one. So where does the “smug” come from? Ah well. This is the spin put on comments by the Social Democrat leader in the European Parliament (EP).
Hannes Swoboda is additionally characterised as a “socialist” for good measure, especially after telling that, from next year, bankers’ bonuses will be capped at twice their base salaries. Many tens of thousands of workers who get a bonus of precisely zero – nothing over and above keeping their job – may find it difficult to sympathise with such a terrible constraint.
And many of them are lucky enough to work for Dirty Des, at his papers and magazines, and at the pisspoor Channel 5. All have to spread the message that conspicuous consumption is fine – so long as it’s done in defiance of the EU.
Perverse logic designed to alienate a significant amount of your dwindling readership? That’ll be another Benchmark Of Excellence.