The chancellor will no doubt be pleased; after all his efforts to launch legal challenges to the EU`s bonus cap, the decision to change the definition of the group of bankers, subject to the limitation to 100% of salary, will allow the return of bonuses the size of lottery wins, for people doing work that is often described as "socially useless". The fact that a partner in one of the Big Four accounting firms, the ones that make money advising firms and individuals on how to avoid paying their fair share of tax, thinks that "these are sensible changes to the rules", not only illustrates how government and City really "are in it together", but also how nothing has been learned since bankers` greed led to the 2008 crash. The risk culture remains, along with government guarantees to use taxpayers` money to support them, if things go wrong.
Of course, there can be no moral justification for our bonus culture, especially when "millions are still suffering the costs of the economic crisis"; it leads inevitably to a widening of the rich-poor gap, increased house prices with knock-on effects making it impossible for first-time buyers to get on the housing ladder,and risks the stability of the economy. Therefore it cannot be correct for our governments to be in cahoots with such financial institutions, especially as their scams have continued unabated since 2008. Mis-selling insurance, fixing Libor rates, laundering Mexican drug money, manipulating foreign exchange markets, breaching sanctions against Iran and Cuba, the list seems endless, whilst failing to kickstart the economy with £375bn of quantitative easing, and CEOs mouthing inanities like "putting ethics above earnings", as Jenkins of Barclays said, all demand action from a political party. Support for a Tobin-like tax is essential, and a proposal from Labour for a nationalised bank in which we can trust, one where profit is not the sole motive, and where excess profits could be earmarked for spending on the NHS, for example. would have the additional electoral benefit for them of dissociating the party from the City. It would make the necessary statement that Labour is fundamentally different from the Tories. Also, it would provide the "competitor" bank the high street needs, and by attracting customers away from the established banks, force them to mend their ways, and start employing people to run their businesses and investments with decent values and principles, rather than with appetites for obscene wealth.