Monday, 30 January 2012
Stephen Hester - panto villain.
Stephen Hester has decided to forgo his bonus this year and on the face of it will be worse off to something in the region of a million pounds. No doubt there is a body of opinion that feels that Hester should have had the gumption to just take the money and give two fingers to the mob but by and large an audible wave of self satisfaction is sweeping over us. Why, even Ed Miliband is claiming a political triumph (savour it Ed) for his demand that the contentious bonus be the subject of a Commons vote. Over the past week Hester and his wretched bonus have become theatre; and very unsophisticated Good versus Evil theatre at that. How we boo the greedy bankers creaming off the top at the taxpayers expense. How we wonder at the scale of such wealth - what do they spend it on? How we laugh and clap when the wicked banker loses a small fraction of his wealth.
Look, I don't want spoil it all, it's not in my nature to piss on anyone's chips, but while we are so distracted by what's happening on stage the theatre management are carrying on as normal.
The problem has never been as simple as doing away with a group of greedy and brutal individuals. Such people have always existed, and unless you believe in human perfectibility, always will. The trick is to keep their grubby hands well away from the levers of power.