The BBC seems to be at the fore for propagating the Government view that any bonus payment is wrong if tax-payers money is involved. Currently the banks are at the heart of this debate, with the likes of little Yvette Cooper popping up on the Today programme this morning to demand that bankers exercise “moral responsibility” and forego any bonus payments to which they may be legally entitled. Perhaps that it fair enough given the deplorable state of some banks management but what about all those juicy bonus payments that so enrich those who work for the NHS Trusts, who work in the Civil Service, who work in Local Government, and who work for the BBC? Isn’t it “morally responsible” for all of them at all levels to show restraint at this difficult time and walk away from all such tax-payer funded largesse? Or is the chance to beat up on the private finance sector just to good an opportunity for Labour to pass?

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50 Responses to BONUS CULTURE

  1. simon temple says:

    “little Yvette Cooper popping up on the Today programme this morning to demand that bankers exercise “moral responsibility” and forego any bonus payments to which they may be legally entitled”.

    Interesting comment from a government minister about the conflict between morality and legality.
    Is it possible that this minister could raise this conflict with her fellow ministers in relation to their expenses, including the matter of London accommodation for MPs whose constituences are outside the London area. I believe there has been more than one example of this recently.


  2. Cassandra says:

    The socialists just love their scapegoats dont they?
    Its all about the ‘greedy bankers’ and ‘greedy capitalists’ and nothing about who caused the system to engage in it in the first place, where was nulabour when the banking system was feeding money by the billions into the treasury? The BBC peddles the nulabour propaganda without question and attacks the party approved scapegoats like they were some kind of peoples enemies!

    Brown and his blame everyone else syndrome has become the rule for nulabour and the BBC it seems.
    The voters have had enough of nulabours lying and twofaced hypocracy they are now realising just how dishonest the labour/BBC regime has become.


  3. GCooper says:

    And, to reinforce the excellent point made by Simon Temple, the BBC is still trying to pretend Jacqui Smith is not in deep, deep trouble.

    Well, morally, I mean. Clearly no one from this mendacious, thieving government will ever resign when caught with their fingers in the till. Nor will its lapdog broadcaster do anything to trouble them.


  4. Gareth says:

    If Jacqui Spliff’s husband is her commons assitant, who looks after her children when she (and presumably him) are at Westminster for three days a week? Or is the answer; He stays at home?

    We have a part time Home Secretary massively on the take. Her husband is on the same gravy train and so is her sister.

    Banksters bonuses are only a contentious matter now that some of them are getting massive amounts of taxpayer’s money. MPs have been getting taxpayer’s money fro decades and merrily troughing at our expense. Either both have a moral obligation to minimise the expense they inflict on us, or neither do. We know full well that Mrs Balls is minded towards the latter position.


  5. Original Robin says:

    I think that the senior civil servants should get bonuses – from our foreign competitors, who have benefitted from the economic sabotage that the mandarins have practised against Britain.


  6. The Cattle Prod of Destiny says:

    Do Civil Servants and Local Governmnet employees get ‘bonuses’? What are they and why are they paid?

    If the bonus payments to bankers are a legal entitlement are not the government breaking the law by inciting others to act illegally?


  7. Tom says:

    simon temple | 09.02.09 – 9:56 am

    Very good point about the legality/morality distinction.

    It was instructive how the BBC covered the bankers’ bonuses story with its eye very much on the moral question, while it covered the Jacqui Smith story solely in terms of legalistic points about her not having broken the Commons’ rules.

    That, in itself, is evidence of bias.


  8. backwoodsman says:

    The beeboids really have no shame , shilling for it to be Ok for the tax payer to drop £116,000 on comrade smiths’ little fiddle, then allowing another tax cheat , mrs balls to condem bankers !


  9. Tom says:

    backwoodsman | 09.02.09 – 12:22 pm

    I have a slight sympathy for Mrs, Balls, in that her primary-home/second-home arrangements at least seemed designed to allow her to live under the same roof as her kids during the working week. La Spliff’s seem designed just to get the money.


  10. Daniel says:

    If Yvette Cooper wants bankers to give up their bonuses, perhaps the government and the general public at large will sacrifice some of the revenues gained from the economic boom we’ve all enjoyed for the best part of a decade. It seems as if the years of prosperity- prosperity facilitated by big banks- have been forgotten in a blink of an eye. Time for some perspective- from us and the BBC.


  11. Anonymous says:

    perhaps the government and the general public at large will sacrifice some of the revenues gained from the economic boom

    …er I think they are doing. Aren’t they?


  12. It would be cool if they said people should pay tax only he they felt a ‘moral responsibility’


  13. frankos says:

    The present shareholder structure of companies and the increasing weakness of shareholder protest groups has led to an environment where terrible financial decisions have been awarded.

    However unless our PLC businesses want to employ second rate directors and until foreign countries won’t snap up our best directors with nice bonus guaranteed contracts, we will always be subject to large bonus payouts.
    We also forget the many years of large shareholder profits that preceeded this recession, and the great number of excellent directors and bank workers who are blameless for this recession.
    And let’s not forget a greedy chancellor who was at the helm watching the oncoming rocks looming with a grin.


  14. Nanny Know's Best says:

    Beeboids infantilize the ‘adult’ population with specious and silly assertions about ‘who is to blame’. Then prove their adulthood by ‘telling off’ naughty media cronies for using ‘bad’ words. Why is nobody pointing the finger at the entire UK population as being in cahoots with their elected government in pretending you CAN have something for nothing.
    The wages of economic sin (excess debt)are economic death (unemployment). Stepping off the soapbox now…sorry for that rant.


  15. Preposteroso says:

    Brown is determined there will be “no rewards for failure and rewards only for long-term success”.

    Does this mean he’ll be entirely without income from now on?


  16. NotaSheep says:

    A bit of class war should bolster the Labour core vote nicely ahead of the local and EU elections. It also takes attention away from Gordon Brown’s culpability and puts all the blame on “bankers”.


  17. Jonathan says:

    The breath-taking scale of the alleged ‘fiddle’ in the Jacqui Smith story, really only becomes apparent when you break the story down •

    In the last six years our Home Secretary has claimed £116,000 for her Second Home living allowance. Now remember this allowance was created to compensate MPs for the expense of purchasing/renting a second home in London, so that they could carry out their Parliamentary duties. So if Miss Smith’s sister’s house was her main residence • then in the spirit of the law, she shouldn’t be claiming any second home allowance, because she already lives in London and is therefore not incurring any additional expenditure. Of course, there is also the additional point of why and how a so called London resident came to be representing a west Midlands constituency…for instance; did she mention her status as a Londoner in her campaign literature? Or did she as I suspect, emphasize her local credentials…?

    But of course, we all know that Miss Smith’s real home is in Reddich. After all, it is the family home • the only home she owns + the place where her husband and children sleep at night. We can also forget the Home Secretary’s defence • RE: sleeping most nights in London • even if you give her 4 nights out of 7 in a typical parliamentary week (Mon-Thu) that will not compensate for the weeks when Parliament is not sitting. Presumably during the long recess, she spends all 7 nights at home (remember • these claims pre-date her appointment as Home Secretary).

    So in the real world • her sister’s house • is the second residency. That much is clear. Now obviously she is entitled to make some claim. The public cannot expect Miss Smith’s sister to put her up rent free. Indeed, her office has claimed that she pays a market rent. Now having spoken to local estate agents, the Daily Mail claim that the market rent for a house share in that area is £100 per week; now I reckon this is a bit low, so let’s be generous and double it. So £200 per week or £800-850 per calendar month would seem to be the top end of the market valuation for a house share. But what has Jacqui claimed?

    Let’s do the math • £116,000 divided by 6 (years) = £19,330 pa
    £19,330 divided by 12 (months) = £1,610 per month
    £ 1,610 divided by 4.1 (weeks) = £392.68 per week

    So essentially our Home Secretary hasn’t just been adding a little extra onto her expenses • a fiver her and there • she’s been claiming, double her real living allowance and for six years!!! How is this different from a Housing Benefit cheat? This from a lady who already employees her husband (at our expense) as a Parliamentary assistant; A £40,000 glorified secretary who apparently lives some 150 miles away from his employers main residency and her (and his) supposed workplace i.e. The House of Commons. In such circumstances, was Mr. Smith really the best qualified candidate for the job? Moreover, apart from writing anonymous letters to the local press, praising his wife, aren’t we as licence and taxpayers entitled to ask, if he is actually doing any work for OUR money?

    Having hounded and led the press-pack against Caroline Spellman (nanny-gate), George Osborne (Oleg Deripaska), Derek Conway (quite right too!) and more historically the Hamilton’s (cash for questions) etc… you’d have thought that the BBC would be on our Home Secretary’s case. But their chief political correspondent hasn’t blogged on the story, nor did he or any other BBC journalist mention the story on the lunchtime news. Apparently, like the cash for legislation scandal to rock New labour the other week (fresh allegations were revealed over the weekend by the dead tree press) the J. Smith expenses story was only worth of 1 day’s coverage. It would appear that there is no need for a follow up • nothing to see, move along • so Mr. Robinson does the GVN’s bidding today and blogs about city bonuses and our heroic PM’s efforts to stop them.

    BBC – Bias by omission and by changing/dictating the political narrative – it’s what we do.


  18. GCooper says:

    I note, from their juxtaposition, that the BBC considers the fawning, fatuous: ” Brown ‘very angry’ about bonuses” a vastly more important story than one about the Home Secretary defrauding the taxpayer.


  19. backwoodsman says:

    Good post, Jonathan !


  20. TPO says:

    That anyone in this government should talk about “moral responsibility” is hypocrisy of the first order.
    That the BBC didn’t challenge it doesn’t surprise, they lost all “moral responsibility” years ago.


  21. martin says:

    As I pointed out the Government created this mess (McFatty One Eye in particular) by de-regulating the city. not only that, but they could have demanded that no bonus be paid or it be deferred until all Government money is paid back.

    Not hard to do. But as Clarkson stated “We have a one eyed Scottish idiot running us”


  22. TPO says:

    How can Yvette Cooper lecture greedy bankers when she’s got her own snout in the trough?

    It shows that Humphries had the opportunity to challenge this verminous socialist but didn’t.


  23. banjo says:

    I would dearly love to buy the NI environment minister a large drink,not so much for loosening the first nut on the green parties bandwagons wheel.But for making a beeboid actually engage the subject.


  24. Ricky Martin says:

    What makes me furious is the hypocritical humbug of both the BBC and the government they work so hard to protect.

    MPs have voted themselves the highest salaries and gold plated pensions of any equivalent in the Western world.

    Many – like our esteemed Peers – top up their salaries with directorships.

    Bliar is on the Board of a bank and receives amply pay for his “advice” – whatever that amounts to.

    The Home Secretary, Baron Mandelson, Cooper & Balls receive huge “expenses” payments from the tax payer – way and above their principle pay scale. Are these not “bonuses”? Paid by us to the useless halfwits that have destroyed our country in an infantile attempt at ten year plan sovietisation.

    The BBC pay out bonuses to their staff and at our expense fund hugely expensive “jollies” around the world.

    Given the relentless series of problems caused by the incompetence of the Beebobalooloos, these payouts are hardly merited. But they go on – all the time.

    Methinks pot and kettle come to mind.


  25. Robert says:

    Jonathan: remember that the odious Smith is living with her sisiter, who is (according to the Mail) a – wait for it – BBC REPORTER! Now perhaps THAT would explain why they’ve managed to keep it from us humble proles for all this time…


  26. PeterN says:

    Anyone notice Humhries aside in shock horror tones when giving Mrs Balls the (mock) 3rd degree over the RBS bonus “………… it’s these people who have bought the country to it’s knees!”
    What a relief! There are some idiots who say her governments got something to do with it. Perish the thought!


  27. GCooper says:

    That didn’t last long, did it?

    It’s now 5.47pm and the only Jackboot Jacqui story on the BBC’s ‘news’ website is: “Drugs adviser criticised by Smith”.

    Clearly, some pretend journalist at the BBC has decided she needs to be seen in a positive light.

    Can’t upset your fellow travellers, can you, Beeboids?


  28. DP111 says:

    Ricky Martin wrote:MPs have voted themselves the highest salaries and gold plated pensions of any equivalent in the Western world.

    And as almost all our legislation comes from the EU, and has to be enacted as is, there is nothing for MPs to do. It is “Benefit” money with a gold plated pension, disguised as a job.


  29. Colin W says:

    Reading Nick Robinsons BBC blog, it is clear that the overwhelming majority want him to investigate Ms Smith and her expenses, they seem to have all seen through Labours normal attempts at spinning their way out of trouble.

    Mr Robinson is the BBC’s main political journalist, yet when it comes to scandals such as Ms Smiths he fails to report it?.

    No doubt Mr Robinson will be forced to clarify his article, which seems to be a constant feature of his blog, he gives the government line, and then he is shot-down in flames due to his obvious bias.


  30. Pete says:

    Banks are necessary. We need to pay bank staff something and we can all argue about just how much they should get.

    Most of what the BBC isn’t necessary. Why do we have to pay it anything to mass manufacture tired dross like Eastenders, Casualty, Top Gear, the W*nker Ross Show or Celebrity Cash in the Attic? It isn’t just BBC bonuses that are a scandal, it’s the fact that we have to pay people any wages at all for producing such rubbish.


  31. David Preiser (USA) says:

    Robert Peston has been riding the fence on the bonus issue lately. On the one hand, he knows it looks uncool for CEOs to get bonuses when they screwed up their companies, but on the other hand he acknowledges that at least some (Lloyds, Barclay’s) have done much better than others and the execs would say they deserve it.

    Peston also doesn’t like the idea of the government getting directly involved in corporate wages. Way back when the nationalization of Northern Rock was being discussed, he was warning against doing it wholesale because then Gordon Brown would essentially be chairman of the bank, deciding pay, etc. Peston isn’t enough of a Socialist to like that idea. Deep down he likes more of a China style of business, where a certain amount of free market capitalism is allowed, so long as it appears to support the Fairness and Social Justice scheme. That’s what Mr. Brown thought he was doing all those years as Chancellor, letting things get to this state, and that’s what Peston praised him for in the book. The point is, he has come out against this sort of thing before.

    Peston doesn’t like government deciding the pay of bankers because he’s not as stupid as his colleagues. So he continues to act like he’s riding the fence, and let his colleagues play the outrage game. Of course, anyone who has been paying attention to his game will know better.

    If this sounds like I’m asking for Robert Peston to – shock, horror – infuse his reporting with his personal opinions, then that’s because I am. He’s not the business editor just so he can do blog posts filled with dry details of credit-default swaps. His main purpose at the BBC is analysis, which requires – as John Humphrys said about BBC news reporting – interpreting things as best he can. Obviously his opinions are going to come into play, and they do. All the time, like when he’s warning against nationalization or toxic debt or whatever. That’s his opinion on display. It’s informed opinion, which is his job, but it’s still opinion.

    Why is he shying away from doing it this time? Can he not appear to be too critical of Mr. Brown’s latest cunning plan?


  32. Jon says:

    “Between them, the Schools Secretary and the Chief Secretary to the Treasury claimed nearly £32,000 in allowances to fund their London home in 2006-07. This had dropped to £24,000 in 2007-08.

    They have another house in Yorkshire, where they have neighbouring constituencies.”

    Now if there was an honest journalist left in the country – they would be asking Yvette Cooper why she is such a hypocrite, but alas there isn’t any.


  33. Jon says:

    Some good pieces in the Mail today

    “HARRY PHIBBS: How can Yvette Cooper lecture greedy bankers when she’s got her own snout in the trough?”

    “PETER OBORNE: Anyone else would be sent to jail”


  34. archduke says:

    offtopic but interesting – looks like one of the happy clappy politically correct crowd in education – who have totally screwed up education – has got their come-uppance.

    only thing is – its because of Muslim parents. so thats ok so, in our newspeak groupthink socialist nirvana.


  35. Anonymous says:

    Got to say though, Yvette Cooper got a -very- harsh ride on the Today programme this morning, as the financial proprietary of Jacqui Smith and herself was severely questioned.

    Cooper made the point it was all within the rules, to which the comeback was…yes, but who voted in the rules? MPs. She was left rather spluttering and Humphries was exceptionally aggressive regarding the whole thing.


  36. Tom says:

    Anonymous | 09.02.09 – 9:33 pm

    No, Humphrys was warming up nicely, but then he blew it.

    He thought Cooper/Balls had been cleared by a committee of MPs. She was able to squash him with the factoid that it had been an independent investigation by the sleaze czar.

    Humphrys never recovered.

    Missed opportunity.


  37. martin says:

    That vile fat slug Prescott is on Newsnight.

    Did anyone else see when he was spouting his bollocks former ‘Communist’ Paul Mason was nodding away in agreement.

    Oh and where is Mr Alzheimer’s tonight?


  38. Lurker says:

    I think you are on a hiding to nothing defending the bankers bonus. Its not about bonuses per se, its about top people at failed govt bail out banks getting theirs.

    Why do they get a bonus?

    For performance, for increasing profits.

    Yet many bankers have not turned a profit for their banks, they have bankrupted them and trashed their share price to boot.

    Many of these people should not be trusted to run the proverbial whelk stall let alone banks with £billions to play with.

    Making an impassioned apology for them is laughable. If you want to launch a robust defence of capitalism as it is practiced today sacrifices are going to have to be made. Starting with some overpaid bankers. We as taxpayers now own their banks, they owe us money. Start seizing some assets now, the principle of bonuses should work both ways. Perform beyond certain parameters -get a bonus. Fail miserably (and how they have failed)- get fined.

    And if they dont get the bonus they deserve, what then? No doubt they will take their irreplaceable skills back to the labour market where other institutions will snap them up. Talent like that is like gold dust.


  39. AndrewSouthLondon says:

    Should bankers get bonuses? Should actors get bonuses? Should footballers get bonuses? No group of people should get anything. Individuals vary in their ability and performance, so singling out “bankers” as a group is politics, not economics. As a reluctant shareholder in these financial institutions, I want them to return to success. I don’t know who is worth it and who isn’t – that is the business of management. Instead we are fed class war rhetoric about “greedy bankers”. More evidence, if it were needed, that this government is incapable of running a bath, let alone a bank. And certainly not a country.


  40. Roland Deschain says:

    Yet many bankers have not turned a profit for their banks, they have bankrupted them and trashed their share price to boot.
    Lurker | 10.02.09 – 3:53 am | #

    And these are precisely the people who should get no bonus. It will be no loss to the banks if they bu**er off somewhere else. But there are others who have quietly made money, without whom the banks’ results would have been worse. Should they be encouraged to jump ship by refusing bonuses which they feel they have earned?


  41. Jonathan says:

    The BBC and the Home Secretary: (Part II)

    When asked yesterday about the Jacqui Smith affair – Nick Robinson pronounced that it was a non-story. From as the story had been reported, he could not see how she had breached any rules.

    Rather naively, I took Mr. Robinson at his word. However, you might see some parellels in the case below. [hat-tip Guido Fawkes]

    In June 2003, Tory MP Michael Trend was found guilty of abusing the allowances system and ordered to repay £90,277. He was also suspended from parliament and stood down in disgrace at the following election. His crime was to claim the same allowance as Jacqui has when he was staying with a friend in London. Trend claimed he “believed that I could properly continue to designate London as ‘home’ for the purposes of ACA, even though, in domestic terms, his consituency home, remained his “main residence”.

    In reviewing Michael Trend’s case, the Standards Commissioner found it “difficult to understand” how Mr Trend had felt able to sign a certificate in 2000 saying his main home was a friend’s house in London.

    So perhaps Jacqui defence isn’t so water-tight as Mr Robinson would have his listeners believe. Was the BBC’s chief political correspondant unaware of the Trend case? I find that rather hard to believe. But even if he was, the Smith story broke on Sunday, so before his scheduled monday morning radio broadcast, Robinson had 24hrs to look for any precedents. Despite having all of the BBC’s resources at his disposal he found none. Did he even bother to look? Or as I suspect was it just easier to take the spin from No.10 i.e. Jacqui is innocent, and report this as a fact?

    Of course, to any worthwhile journalist this story does have legs. For instance, where does Ms Smith pay her council tax – on one or both of her ‘homes’. If both, where does she claim her 25% second home discount?

    Then there is the issue of her husband. She employs him as her Parlaimentary advisor (circa £40,000 PA). Yet, he lives in Reddich – some 150 miles from Parliament, the Home Office and the main residency of his employer – in London. We also know – that he doesn’t commute – otherwise so would Jacqui. So how can he advise on Parliamentary matters when he is nowhere near the place? How for instance, does he know what backbench MP’s and the press are thinking? From such a distance, how does he influence the parliamentary discourse? Or learn of the latest judgements from either the leader of the House or the Speaker? Surely he is alwyas going to be behind the curve? Given his circumstances (location and full-time carer for two children) it is hard to imagine how this man is or ever was the best placed candidate for this publicly funded job. A suspicious mind, might question his worth; I’m mean, does he actually do any work?

    Now I’d have thought all of the above would be worthy of investigation. I mean which journalist wouldn’t like to claim the scalp of a sitting Home Sec.?

    Answer -Nick Robinson!

    It’s either bias or sloppy journalism. Beeboids you chose…!


  42. JohnA says:


    Excellent post !


  43. Robert says:

    JohnA: I second that! Why has our resident BBC-defender MWL suddenly gone quiet?


  44. GCooper says:

    Robert – it’s strange. All our resident trolls and shills have fallen silent.

    Perhaps they are all the same person? Or maybe they’re on a course?


  45. JohnA says:

    I think MWL does an excellent job.

    His “defences” of the BBC are usually so evasive or ludicrous that they have the effect of proving the bias argument.


    Some good news – Newsround is rapidly losing its audience, less kids being propagandised:


  46. Velvel says:

    Our low brow increasingly bread and circuses bbc just doesn’t understand the bonus structure. They are not really bonuses. Rather they are commissions for bringing business to the bank and keeping our country ticking over. It’s an aspect of captialism lefties hate. They have a responsbility to explain these things, if they even understand them, to us unwashed ones. If you’re looking for even a modicum of objectivity in British news, it’s better to read the Sun or the Star. At least you have a choice about when and how much you pay for the bin liners.


  47. Field.Size says:

    Jonathan | 09.02.09 – 3:36 pm

    Spanking post. Well done.



  48. Zevilyn says:

    Bonuses are a stupid system devised by CEOs and Execs to make themselves richer. Its bollocks to suggest it has any useful function.

    Bonuses emphasise greed over teamwork.

    One thing is very, very clear. Under no circumstances should a penny of taxpayer money go to bonuses. If banks want to pay bonuses, they should pay it out of their own funds.

    Banks are not essential; the Post Office could probably do their job just as well. They don’t make anything, they just shuffle paper around.
    What is essential to surviving the depression is having a manufacturing industry…but oops we don’t have one.


  49. Bron says:

    Bonuses for ordinary folks are relatively small compared to their salary.

    They can be used to reward hard work and profitability.

    They are most appropriate in the private sector where job security is not the bonus it is in the public sector.

    Though it stands to reason that bonuses larger than entire annual salaries (in the banking sector there are examples of bonuses much much larger than annual salaries) are unacceptable and unjustifiable.

    Within these strict limits I could see how reasonable bonuses might be payable to the banking sector when they are making profit, they currently are not and should not be payable till they are see my comments about public sector above.

    Its clear by this simple argument BBC employees are public sector and non profitable and should receive no bonus at all.
    It is necessary to see they do not have a vested interest when reporting this.

    As for needing to pay bankers bonuses at all, why? To make this level of losses and government intervention we will all have to pay extra tax for decades. To attract and keep ‘top people’? Don’t make me laugh, if the ‘top people’ are this grossly incompetant and negligent we would be no worse off with the ‘bottom people’ in position receiving no bonuses at all.


  50. Melanie K says:

    When Cameron should be driving home the incompetance of this government he scores a massive own goal with some irrelevant nonsense about Titian’s death which was then amended on wikipedia by conservative Central Office, and which no surprise was found out.

    Did the Conservatives learn nothing from the disgraceful stealth wikipedia edits by the BBC that they were found out about?

    You couldn’t make it up.

    Utterly pathetic.

    And strange bias in what was reported by the BBC, no mention of their own shananigans when reporting the Conservative editgate. How convenient.