05 March, 2013

The Bonus Cap

We shall be hearing quite a lot about the European Union's proposed bonus cap, in particular because the banks are going to resort to law, probably under the now unpopular Human Rights Act, or the Equalities Act (see below) if that extends to dealers but not Dalits. Two things to note: firstly, don't blame David Cameron. The Government's power to do anything about this was removed with Qualified Majority Voting. He may be ineffective, but in this case it's not his fault. The second thing is don't believe it when you are told that even the Swiss are adopting such legislation. Typically, the Swiss one is very sensible, giving shareholders the right to vote on executive pay, a step forward rather than back for democracy and, I suppose, 'rights'.

They won't be doing this in New York or Singapore.

When considering the matter of bankers' remuneration I often turn to another highly paid profession, football. It is as if the Football League had said that all clubs north of the Watford Gap will have to limit footballers' wages and no more than a £25 voucher from Boots for scoring a goal. Clubs in the South would not be affected.

So in the North, come the opening of the Transfer Window, Manchester United, Manchester City and Bangor Athletic would be limited as to what talent they can pay for: Cristiano Ronaldo doesn't score goals for £25 and may anyway be using a different brand of cosmetics. Note that this wouldn't trouble Bangor Athletic, the footballing equivalent of Malta or Belgium, who don't have the money or the name to bid for the best players and so supported the move, dragging the big Manchester Clubs down to their level.

But Tottenham and Chelsea, the equivalents of New York and Singapore, would be cock-a-hoop, their teams full of superstars.

Such is the effect of governments sticking their oar into places where they shouldn't.

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