Posted: 01 May 2012
Bankers, before they are allowed their red braces, a Porsche 911 Turbo and a life time supply of cocaine laced prawn cocktails, have to swear to an oath
So I am saving a lot of content for the new website, when it comes later this month it will be full of good stuff. This, then, as it’s only going on the temporary Tumblr, is some pretty low-level, two-day-late, political commentary. Not cutting edge no, but I take a stab at bankers so probably worth a read.
On Monday Stephen Hester waived his multi-million pound bonus. That, and I don’t think I am exaggerating here, is the biggest, craziest, most fuck-off massive surprise of the year so far. Bigger even, than Twilight not being nominated for an Oscar. Why is it such a surprise? Well, he’s a banker and he gave up the opportunity to take more money.
Bankers, before they are allowed their red braces, a Porsche 911 Turbo and a life time supply of cocaine laced prawn cocktails, have to swear to an oath, in the almightily presence of Goldman Sachs, that they will favour money and the acquisition of it over anything else. They are not allowed to let morality, dignity or even the law get in the way of their accumulation of money.
Now, so that I am never blacklisted by all banks and I lose all my money thanks to an ‘accidental’ clerical error, and so that this doesn’t sound too much like a Guardian-esque, anti-capitsalist rant: I like that about bankers. I strangely admire their commitment to money. I don’t necessarily like them, want to socialise with them or want to be one of them but they are just the sort of people I want to look after my money. This recession might not suggest that a lot of them have the skills or talent for finances, but their commitment to mercilessly making money cannot be in question.
This ruthless attitude to money does, understandably, make bankers look repugnant, distasteful and morally dubious to most of the public. But, banker’s don’t care about what most of the public think about them, why would they? They don’t come into contact with most of the public. They only care what other bankers think and turning down money in The City is the school yard equivalent of picking up 1p from the floor. Follow Mr Hester through Canary Wharf and, echoing from the mirrored glass, all you will hear is the word “scrubber” being shouted at him. Even Fred Goodwin won’t care about being stripped of his knighthood, that killer pension he’s got will make up for it.
So what explanation is there for Simon Hester turning down millions? Does he care what the public think of him, rather than other bankers? Or is he just a shit banker? Surely not. The only logical explanation is that taking this hit to his wallet will, somehow, allow him to take an even greater bonus in the future. Maybe, his new role as an ambassador of a caring, sharing banking sector might allow him to take an enormous bonus in the future, without rousing the suspicions of the press or government. Sounds devious, but after all he is a complete banker.