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Wednesday, 12 January 2011

I'm Gonna Get Me A Gun

Notice anything different  about my blog page? Big flashy ads.

I'm not immediately turned off by blogs covered with flashy, zappy slogans encouraging me not to pass up on a once in a life time opportunity, but I'd made a policy decision not to sign up to addy thingamabobs. So how come I've got flashy ones splattered all over my pristine pages.

I think I know what's happened. I signed up to LinkedIn, and from that there's a link to my blog. I also put my wife's company on the LinkedIn  site. I'm not sure I can get rid of the ads and if they earn me a few extra pennies ( I hear Stephen Fry blog's a nice little earner)  then maybe I shouldn't complain. However, it's slightly nervy - things happening just like that.

Now for something completely different. Something relatively serious and something completely serious.

If you read a paper or watch the news in the UK you cannot have missed the reigniting of the bank bonus controversy. It's the time of the year that stellar (and not so bright) performers in the banking world receive "compensation" for their efforts during the past 12 months. We hear of sums running into millions being paid to these people.

Given the financial deluge we've recently experienced and the damage that appears to have been done to the UK economy many people are rather annoyed that those who they believe were responsible for the current belt tightening should be walking away with sack loads of dosh.

Yesterday the Bob Diamond the head of Barclay's was before the House of Commons Treasury Select Committee. Not surprisingly he was asked about bonuses paid to bankers. He made a reasonable fist of answering the criticism.

Banking operates in a world wide market. It generates huge profits, pays huge taxes and employs loads of people. Successful banks are successful because of the people they employ and if you want to employ and keep the best you have to pay the market rate which is determined by the industry as a whole.

It might not be something national politicians like to hear, but frankly they can do very little to influence that jobs market. If they over tax, either banks or their star performers, one or both will seek out friendlier financial climes.

The real crime is not these "huge" sums paid out to bankers but the politicians' dishonesty in singling them out for special treatment.

It wasn't the bankers who allowed the regulatory regime to die on the vine. It wasn't the bankers who borrowed billions to fund their political ambitions (and keep the electorate sweet). The bankers facilitated that madness, no doubt about that, but if we're shovelling shit a huge dollop should land on Governments across the western world.

What is the difference between Manchester United or Spurs going into the transfer market and paying millions for a player and paying him a £100,000 a week in wages and a bank paying their top talent large bonuses when they earn the banks huge profits? They're both operating in world wide markets, but you rarely hear a supporter complain if his team spends £20 million on a star player.

The shootings in Tucson, Arizona had a familiar ring about them. What amazes me is the response. It's all to do with the right wing bile that saturates the US media. Fox News is the new anti-Christ and Sarah Palin the purveyor of hate and intolerance.

All this may be true, but the simple fact is that if the poor deluded man who committed this slaughter hadn't had a semi automatic gun with an enlarged magazine fewer victims would have resulted.

It's worrying that in Tucson sales of the type of gun used have gone through the roof since the weekend and a couple of Republican representatives have said publicly that from now on they'll (illegally) carry concealed shooters.

Americans can keep their God given right to keep and bear arms.....and be prepared to live (and die) with the consequences.

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