The Times today leads on the return to fortune of those dastardly bankers. As the Dow Jones yesterday surged back through the 10,000 point barrier and the FTSE posted a strong 100 point growth, bankers were once again considering the possibility of hefty bonus this year. But whereas in previous years the pension fund holding masses would have welcomed growth in the City and largely tolerated bonuses, any City largesse towards its most successful offspring this year is likely to be greeted with howls of outrage.
One of the consequences of the recent crash has been the development of a “them and us” attitude among the general public towards the bogeymen in the City. This knee-jerk reaction might be understandable, but it shouldn’t be stoked up by news editors smelling a public desire for blood. The success of the wider economy is dependant upon a strong and healthy City. We need the banks and the banks need talented individuals; as a result the banks will continue to pay top whack to attract the best, the brightest and the most ambitious. This is a reality the public should accept, rather than pressurising the government to introduce strangling caps and limits on bonuses that will drive institutions and hence our economic recovery elsewhere. We also need to relearn that the 3rd quality I listed of those receiving bonuses, ambition, can be more of a virtue than a vice.