Bankers bonuses
Monday, 09 February 2009 09:14

Jeremy Clarkson described the prime minister Gordon Brown as 'a one-eyed Scottish idiot' and was obliged to apologise. But let's look at what he said in the cold light of day rather than the heat of the moment and try to decide whether the prime minister is an idiot or not.

Today we hear that managers at the Royal Bank of Scotland RBS that is now 60% owned by UK taxpayers are about to be paid a billion pounds in bonuses. In the current climate people bandy that billion number about far too easily and without any thought for what it actually means. In the UK a billion is one thousand million. So we are talking about one thousand million pounds in bonuses.

Now let's look at RBS and ask a few questions, like how many staff are there. Latest figures show that RBS employs around 135,000 people. That means that if the billion pounds was shared equally amongst the staff they would be looking at a bonus of around £7,500 each! That's a staggering bonus for failure.

However, not all staff will be sharing in the bonuses, only the 'senior management', it would be reasonable to assume that about 3% (3 in a hundred) might be considered senior management. That means the ludicrous bonus pot would, if shared equally, would give each one around £250,000.

Can you believe that, at a time when most people are worried about losing their jobs and interest rates have been cut to the point where savers are getting almost nothing, the people resonsible are pocketing a quarter of a million in bonuses.

Returning now to the original question, is Gordon Brown an idiot?

What kind of person would throw billions of pounds of taxpayers money to the banks to bale them out and still allow them to have bonuses of around a quarter of a million pounds?

If the answer is an idiot who didn't think then Clarkson was right and no apology was needed.

In our opinion Gordon Brown is right there at the top of the idiot's pile.

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