It's Time to Call the Bluff of Self-Important Bankers

Article excerpt

Byline: Simon English

HOW many truly brilliant people do you know? I mean brilliant, not just clever-clever. Extrapolating from that number -- which is probably no higher than zero, and is certainly lower than three -- how many truly brilliant people are there in the whole world? Let's arrive at a number of 50,000, for the sake of argument.

For banker pay to be justifiable, all 50,000 of those people -- most of humanity's collective genius -- would have to work in either the City of London or on Wall Street.

Statistically it is highly unlikely for that to be the case, not least because some -- perhaps many -- brilliant people don't want to work in finance in the first place.

What follows from that is that some -- perhaps many -- of those who think it is normal to bag a [pounds sterling]1 million bonus each year are just lucky rather than particularly talented. That's why the Government's tax on bonuses and 50% income tax this year is perfectly fair -- these are not taxes on talent, they are taxes on being jammy.

Those of us in employment might hate this idea, but most workers are expendable; somebody equally competent can be found to replace those who leave or get fired and they will probably work for less. The jammy tax -- it should be rebranded as such -- is a small way of righting the huge wrong inflicted on Britain by the City's recklessness.

That's why the Government should stick to its guns in the face of threats by some to leave the country.

And when the very few who do decide to up and leave are not missed, then the banking sector will be exposed for what it has increasingly become -- a whiney, self-important, special interest group with strong political influence. …