CITY Minister Lord Myners yesterday said shareholders should take action to stop million pound bonuses after Royal Bank of Scotland directors threatened to resign if their bonuses were blocked. He did not outline any action that the government, the major shareholder in the bank intended to take.
RBS reportedly wants to pay a total of £1.5bn in bonuses to its investment bankers.
The RBS bankers are just a section of the banking class that was rescued by the deployment of up to £1.2 trillion of taxpayers’ money to prevent them going under.
The bankers, the enthusiasts for the survival of the fittest outlook, were not allowed to die by the Brown government, they were put on permanent life support, at the expense of the working class and the middle class, and told that the state would never allow them to go under.
They were given a license to speculate.
Now emboldened by this fact, they are back to business as usual, speculating and gambling on currencies, and commodity markets, rebuilding the mountains of fictitious value that have just been destroyed.
They are about to award themselves massive bonuses and are challenging the Labour government to sack them if they dare, reasoning that this bankers’ government will not dare.
Business Secretary Lord Mandelson said yesterday: ‘I understand the point that RBS directors are expressing – they say they have to remain competitive in the market in recruiting senior executives, and this is why it’s important that all the banks are equally restrained, and RBS is not singled out.’
Mandelson’s point is that since it is impossible to get the bankers to show restraint, especially since RBS are refusing to show such a quality, RBS will not be singled out.
The Labour government only uses its teeth against the postal workers, the firefighters, the rest of the public sector and the working class as a whole, especially the youth, whom it hits out at every day.
Even the Liberal Democrat Treasury spokesman Vince Cable, an ex-right-wing Labourite, is urging the government to ‘call the bluff’ of the RBS directors and accept their resignations, but Brown and Mandelson will not.
At the same time the arrogant bankers are once again charging ‘loanshark rates’ in overdraft charges, sometime amounting to hundreds of pounds a day to workers, who will be paying off the bankers’ debts and blighting their own lives and the lives of their families for the next 20 years, if capitalism is allowed to continue.
Meanwhile as the bankers insist on their bonuses, the Joseph Rowntree Foundation has just published a report which shows that poverty is on the rise, and has been rising in the UK since 2004 and is now at the same level as the start of the decade. This is before the ‘savage cuts’ to repay the bankers’ debts are imposed!
The report – which is the Foundation’s annual assessment of poverty in the UK – said that 2004-05 was a key turning point as that was when poverty, unemployment and property repossessions all started to rise.
This was when the bankers and venture capitalists were riding high, and roughshod over the working class.
The reality is that the banking class cannot be reformed because capitalism cannot be reformed.
The truth is that the capitalist system has failed and deserves to perish. The RBS directors must be sacked, and the bank put under workers management.
All the banks and the major industries must be nationalised and put under workers control and a planned economy developed.
What is required is a general strike to bring down the Brown government and bring in a workers government that will carry out socialist policies and end the rule of the bankers and capitalists.