Sunday, 29 January 2012

FT's Dinner Party Debate, Apple & Beckham Versus RBS

This cartoon from the 'Independent' caught my eye this morning as I scanned the Sunday Newspapers. 

Last night in the guise of a Chinese double agent ( I found a stylish Chinese jacket in red woven silk in a charity shop to wear) I was onboard the Trans Siberian Railway seated in a lavish dinning car in the company of a Doctor, an Anesthetist, an Accountant, an HR Executive, two high profile Property Consultants and a Lloyds Insurance Broker ! We each played our roles admirably.  I suspected it was the British agent who dun it - it is the quiet ones you have to watch we all agreed. We exited the dining car of the Trans Siberian Express train and found ourselves back in the present. Coffee, mint and Camomile teas, with a choice of liqueurs followed. The Ex Cambridge graduate Property Consultant then asked
'Do you think that  Stephen Hester should get his bonus for sorting out RBS?'

The conclusion of much heated debate was that 

Remembering that RBS is 82% owned by the British tax payer it was felt that in a true meritocracy no one should be rewarded until they have done the job they have been hired for.
Do doctors and nurses get bonus's? The argument that no one else would do this 'Mr Fixit'  job does not carry water - the accolade of pulling a high profile bank out of a self inflicted mess should be enough for him. After all he is being PAID an extremely high salary before bonus. Are there no financial whizz kids with the brains and integrity to sort out the mess as a public service for 1.2 million !! 

It was agreed Stephen Hester should have the same privations the fallout of the banking mess has caused for everyone else - we felt his position is a symbolic one - and that he should lead by example. He was hired by the Labour parties' Alastair Darling with Mr Brown before Cameron was in power with Nick Clegg, Labour approved the ludicrously generous contract with Hester. Pressure needs to bear if he and others in the banking community don't do the right thing. We also felt that human nature being what it is that if you already have millions  yourself ( invested safely! ) why should you mind if things go wrong, you are set up for a minimum risk, quick, no strings attached exit particularly when rewarded for failure as was the case with Fred Goodwin! We concluded that high bonus culture in the financial world is fundamentally flawed and remembered it was encouraged by the Labour party when in power and given the opportunity to mutate and thrive when Maggie deregulated the banks in the 80s.

The discussion then went onto whether footballers should be paid such high amounts. Brand Beckham was admired and seen as a positive thing. Victoria Beckham's foray into fashion accepted as stylish and classy. The Insurance Broker then cited the success of Johny Ives ( a Brit) who is currently Senior Vice President of Design at Apple as someone else who is paid huge amounts of money in cash and stock. Most of us conceded that this fact was not that abhorrent to us as he was part of the running of a successful business with the tangible results of job creation. He is credited with creating the coveted Apple image with Steve Jobs. John Paul Getty, and Bill Gates then were thrown into the conversation as examples of responsible wealth custodians with generous altruistic gesture tendencies that have insured their place in wealth donor history. Success is a privilege and Giving something back to your Country or Community ensures 

Let's make debate and challenging the status quo fashionable!

what do you think?

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