21 Sep 2010

Lib Dems and the unbashed bankers

What are the “sanctions” against irritating telephone number bank bonuses that Nick Clegg and Vince Cable were talking about this morning?

Well, there’s no secret weapon waiting to be wheeled out of the Treasury hangar.

Coalition policy is that the government is committed to exploring internationally-agreed approaches to levies on bonus and/or profit levels through IMF channels. Not quite as grabby as the soundbites from the DPM and the Business Secretary made it sound in their interviews this morning.

Government, as they know, doesn’t move with the swiftness of an opposition press release and they are all too conscious of the gap between their pre-election rhetoric on bonus-bashing and their relative inaction in government. All too conscious as well of the dreaded New Year headlines about billions being handed out to bankers, even if chunks of it are held back for later disbursement subject to longer term performance.

On another note, what struck me here today were the two Lib Dem ministers who attacked The Guardian – Andrew Stunell, the Communities minister, and Paul Burstow, Health minister.

You hear a lot of anti-Guardian stuff around here. The Guardian swung behind the Lib Dems in the election but has been pretty critical of the Coalition.

Nick Clegg attended The Guardian’s reception at the Conference last night but makes little secret of how annoyed he is by the paper’s attacks. He’s even been heard to refer to it as “The Poison.”

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