Clegg’s weakness means banks can stick up two fingers yet again
Posted on 8 January 2011 | 10:01am
I fear even more literals than yesterday as today it is my desktop that is giving me Internet accesss grief so I am using the iPad again, complete with tippytappy touch typing on slidey screen, and inability to read over when done.
First, a plug for a superb piece on journalism by John Lloyd in the FT. It is too long for me to rehearse his arguments here but do try to see it. John is that rare breed, a journalist who thinks about journalism more deeply than those who simply see it as a question of where the next sensationalist story is coming from.
Second, another plug for the FT and in particular the lead story headlined ‘Banks defiant on bonuses for chiefs.’ This is clearly the latest issue on which the two governing parties intend to have said one thing in opposition, and in the early heady days of government, and quite another when it comes to crunch time.
The paper reports that bankers feel their ‘sacrifice'(my word) of bonuses last year and of their big donations to charities were not appreciated by politicians or public. It adds ‘bankers have also been emboldened by the apparently fading influence of the Liberal Democrats.
That is fascinating. It shows why the chemistry of the coalition matters. Nick Clegg’s influence is fading for two reasons – first because this is largely a Tory government pursuing Tory policies people did not vote for, and he is giving cover to that. Second, because the tuition fees broken pledge was the one which attracted the most attention.
There have been many more but the Tories are proving very adept at shifting the focus of blame. So even the banks and bonuses becomes their problem.
It is for this reason that Cameron wants the Lib Dems to win the Oldham East and Saddleworth by-election. Far more serious though is similar ‘got to do Nick a favour’ on controls orders. Playing around with a bit of tactical voting is one thing. Playing around with issues of security, just so Nick can say to his Guardianistas that he ‘won something’ is quite another.
As for the bankers, they’re laughing all the way to their place of employment. Cameron and Osborne never really wanted to hit them hard. Clegg and former Saint Vince are weakened. So it’s two fingers to the lot of them, take the money, take the hit and move on. The banks won’t much care about the increase in opprobrium. Cameron and Clegg ought to but for different reasons there is not much they can do about it.