Simon English: A few rebellions but the City gravy train is likely to chug along as normal

Outlook The phrase shareholder spring is already a cliche that should probably be banned by all self-respecting journals. We won't know for sure whether it is a meaningful revolution, a genuine shift in the power relationship between owners and managers, until Vince Cable's law making protest votes on pay binding becomes law (if it ever does).

I'm going to guess this is just a blip. In retrospect it will turn out to have been a brief period when some companies' performance was so awful than even City fund managers felt obliged to at least make a show of being annoyed at executive pay.

The shareholder spring will only turn into an investors' autumn if chief executive pay becomes genuinely linked to performance, or else just shoved notably downwards.

Most likely what will occur is that there will continue to be a serious-looking "rebellion" every once in a while that will allow small shareholders to feel that their views are taken seriously. To give the impression that this is a fair fight. Meanwhile the City gravy train will peep-peep along as normal.

One national newspaper has been writing – by my reckoning – the following story at least once a week for the last 10 years: Major clampdown on executive pay imminent. Given that these stories appeared during a period when executive pay boomed and kept booming, you could see the relentless pursuit of them as doggedly heroic, if, sadly, completely wrong.

Isolated cases aside, the way to bet is that executive pay will keep rising in the next few years, especially for bankers. The pay deals coming down the line for top banking bosses are truly extraordinary.

If you think you're mad now at what financiers make – wait. That's because five years ago, before the crash, bankers' bonuses and pay were mostly in cash. Almost as if they thought bank shares were overvalued. Now there's been a shift to insist that bankers take payment in shares which are presently undervalued. When Royal Bank of Scotland and Lloyds Banking Group properly recover and the shares return to something like normal, the payouts are going to be phenomenal.

Chief executives not in banking will point to those rewards and say, hey, that's the new going rate for folk such as me... Remuneration committees will buckle. Steam will emerge from the ears of Vince Cable and others who expect life to be equitable. Everyone else will shrug: same as it ever was. Just a bit worse.

peopleFrankie Boyle responds to referendum result in characteristically offensive style
Life and Style
Couples have been having sex less in 2014, according to a new survey
New Articles
i100... with this review
Holly's review of Peterborough's Pizza Express quickly went viral on social media
footballTim Sherwood: This might be th match to wake up Manchester City
Arts and Entertainment
musicHow female vocalists are now writing their own hits
New Articles
ebooksAn unforgettable anthology of contemporary reportage
Arts and Entertainment
musicBiographer Hunter Davies has collected nearly a hundred original manuscripts
Blahnik says: 'I think I understand the English more than they do themselves'
Arts and Entertainment
Michelle Dockery as Lady Mary Crawley in Downton Abbey
TVInside Downton Abbey series 5
Life and Style
The term 'normcore' was given the oxygen of publicity by New York magazine during the autumn/winter shows in Paris in February
fashionWhen is a trend a non-trend? When it's Normcore, since you ask
Latest stories from i100
Have you tried new the Independent Digital Edition apps?
Independent Dating

By clicking 'Search' you
are agreeing to our
Terms of Use.

iJobs Job Widget
iJobs Money & Business

Senior BA - Motor and Home Insurance

£400 - £450 Per Day: Clearwater People Solutions Ltd: **URGENT CONTRACT ROLE**...

Market Risk & Control Manager

Up to £100k or £450p/d: Saxton Leigh: My client is a leading commodities tradi...

SQL Developer - Watford/NW London - £320 - £330 p/d - 6 months

£320 - £330 per day: Ashdown Group: The Ashdown Group have been engaged by a l...

Head of Audit

To £75,000 + Pension + Benefits + Bonus: Saxton Leigh: My client is looking f...

Day In a Page

Scottish referendum: The Yes vote was the love that dared speak its name, but it was not to be

Despite the result, this is the end of the status quo

Boyd Tonkin on the fall-out from the Scottish referendum
Manolo Blahnik: The high priest of heels talks flats, Englishness, and why he loves Mary Beard

Manolo Blahnik: Flats, Englishness, and Mary Beard

The shoe designer who has been dubbed 'the patron saint of the stiletto'
The Beatles biographer reveals exclusive original manuscripts of some of the best pop songs ever written

Scrambled eggs and LSD

Behind The Beatles' lyrics - thanks to Hunter Davis's original manuscript copies
'Normcore' fashion: Blending in is the new standing out in latest catwalk non-trend

'Normcore': Blending in is the new standing out

Just when fashion was in grave danger of running out of trends, it only went and invented the non-trend. Rebecca Gonsalves investigates
Dance’s new leading ladies fight back: How female vocalists are now writing their own hits

New leading ladies of dance fight back

How female vocalists are now writing their own hits
Mystery of the Ground Zero wedding photo

A shot in the dark

Mystery of the wedding photo from Ground Zero
His life, the universe and everything

His life, the universe and everything

New biography sheds light on comic genius of Douglas Adams
Save us from small screen superheroes

Save us from small screen superheroes

Shows like Agents of S.H.I.E.L.D are little more than marketing tools
Reach for the skies

Reach for the skies

From pools to football pitches, rooftop living is looking up
These are the 12 best hotel spas in the UK

12 best hotel spas in the UK

Some hotels go all out on facilities; others stand out for the sheer quality of treatments
These Iranian-controlled Shia militias used to specialise in killing American soldiers. Now they are fighting Isis, backed up by US airstrikes

Widespread fear of Isis is producing strange bedfellows

Iranian-controlled Shia militias that used to kill American soldiers are now fighting Isis, helped by US airstrikes
Topshop goes part Athena poster, part last spring Prada

Topshop goes part Athena poster, part last spring Prada

Shoppers don't come to Topshop for the unique
How to make a Lego masterpiece

How to make a Lego masterpiece

Toy breaks out of the nursery and heads for the gallery
Meet the ‘Endies’ – city dwellers who are too poor to have fun

Meet the ‘Endies’ – city dwellers who are too poor to have fun

Urbanites are cursed with an acronym pointing to Employed but No Disposable Income or Savings
Paisley’s decision to make peace with IRA enemies might remind the Arabs of Sadat

Ian Paisley’s decision to make peace with his IRA enemies

His Save Ulster from Sodomy campaign would surely have been supported by many a Sunni imam