Simon English: There's nothing to be lost by curbing executive pay
Thursday 19 January 2012
Outlook: A relaxed lunch in a nice boozer. In attendance: a banker from the old school. An angel investor. A PR man of the even older school. An entrepreneur who has just sold a business he built from scratch for tens of millions of pounds with the aid of the others.
Wine flows. Lips loosen. The political views on display go right across the spectrum from just to the right of David Cameron (the entrepreneur) to several yards to the right of Attila the Hun (the PR man).
The issue that unites them in fury? Executive pay. Folk whose general view is that government interference is almost never the answer want action taken on this. They are sick of the rewards given to scheming bankers and so-so chief executives.
The City and wider corporate life, places in which they have spent their whole lives, now just look like a space for chancers to take it in turns to be lucky.
How can Sir Fred Goodwin still have that knighthood? Why don't the government just go and grab his (our) money off him?
I offer the idea, first mooted by my colleague Anthony Hilton, that bosses of large public companies should have one flat rate of pay.
Let's say running a FTSE 100 company pays £2m a year. No bells, no whistles, that's it. The notion that 100 talented people couldn't be found to work at that rate is absurd. Executives who think they need or deserve more than that are welcome to try their luck as genuine entrepreneurs.
More wine is taken. And the idea is pronounced at least reasonable.
The point is that Mr Cameron could be much bolder on this issue than he is presently being. He may fear he'd alienate his core support, but in fact they'd welcome it. There may never be a better opportunity to strike. For what is he waiting?
Back to Mr Martin, who said the other day that he doubted the Prime Minister and his Chancellor cared less about pubs' battle for survival. They prefer dinner parties, he mused.
He's probably right about that and on one hand it hardly matters how Mr Cameron and Mr Osborne prefer to entertain themselves.
But you get the strong sense that they spend too much time hanging around with financial entrepreneurs as opposed to real ones.
Their crowd seems to include a lot of people that think it is normal to bank £5m for a semi-clever piece of speculative trading that involved no real work whatsoever.
If you think such sums are natural, it might be hard to get properly angry about executive pay.
- 1 Bruce Jenner's 'Interview of the year': Suicidal thoughts, rejection by family members and new wardrobe
- 2 Sofyen Belamouadden murder: The inside story of a crime that horrified Britain
- 3 How to turn off/stop 'seen by' on Facebook: Disable it to make your chats seem less passive aggressive
- 4 'We're not heroes, just tourists': Swedish police officers on holiday stop vicious assault on New York subway
- 5 Buckingham Palace guard who attacked passers-by in 'most most violent piece of CCTV footage' police officer had seen walks free
Bruce Jenner's 'Interview of the year': Suicidal thoughts, rejection by family members and new wardrobe
Top 20 misconceptions people believe are true
Sofyen Belamouadden murder: The inside story of a crime that horrified Britain
'We're not heroes, just tourists': Swedish police officers on holiday stop vicious assault on New York subway
Nepal earthquake: More than 1,100 killed across four countries and in Mount Everest avalanche
The sickening truth about food banks that the Tories don't want you to know
Katie Hopkins on LBC: Listen to caller taking The Sun columnist to task over migrant comments
Migrant boat disaster: Ukip candidate mocks victims in sickening Twitter post
Nigel Farage wants the BBC to stop making programmes like Doctor Who, Strictly Come Dancing, and Top Gear
Global warming: Scientists say temperatures could rise by 6C by 2100 and call for action ahead of UN meeting in Paris
General Election 2015: Britain would become a 'communist dictatorship' under Ed Miliband and Nicola Sturgeon, claims wife of Michael Gove
iJobs Money & Business
£50000 - £55000 per annum: Ashdown Group: Business Analyst - Financial Service...
£18000 - £23000 per annum + OTE £45K: SThree: At SThree, we like to be differe...
£20000 - £25000 per annum + competitive: SThree: Did you know? SThree is the o...
£22000 - £24000 per annum: Recruitment Genius: This is an opportunity to join ...