Simon Carr:

The Sketch: Those detached from reality are a class apart

Share
Related Topics

The Tories are accused of synthetic anger over Fred's pension. I don't see anger, artificial or otherwise. They say, "It's obscene" in the same tone as they might say, "It's orange". Weary cynicism is a rational response – and perhaps the only dignified one.

Lord Myners had something to do with the Royal Bank of Scotland deal. He is the Minister for Thinking About Liaising with an Enabling Supervisory Banking Framework Gateway Committee [City minister]. In the Lords yesterday he presented a defence that no one could penetrate. Fred's pension was nothing to do with him, he said, it was a decision of the old RBS's board. "It was a matter for the directors of the bank." That firebrand Harriet repeated it in the Commons (her flame has been dowsed). You can't get past this defence, it isn't worth trying.

We know that the size of the pension was well publicised in the media before the RBS deal, we know that there were several options available, that the pension could have been halved, that the decision to let Fred have the lot was taken by one or two directors, not by the whole board.

But Myners said "not a single institutional shareholder had questioned" the decision. That rings true. Not a word against it from anyone. They're all in it together. They don't need to be dishonest. Remuneration directors remunerate. The wealthy are not whipped away from their moneypots.

Those who put their faith in regulation should see that our slippery, hand-washing regulators are useless disciplinarians. Light touch regulation works only when those who transgress are ruined. That's the deal. To let bankers run riot in good times and bail them out in bad is the worst of both worlds. But these people are of the same class. Politics, finance, administrative overlords, they are one great, self-sufficient enterprise, all equally "detached from reality" as Myners said of his banking counterparts.

In the Commons, Julian Lewis read out a story about himself from the country's "sleaziest tabloids". He was accused of something to do with his amendment, which suppresses MPs' addresses from the ballot paper. Dr Lewis was a little whiney, I fear. His amendment was nodded through without a vote. Now, thanks to Dr Lewis, MPs will be able to claim their London uncle's garage is their "main residence" and claim £22,000 a year without fear of discovery. If they are discovered they'll doubtless have their pensions doubled. Edward Leigh, his fellow Tory, spoke against it at Business Questions. But only in sorrow. Anger is pointless, for the time being.

simoncarr@sketch.sc

React Now

Latest stories from i100
Have you tried new the Independent Digital Edition apps?
SPONSORED FEATURES
iJobs Job Widget
iJobs General

Recruitment Genius: Project Assistant

£17000 per annum: Recruitment Genius: They are a leading company in the field ...

Recruitment Genius: DBA Developer - SQL Server

£30000 - £35000 per annum: Recruitment Genius: This is an exciting opportunity...

Recruitment Genius: Office Manager

£26041 - £34876 per annum: Recruitment Genius: There has never been a more exc...

Recruitment Genius: Travel Customer Service and Experience Manager

£14000 - £17000 per annum: Recruitment Genius: The fastest growing travel comp...

Day In a Page

Read Next
A pack of seagulls squabble over discarded food left on the beach at St Ives on July 28, 2015  

Number of urban seagulls in Britain nearly quadruples: Hide food and avoid chicks to stay in gulls’ good books

Tom Bawden
 

Blairites be warned, this could be the moment Labour turns into Syriza

Andrew Grice
Turkey-Kurdish conflict: Obama's deal with Ankara is a betrayal of Syrian Kurds and may not even weaken Isis

US betrayal of old ally brings limited reward

Since the accord, the Turks have only waged war on Kurds while no US bomber has used Incirlik airbase, says Patrick Cockburn
VIPs gather for opening of second Suez Canal - but doubts linger over security

'A gift from Egypt to the rest of the world'

VIPs gather for opening of second Suez Canal - but is it really needed?
The male menopause and intimations of mortality

Aches, pains and an inkling of mortality

So the male menopause is real, they say, but what would the Victorians, 'old' at 30, think of that, asks DJ Taylor
Blairites be warned, this could be the moment Labour turns into Syriza

Andrew Grice: Inside Westminster

Blairites be warned, this could be the moment Labour turns into Syriza
HMS Victory: The mystery of Britain's worst naval disaster is finally solved - 271 years later

The mystery of Britain's worst naval disaster is finally solved - 271 years later

Exclusive: David Keys reveals the research that finally explains why HMS Victory went down with the loss of 1,100 lives
Survivors of the Nagasaki atomic bomb attack: Japan must not abandon its post-war pacifism

'I saw people so injured you couldn't tell if they were dead or alive'

Nagasaki survivors on why Japan must not abandon its post-war pacifism
Jon Stewart: The voice of Democrats who felt Obama had failed to deliver on his 'Yes We Can' slogan, and the voter he tried hardest to keep onside

The voter Obama tried hardest to keep onside

Outgoing The Daily Show host, Jon Stewart, became the voice of Democrats who felt the President had failed to deliver on his ‘Yes We Can’ slogan. Tim Walker charts the ups and downs of their 10-year relationship on screen
RuPaul interview: The drag star on being inspired by Bowie, never fitting in, and saying the first thing that comes into your head

RuPaul interview

The drag star on being inspired by Bowie, never fitting in, and saying the first thing that comes into your head
Secrets of comedy couples: What's it like when both you and your partner are stand-ups?

Secrets of comedy couples

What's it like when both you and your partner are stand-ups?
Satya Nadella: As Windows 10 is launched can he return Microsoft to its former glory?

Satya Nadella: The man to clean up for Windows?

While Microsoft's founders spend their billions, the once-invincible tech company's new boss is trying to save it
The best swimwear for men: From trunks to shorts, make a splash this summer

The best swimwear for men

From trunks to shorts, make a splash this summer
Mark Hix recipes: Our chef tries his hand at a spot of summer foraging

Mark Hix goes summer foraging

 A dinner party doesn't have to mean a trip to the supermarket
Ashes 2015: With an audacious flourish, home hero Ian Bell ends all debate

With an audacious flourish, the home hero ends all debate

Ian Bell advances to Trent Bridge next week almost as undroppable as Alastair Cook and Joe Root, a cornerstone of England's new thinking, says Kevin Garside
Aaron Ramsey interview: Wales midfielder determined to be centre of attention for Arsenal this season

Aaron Ramsey interview

Wales midfielder determined to be centre of attention for Arsenal this season
Community Shield: Arsene Wenger needs to strike first blow in rivalry with Jose Mourinho

Community Shield gives Wenger chance to strike first blow in rivalry with Mourinho

As long as the Arsenal manager's run of games without a win over his Chelsea counterpart continues it will continue to dominate the narrative around the two men