Daily Archives: February 11, 2009

The second session of MPs versus bankers has kicked off. This time it’s current chief executives facing the Treasury select committee.

Opening question from John McFall, chairman: Why do the general public hate you?

Cue long-winded non-answers from several bank chiefs.

We’ve now moved on to Stephen Hester of RBS and the question of who decides the bank’s bonuses. (RBS has controversially considered paying up to £1bn of bonuses, some of which are under contractual obligation).

Hester says: “I believe that falls to the RBS board but I could not imagine the RBS board doing something over the violent opposition of the majority of its shareholders and we have one shareholder which is majority so we are looking very carefully with UKFI (a wing of the Treasury) to get the right solution.”

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News flash: Crosby is walking from his job as deputy chair of the City regulator.

His demise seemed likely after No 10 failed to give him unqualified support earlier this morning. Read more

This year’s Black and White Ball was a strange affair. David Cameron went to great lengths to make the main event of the Tory social calendar as inconspicuous as possible. The Black & White Ball became the Black & White Party. The guests dropped the dinner jackets and cummerbunds for suits and open neck shirts. (Dress code: “Winter Glamorous”.) Champagne was out, sympathy for the poor was in.

Even more strange, though, was the response to Cameron’s speech. This is a captive audience. It usually takes little more than a wink from the Tory leader to have the ball guests lying on their backs and screaming for more. But, somehow, Cameron delivered a damp squib. The obligatory standing ovation was forgone. The crowd stayed seated. Read more