© The Financial Times Ltd 2014 FT and 'Financial Times' are trademarks of The Financial Times Ltd.
Here’s a rather entertaining and comradely exchange between Kevan Jones, the former Labour minister, and George Parker, the FT’s political editor who is my boss and therefore right about everything.
David Cameron took the biggest delegation to India since the Raj in an attempt to revitalise relations. But, impressive as it was by UK standards, the trip has clearly not provided much of an aide-mémoire for Manmohan Singh, India’s prime minister.
Here is a telling dispatch from James Lamont, the FT’s man in New Delhi:
Transparency on high-end pay is good for Whitehall but not yet for the City – that is the conclusion emerging from the Treasury.
But what about the Lib Dems? Weren’t they billing themselves as the slayers of City excess? Tackling “obscene” banker pay was one of Nick Clegg’s top four priorities in the election campaign.
Yet it seems the element of the four point plan where the Lib Dems have made least progress.
Just compare what has happened to the proposals Clegg unveiled during the election.
Cash bonuses? Uncle Vince says £2,500 is your limit. Board level bonuses? Banned outright. (Vince made a joke about how the bank directors can make do with free golf club membership.) Working at a loss making bank? No bonus at all.
There was more. The one measure that really stood out was transparency. Cable and Clegg wanted to require banks to publish the names of all staff on a pay and bonus package greater than the prime minister’s salary. This would not only have ensnared top traders — it probably would have included their PAs as well.
When we asked Clegg about this recently, he dismissed the question, saying the Walker review was being implemented. When we pointed out that the legislation had been delayed, he seemed a bit taken aback.
Now George Osborne wants to impose such transparency rules on high pay “internationally rather than unilaterally” — which is an all too transparent code for shelving the reforms. Sir David Walker, the City grandee who proposed the tighter disclosure rules, has given the chancellor some convenient cover.
A remarkable number of the new Conservative peers share a common past: knowing David Cameron when he was a young Tory apparatchik.
It is tempting to conclude the honours list is payback to some people who helped him rise to the top. But that is probably a bit unfair. It more reflects the fact that Cameron is the first Tory prime minister to rise from the party’s staff ranks.
Notable names include: Fiona Shackleton (is this to make amends for Royal divorce business drying up?); Stewart Wood, the Oxford don turned Labour backroom star; Michael Grade, the former executive chairman of ITV; Patience Wheatcroft of the Wall Street Journal (we’re still waiting for a gong for the Westminster Blog); John Sharkey, the former ad man who led the Lib Dem election campaign; and Stanley Fink, the godfather of the hedge fund industry.
|About this blog||Blog guide|