News Ketchup

Bonus days are here again

Not since the Nazis took every penny off German Jewish families during 1937 – and then charged their relatives abroad to let them flee –  has there been quite such a brass-necked con on the scale of bankers paying themselves bonuses this year. But pay themselves they will, and to Hell with what the Sovereign body of our country thinks.

RBS directors are ‘adamant’ that they will pay senior high-performing directors huge bonuses, despite the billions they still owe the taxpayer…and the highly-toxic crap left simmering away like a neurotic isotope on the books. There’s also the small matter of 3,500 jobs being lost as RBS withdraws  from the investment banking sector.

Given that latter reality, I am left wondering why RBS needs to reward successful, um, investment bankers. Easing them out by giving them nothing would seem like a more commercial approach, but then what do I know?

Bob Diamond at Barclays – a man once referred to by a New York circuit judge as “unreliable at a witness” – is set to give himself £10m – although I understand this is his reward for dodging the Government’s SME lending target by £900m….without incurring any penalties.

Diamond literally told Vince Cable to f**k off to his face last week – small beer for this MoU these days, given he more or less said the same thing to a Parliamentary Committee of Enquiry last year, and to the Prime Minister in late 2010. On this issue, it is indeed to Downing Street that we should now look for a lead. There we will find two – one round Dave’s neck, and the other round Osborne’s – as Black Bob takes both his lapdogs for their Sunday constitutional up and down Whitehall.

Tesco rushes to Robbins’ defence

Not content with having employed a JCB to dig itself a big hole about alleged insider trading in the senior ranks, Tesco was on course for the centre of the Earth last night as it defended the COO’s hurried share sale, saying he ‘needed to raise cash for family expenditure’. I have it on very good authority that when Ronnie Biggs took part in the Great Train Robbery of 1963, he too faced the wrath of some pretty ruthless gambling club owners. I don’t, however, remember his Brief at the subsequent trial asking this to be considered in mitigation of him having bashed the train-driver’s head in.

CEO Phil ‘Hopeless’ Clarke has meanwhile announced his 2012-13 strategy to turn Tesco round: spending £500M on store facelifts and more staff in order to “reconnect with the customer”. Go to the Shop Tesco section here at The Slog for further evidence of why Tesco really doesn’t connect with customers. Apparently it’s something to do with cheating them.

‘People no longer want more,’ opined one business guru in today’s Sundays, ‘they want value’. Indeed they do. And increasingly, they want Government to do something about the bad guys. How Tesco can quite openly enjoy a 31% market share and avoid being forced to sell some stores by the M&M committee is a little out of my league I’m afraid, as I was never good at the illogic of exceptions. We might look for a lead from Vince Cable, but his too is round the neck, being held by Osborne; and as we already know, following the Newscorp scandal, his underling Jeremy Rhyminge-Slang’s only lead is the one held by Dave.

We must all hope that the slurry of dog-walkers in Downing Street have got their pooper-scoopers with them.

Re the Times titles: is anyone at the wheel?

As the global media battle that has emerged from techno-confluence heats up, Rupert ‘Memory Man’ Murdoch could be forgiven for taking no interest in his offline flagship newspapers, the Times and Sunday Times. Which is a good thing, as he’s clearly taking no interest in them whatsoever. The tricky thing in this situation, however, is working out just who, among the Wapping Liars – is interested. The Business Section goes from bad to worse. A piece about changes in broadcast technology, for instance, has a shot of a girlie in flimsy top and crutch-gripping hotpants washing a car…underneath which the caption says ‘streaming movies is the new battleground’. Is Kelvin ‘Slug’ Mackenzie back in there somewhere doing his Salvador Dali impression?

‘We need productivity, but growth must come first’ states David Smith controversially. Kate Walsh writes a piece allegedly about ‘Tesco’s blueprint for change’ which concludes ‘Clarke’s vision is of a Tesco that offers value, friendliness, attentive service and an enjoyable shopping environment’. This is a realisation of change below even that achieved by Barack Obama. On page 5 of the BS (yes, quite) today, is a piece laughably called ‘Goldman’s Trojan Horse’, rerunning the Greek hidden debts seminar held by Goldman Sachs to help defraud Brussels some five years ago. The Slog – among about a half billion other sites – wrote variations of and updates on this story during 2009. This is a record in missing deadlines. Harry Evans would’ve run a piece about corruption in Brussels stopping Goldman from being indicted. But then, Harry was editor a long, long time ago.

A good third of the main paper’s content today will be liver-chopped and changed a bit to reappear largely unchanged in tomorrow’s tabloid reading-age-of-14 Times edition. This means you will have another chance to wonder about the gay Dean about to sue the Church, hedge fund managers helping trophy women fight divorce cases in return for a share of the take, Britain’s hidden Somali pirate ransoms (another five month old story), and parents paying £1000 per hour to super-tutors for their kids. The equally risible News Review pull-out (‘new friend-trend’ online good deeds blockbuster, Queen loves horses sensation) is as always saved only by the regular anchors like Jeremy Clarkson and increasingly absent Minette Marrin. Even Simon Jenkins seems to have jumped ship. A truly awful piece by Magarette Driscoll this weekend tries to claim that Anthony Worrall-Thompson’s case is just the tip of a national shoplifting epidemic. The worst kind of attach-an-old-story-to-a-celeb, its opportunism was matched only by Ms Driscoll’s profound conclusion that the TV chef is ‘suffering some kind of mid-life crisis’. Not leprosy then, or septicaemia maybe? Some kind of mid-life crisis. God help us.

A recent speech in Thailand proved beyond any reasonable doubt that Murdoch Sr. still has all the slates on his roof. But his interest now – quite rightly from the Newscorp shareholders’ perspective – is ensuring that he has enough control over changing technical switchgear that holds the future of news in the maturing digital age. The Times titles would indeed be much better off if somebody with fresh marketing ideas about offline infotainment and online nuances took them on. Roop should stop holding out for a better price, and flog them. He is, after all, going to need some serious grease-money to keep James out of jail.

52 thoughts on “News Ketchup

  1. October 1987(severe storm on a Friday),a cruise ship sinking,Greece confirming it is Greece,we are due a market adjustment.


  2. “Not since the Nazis took every penny off German Jewish families during 1937 – and then charged their relatives abroad to let them flee – has there been quite such a brass-necked con on the scale of bankers paying themselves bonuses this year. But pay themselves they will, and to Hell with what the Sovereign body of our country thinks.”

    There you go again John, spreading and stirring things up with your factual realism talk about the fascist banking Napolean like pigs, you really must learn how to fall in and tow the party line!

    I therefore commend your paragraph to the blogosphere!


  3. It seems that the British government has been caught lying on its back again, having its tummy tickled by the banks. Whatever you may think of her politics, it is a pity that Cameron lacks Merkel’s backbone.

    As to bonusses – in the Netherlands, ING’s were put on hold last year. Something to do with being bailed out I believe: and a government willing to stump up in political terms for what its taxpayers have paid for. I am very cross that the Slog should criticize European leaders for doing what Mr Cameron ought to be doing.

    This from the English speaking Dutch News:

    ING to take longer to repay state aid, no dividends until then

    Friday 13 January 2012

    ING has made paying back the remaining €3bn it owes the state a priority and this will happen by the end of 2013, the banking and insurance group said on Friday.

    ‘However given the ongoing crisis in the eurozone and increasing regulatory capital requirements, we need to take a cautious approach and pay special attention to liquidity, funding and capital,’ CEO Jan Hommen said in a statement to update investors and analysts on the bank’s strategy.

    Last year, ING said it planned to repay the remaining money in aid it received from the government by May 2012. But in November Hommen hinted the final settlement could be postponed because of market uncertainty and new capital requirements

    In addition, no dividends will be paid until the state has been paid off, ING said.

    The bank also said it had reduced its exposure to southern European debt to around €2bn, bringing the total reduction in 2011 to around €4bn.



  4. If we were all as perfect as the Wonderful Eurocrats life would be a bed of sterile roses and we would all be smelling of eau de toilette.
    Fortunately we British rather like what we do, have our own original logic and don’t need to follow any examples from el continento thank you very much.


  5. Gemz,
    I agree with you, but not Merkels backbone:
    Here’s the rub, our country is entirely dependent on the fraudulent banking system.
    We have two choices
    1. Rid the system of ALL FRAUD and step into short term/unknown oblivion, or
    2. Pray that we can rid the system of fraud over the long term. Which personally I don’t think will happen because the system will have collapsed into chaos for that option to work.

    Therefore I see that events will over take and force the procrastinating leaderless bunch of ********* into panic decision making.
    It seems to me that is what everyone is waiting for.


  6. Lots in the press and on the slog about the haircuts (or not). There was a link in the dt comments section to the Athens news. I had not realised that the ECB, who are the biggest Greek bondholders are also refusing a haircut. Meaning that the other bondholders would have to give up more to make the difference. Not only the hedgies throwing spanners in the works then.


  7. Thanks Boxer!

    Ridding the UK of fraud in the long term is certainly the best way to go – but please be aware that there is little to go on so far.

    I wrote this for KFC just today:

    I will remind you that when the Telegraaf did a copy-cat sting on the Tweede Kamer, they found that three MPs had broken the laws on expenses. The maximum amount was some €1000 or so. Out of 150 members. I will remind you that in comparison to British MPs €1000 was not even considered as worthy of further investigation. I will remind you that three British MPs are still in prison for the frauds they practised on their expenses.

    With that sort of background the Dutch have a lot more going for them than the British – perhaps your MPs could learn a thing or two about integrity? Given that German MPs are much the same stock, there is a much greater chance that Merkel shares more of their characteristics than she does those of Cameron. Just think for one moment: who is fighting the banks – and who has already given in to them? Merkel is still fighting, Cameron has caved in. That in my book is backbone.

    Perhaps I need a different dictionary?

    Affiliation warning: I am 25% French, 0% German.


  8. @TJ

    is that why three of your MPs are still in prison for fraud? I know they aren’t eurocrats, but I bet those MPs could teach them a thing or two about how to do it.


  9. With a slightly different take on things, this came through from Ekathimerini German foreign minister in Athens for crisis talks

    The ECB is complaining that it is not a private bond holder. Personally, I do not see this as making any difference, it is the sort of technical mumbo-jumbo that bureaucrats come up with to defend the indefensible.

    If they are not in the talks, then as far as I am concerned, they get given the results that are agreed on. That might be far more prejudicial than had they played fair. The Hedgies want what is effectively German taxpayer’s money – did Merkel walk out like some spineless Cameron? Or did she stay and fight her corner?

    For my money – my taxes, that is – I would rather the efforts of Guido Westerwelle to get Greece out of this mess than basic austerity.

    Remember this: had the banks accepted a 50% haircut last July, Greece could be getting back on its feet now. Now the hedgies won’t play any more. Leave them in their play-pen with their building bricks.


  10. Gemz, utter rubbish. The British MP’s are in prison because they broke the law. Not good that they did it, but in the end they were caught and punished. Eurocrats are exempt from prosecution, and investigation. They are massively corrupt but it is illegal for journalists to investigate them. That is Zimbabwe type governance. As for the German’s being whiter than white and all lovely and cuddly. Well you carry on with your delusions if that makes you happy, but it is very telling that rather than speak about the matters in hand in Europe you seem to have spent most of your Sunday complaining about British expenses scandals, and repeating endlessly that Dutch MP’S were not corrupt and somehow this means German politicians are too. wtf??? Of topic and tenuous. But of course any excuse to have a bash at those nasty Brits who won’t kow tow to German F.U. fantasies


  11. @soap
    You have raised the winning argument, thank you.
    ”Eurocrats are exempt from prosecution, and investigation.”

    Gemz, utter rubbish.
    I’m sure I’ve seen this theme in many a previous thread….it goes with the territory.


  12. The banks you speak of are French and German. Good chance they will go to the wall over this. Then I suppose when the Germans bail their banks it will be acceptable somehow.
    The hedgies don’t have to play. They had the sense to insure themselves, so why would they take a cut? The ECB won’t do it why should they? Of course the cause of all this is the Euro, and the idiot politicians that won’t let it go. Such as Merkel


  13. Spot on analysis soapy….
    The Euro fantasy is to blame . Germany will end up paying for most of this catastrophe, and rightly so.


  14. @Gemz
    “It seems that the British government has been caught lying on its back again, having its tummy tickled by the banks. ”
    Don’t you mean lying on it’s tummy, having its ……”
    Woops sorry – ladies present.


  15. Gemz
    Where is Merkel’s backbone when it comes to paying up for the Euro dream?
    Now that the tide has turned she is planning to cast aside other nations and hunker down the coming crash behind the DM.
    Merkel’s backbone translates: When the going gets tough the tough get out!
    Only time will tell.


  16. @Soapy

    Gemz, utter rubbish. The British MP’s are in prison because they broke the law. Not good that they did it, but in the end they were caught and punished. </blockquote.

    Yes, but it was not the government that turned them in, was it? I will add that THREE British MPs are in jail: three Dutch MPs were found to be in error, and errors that were tiny in comparison with the AVERAGE British MP's fraud, let alone the worst. Three Dutch MPs who had booked an average €500 in expenses? Come on!!

    As to a German government, what would you know? I mean that: have you ever lived there? Okay, things have changed in the 20+ years since I lived there myself, but things have not changed in the UK in that time, so why should Germany?

    If you think that I am a supporter of the Germans, read my comments very carefully next time: I am no fan of people who make and sell submarines and then bribe officials to purchase them. As to "Bashing those nasty Brits" perhaps you should try reading this? There is ample evidence to back up my feelings there. Have a look sometime! Come on, can you be consistent for once in your life: you are not a slippery bar of soap for nothing!


  17. @Soap

    Indeed they are. They should agree with the rest of them too. It has gone on for far too long now. They made bad judgements, and have learned from the American style of socialism capitalism that they can expect to get away with it. People like you and me have to pick up the tab.

    Do you now see why Merkel is holding out against them? Cameron, bless his little heart, has already given in to them, and you want Merkel to do so as well! I am astonished at you: I thought you believed in capitalism.


    “The eurofantasy is to blame” – great words. Since most people now admit that it was flawed from the start, how is it that the private banks and the private ratings agencies all fell for the con?
    Yes, the eurofantasy was to blame! Yet it was the private banks who propped it up for so long, how is it that they did not realize their folly?


  18. @KFC

    So you think that Schäffler is as bad as those boys in Westminster do you? Standing up on his own to try and get a referendum going? Just how much chance would he have in Britain? You would not have even seen it in the small print in the DT let alone headlines as there were in Germany.


  19. @TJ

    I will spell it out: Merkel is standing for her taxpayers.

    Does that not go with the territory? I want to ask you: why has Cameron not stood for his taxpayers?????????????????? I want to know from you what you think of his stance with the banks! Come on, since Merkel is facing them down, and he will not.

    As to Eurocrats, for my pennyworth, they are part of the problem. Remember that they are not accountable – just like a banker … neither of them have the merest interest in democracy.


  20. “The British MP’s are in prison because they broke the law”, and they got caught, how many are there that haven’t.


  21. Why can’t I answer in the right place!


    Merkel holding out? If you mean sitting on her backside repeating the same crap as she did a year ago, when everyone new it was complete bollocks even then, well yes I suppose that is one way of holding out. And I didn’t support anything in what I said, I just laid out the situation. The hedgies don’t want a haircut, nor do the ECB, nor does anyone. You keep prattling on about Cameron giving in to them, while the robust Merkel holds out. This is again complete bollocks. When German banks failed they were bailed. They will fail again and will be bailed again. Merkel etc are way out of their depth. How many failed bailouts have failed to save the Euro so far? Where are the Chinese trillions? Where are the bazooka’s. Nope we get some tired old bullshit about we must integrate or Europe will eat it’s own head and start ww3. I don’t actually like Cameron. But Merkel? Useless waste of space and Sarkozy? I find it hard to think of someone I have more contempt for. And blaming the private banks for the Euro disaster is a truly funny one. Were they not told to invest in Sovereign debt? That was safer after 2008 and would count as tier 1 capital would it not? Who was it that was saying all that about European solidarity and how all Euro bonds were guaranteed back in those happy days? I think it may have been Merkel among others, changed her tune now has our steadfast Angie

    mickc, your comment interests me. Why will the insurers not pay? I don’t disagree btw, just interested if you have heard something about this


  22. Gemz, let me spell it out for you. Merkel is not standing for her taxpayers. She is trying to sell them down the river with F.U. She has given as much money (her taxpayers money) as she is legally allowed to and is now has her hands tied by the German constitution among other things. So they are going for the route pointed out in this blog among other places of pushing the debt onto the taxpayers through F.U. and the ESM. Funnily enough the only one who vetoed it was spineless Cameron. Although for all the wrong reasons


  23. @Soapy

    you answered (I think) in the right place.

    Were they not told to invest in Sovereign debt? That was safer after 2008 and would count as tier 1 capital would it not? Who was it that was saying all that about European solidarity and how all Euro bonds were guaranteed back in those happy days?

    It was the ratings agencies, wot did it, guv. Yes, those more-than-squeay-clean guys who rate things like the economy of Greece on the available data and a weekend’s visit to the Athens Hilton once every three months to check out the local tavernas facts. The same guys who thought on the fact of it, that the assets shown them were really AAA and so allowed them to be sold as prime grade investments.

    then they are all contrite when they learn that their insight into the printed figures on the pieces of paper they were handed was wrong. Actually they were right all along, the figures they were given were correct – the problem was that all the figures were lies. Oh, dear. The ratings agencies were lied to. By whom? The banks? No!! Not the banks!! They are the darlings of the piece according to the esteemed Soap Mc Tavish, after all, they are capitalists! Capitalist in the good times and capitalist in the bad times capitalist in the good times.

    Now: what would you say if Mr Cameron was standing by his guns asking RBS to stop paying out more bonusses to their chiefs? Saying the same things he did a year ago, but wasn’t listened to then, and isn’t listened to now. There is a big difference between a German bailout and a British one. Commerzbank does not want to be nationalized – which they are under threat of falling under (with share price around 5x that of RBS). Why? Because the German government will have a hand in their affairs. Just like Mr Cameron has with the likes of RBS and Northern Rock. Or had, until he sold the tasty bits for a song to another private individual.

    Do you begin to see my reasoning here? Merkel is “sitting on her arse” asking the private banks the same questions. Why? Because she isn’t getting any answers, that is why!!! Good grief! How long does she have to wait for these guys to wake up to the fact that this is a crisis??? She is not Mr Cameron who will take no time at all to say “Yes” and then “what is the question?” to any and every bank who asks him. He is a little like the ECB in fact!


  24. @IATL

    yet only three Dutch MPs were arraigned – out of 150 – for crimes that amounted to less than almost all the British MPs. How many British MPs only had GBP 500 expenses fraud? Three?

    There is a problem here at The Slog: it is one of trust. You all seem to have learned that trusting is for idiots. So when an affable Dutch MP turns up and his accounts are as clean as yesterday’s ironed sheets, you don’t believe him because all your MPs are rotten. Please: look at the facts, they speak more than I can say. I trust a Dutch MP because they have shown themselves beyond reproach, which is a damned sight more than I could say for **any** British MP besides a rare few.


  25. Soap,
    sorry, no inside gen, but a (wasted) life in law-those who can’t pay, won’t! No matter how much you sue them, no matter how many bits of paper stamped by a court saying someone owes you money-if they don’t have it, you ain’t gonna get it.
    As I have impressed on my offspring, a judgment by a court telling you that you are owed money, doesn’t tell you any more than you knew before-yes, you are owed money -the trick is getting it. On a personal level, ex-paras are the way to do it (best bar none!)-on corporate level, you’re stuffed.


  26. @Soap

    then what is she waiting for?? She has had a year to do it, and more! She had every opportunity to give into the private banks and see that taxpayer’s money was spent.

    Can I ask why this has not happened? Why has she not followed Cameron’s glowing leadership style of lying on his back and thinking of England?

    For goodness sake! Tell me!! I am waiting!


  27. @ Soapy

    can you imagine British MPs holding out against the banks too? I somehow doubt that they would turn against the hands that feed them.


  28. Gemz you just asked me a question I had already answered in the comment you were answering to! Do try to keep up


  29. @Gerry
    that is the worst of the Saxon languages – in Dutch the plural is always with an apostrophe and the possessive is not. What a nightmare!


  30. I think the comparison with the Nazis is a good one. I remember watching Polanski’s ” The Pianist “, I thought it captured with the example of one family how despite the continually rising levels of repression, how they & the majority of the other victims hung onto the belief that the situation would somehow improve & anyone who dared to express their fears or the truth was considered alarmist.


  31. Again I have no idea if this reply will end up in the right place but anyway.

    Gemz. I am not standing up for banks. I am not standing up for ratings agencies. I think they share plenty of blame. You are the one trying to deflect blame from your beloved Merkel. Who you seem to have some kind of fanatical attachment to. I am merely pointing out that she, and indeed all your beloved German pol’s have just as much dirt on their hands as anyone else. If not more so. They share the blame. That does not make me a bank lover, or a Tory, or any other box you want to put me in. The biggest sell out of all, the biggest threat to taxpayers, is the E.U., the F.U., and the ESM. The blame for those monstrosities, as well as the Euro sit with Merkel more than most


  32. @Boxer

    I will remind you that Spain, Portugal, Ireland and Greece were not initially invited to the party. Had they had any sense, a few of them would have stayed out – and been a damn sight better off by doing so.

    Who wanted Greece in? France. Who wanted Greece not in? Germany.

    I will also remind you that the PIGs had ample time to get their house in order – just like Germany did in the 90s. Just like Britain has had in the 2000s. What happened to the PIGs? What happened to Britain? What happened to Germany? Do I make my point?

    If Germany borrowed, it was to invest. The results are there for all to see – exports outside the EU which sell on quality not price. If someone wants to stay in business, that is the way to do it – and Britain has some serious catching up to do.


  33. Apologies JW and sloggers, just came back to this page and realised I have turned this thread into the soap mc tavish attack on Merkel page.Unintentional, but sometimes I do bite at the bait. I shall now desist


  34. @Soapy

    I think your response wound up in the right place.

    all your beloved German pol’s have just as much dirt on their hands as anyone else. If not more so.

    I would like some evidence of this – not just hearsay, facts. A link will do well enough, say the Washington Post or Financial Times? I want to know for what reasons you cannot trust a German MP. I can easily understand your not trusting a British MP – but there is ample evidence to that end. Where is your evidence for German MPs, please?

    As to the EU, that is quite a different issue. If you make the mistake of assuming the EU and the Bundestag are the same thing, then I suggest you start reading the German mainstream press. Even the English versions of sites such as are pretty certain on that issue.

    There is also the issue of private banks and private industries in Germany. They are not the Bundestag either.


  35. @Gemz & soapmct

    I think that was what is generally known as a ‘domestic’ – or, you could say slogging it out.. (on the same side of the barricade?); history may reveal which of you has the niceties more closely evaluated. Meanwhile, keep up the good quality analytical comment. Thank you.


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