First from Eamonn Butler at the ASI:
Let us not forget that after New York, London is the world's leading services centre. The sector brings in about £60bn in tax every year, more than 10% of the government's entire budget. We need it to succeed, and retain talent – which means paying them world market rates. That's what we do with footballers – John Terry is paid £6.7m a year, Wayne Rooney is on £15.1m and Steven Gerrard picks up £7.2m and got an MBE too. But football clubs are very small businesses compared to banks. Though a world footballing brand, Manchester United's capitalization is just £2.47bn; the market capitalization of RBS is seventeen times bigger, at £41.8bn. Should we be surprised if star performers in RBS are paid seventeen times what Rooney earns? But in fact we baulk when they are paid fifteen times less.
Absolutely. And let's not talk about how much income assorted ever-so-witty TV panellists get paid for their snide remarks and jokes that were funny the first time but, after several hundred slight variations, have descended into utter boredom. When regular panellists get £30,000 or more per show on the BBC there really is no room at all for them to criticise how much bankers get paid.
Second from Ogden Nash (as I like a little balance). From a poem entitled "Bankers are just like anybody else, except richer."
Most bankers dwell in marble halls,
Which they get to dwell in because they encourage deposits
and discourage withdrawals,
And particularly because they all observe one rule which woe
betides the banker who fails to heed it,
Which is you must never lend any money to anybody unless
they don't need it.