Gordon Brown, sensing that the public are a tad "vexed" with greedy bankers, has decided to opt for the short term political palliative (used by politicians who are on the skids) of pandering to the public blood lust.
He appeared before the Commons Liaison Committee yesterday and said that banking bonuses should not be a "one way bet", adding that even though a bonus has been paid that where the recipient had been shown to have lost the company money that bonus could be reclaimed.
No doubt, in the limited imagination of the headline grabbing politician, this may seem to be a terrific idea. However, reality is a cruel mistress and there are a number of questions that arise:
1 Over what period would the employee be liable to repay a bonus?
2 Precisely what would be the criteria for reclaiming the bonus?
3 What happens if the employee cannot afford to repay the bonus?
4 What happens if the employee leaves the firm?
5 Will this "bonus reclaim" option be only applicable to bankers (whom Brown hates), or to all companies and even politicians (who fail to deliver on their promises)?
In short, the idea is unworkable and Brown knows that full well!