I am back from my week holidaying in the UK (sadly much more economical due to Labour's destruction of the pound) and lo and behold, George Osborne is back to his old tricks.
George is a political strategist and a very, very good one. So good he has helped to destroy New Labour. However, if to defeat thine enemy one must know them, then I wonder where George is going with his pronouncement on bankers' pay.
For to pay them in shares will only make them richer, whilst the money saved will not come 50% as income tax but instead go to bolstering the banks' capital - fattening them up for sale at a later date when shareholders, including taxpayers, will get a better price.
This is a very unsatisfactory solution and I find it sad the politicians' are still going on about bankers' pay when there are much more pressing concerns.
Like how to fix the banking system. I have long advocated a Glass-Steagall approach of splitting off Investment banks. Now I was surprised to see in my near wi-fi free trip that even Mervyn King has come round to seeing this to be the only sensible long-term solution. No matter how much banks howl in protest, it is right that to prevent crises retail and investment banking should be separated.
George Osborne is not very keen on this though, as it is very unpopular with the banks and needs international agreement; so instead we get a New Labour policy of pretending to 'attack' greedy capitalism when in fact doing more or less the opposite.
As I said, he has Stockholm syndrome. Recently he has shown signs of getting out of this, but the affliction appears deep rooted.