Wednesday, 12 January 2011

Banking bonuses: Is THIS the line in the sand for the Lib Dems?

Last night, BBC's Newsnight held a debate on banking bonuses. What was striking was not only the sight of three panellists agreeing that the current situation is obscene - including the panel member presumably asked to be there to argue in favour of the sector's position - but also the repeated assertions by Liberal Democrat peer Lord Oakeshott that the government still intents to crack down on excessive remuneration, despite recent media reports to the contrary.

Now, many people who take even a vague passing notice of George Osborne would realise that it is very, very unlikely that anything substantial will happen, beyond a collaborative bit of PR between the government and the sector. Nevertheless, Oakeshott's comments seemed to pin this down as a red line issue for the Lib Dems.

Now, to be fair Lord Oakeshott has been a consitent voice on this issue, time after time. His problem though, is whether Clegg, Alexander and the rest of the Lib Dem leadership truly feel the same. And if they don't and the government does complete its capitulation on this issue, will more Lib Dem members revolt or leave? Is this a line in the sand?

You can watch the debate here [jumps to relevant part of the programme]

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