You may well be saying to yourself, "Tris, this is not the first of April", as I did when I read the self same headline in the Daily Telegraph.
No: It is the 7th July and it's not me that's lost the plot. It is George Osborne.
He says that fixing bonuses at a ratio of 1:1 with salaries is not the way to curb excesses, and that if that formula is adopted throughout Europe (as is currently being proposed), all that will happen is that the bankers will increase their salaries to ensure that they do not lose out. George, it seems, has learned that nothing will stop bankers taking what they want, regardless of whether they deserve it or not, and of the ruin that they leave in their wake.
Bank chief executives have been lobbying the government to ensure that this does not happen. The Telegraph reports in a somewhat garbled fashion, that they argue that "a cap on bonuses will simply result in salaries being given much larger basic salaries instead – increasing fixed costs for businesses".
But it seems to me that that is the banks' problem. It has not occurred, I suppose, to banks' managements that they could act like most other employers when faced with demands for pay increases and simply say a categoric 'NO'!
One of the issues over bonuses, beside their cost to the bank, and to the public, is that the potential for unimaginably large performance-related payments is what drove people to invent ever-more complex and fraudulent schemes which broke the country, put hundreds of thousands, if not millions out of work, lost people their homes and closed businesses.
Without a "performance" payment of 10 times their salary, most will probably be too lazy to bother trying to work out new ways to bankrupt the country so that they can have a that new Lamborghini.
Of course, as ever in a situation like this, the old chestnut is trotted out: that the government must oppose these European measures lest they drive business to other financial centres".
So, go already, I say. See if these other financial centres want you to break their countries. I suspect they don't, and that, in any case, the bankers are far too fond of London to be prepared to live in the steaming heat of Hong Kong, with the potential for risk that being a part of China might involve, or to New Delhi or Dubai.
I wish Osborne luck (although I have to admit that it is with tongue in cheek that I do this) as he heads off to Brussels for these talks. I'll give him this... he is brave. The way that the public feels about the bankers at the moment, his support for them to take bonuses worth more money than most people earn in half a lifetime, is indeed politically very courageous, and that's not a word I would normally associate with Osborne.
But then, funders are funders... and the Remembrancer is the Remembrancer.
Small point from the same story.
The Bill has been introduced into the European parliament by a Belgian Green MEP, Philippe Lamberts. Monsieur Lamberts has suggested that Osborne will “shoot himself in the foot” in the light of public opinion about bankers, if he supports them. The Telegraph goes on to quote M Lamberts thus:
“If [he] wants to make that bet be my guest – we will see who will win.”
Now this could just be a mistake in the Telegraph, and given the earlier muddle over 'salaries being given larger salaries', that is a strong possibility. But I can't help getting the impression that Philippe Lamberts' triple whammy of being Belgian, a Green and against a beloved Tory right winger Englishman, is simply too much for the Telegraph to take, and so they indelicately point out a small error in his English. I wonder how many of the Telegraph staff speak faultless French or Dutch!!
Actually, I wonder how many speak faultless English!