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Skidmore's Island: A Million And A Million And A Million...

"I loathe money so deeply that I get rid of as much as I can as quickly as I can,'' declares Ian Skidmore.

In my ideal world I would have been Regimental Sergeant Major in the Black Watch (RHR) or a grumpy classicist in a Cambridge college. I would never in my wildest dreams have been a banker. Indeed for most of my real life I have fought bank managers and I loathe money so deeply that I get rid of as much as I can as quickly as I can.

For all that, I cannot see why there was such a fuss over the bonus sought for the RBS Chief Executive. He was going to get a maximum of £2,000 in cash and a million shares, half of which will go to the taxman. If you are lumbered with devalued shares in a debt ridden and failing bank you are going to do your damnedest to make a success of it.

When I got £2,000 in merit money over the years I was with the Mirror I used to wonder if I got it because the Mirror secretly felt I was not being paid enough. In the event I worked hard because on the Mirror you got sacked if you didnít. I venture to think that doesnít happen to bankers. But who are we to complain at their behaviour? Tube workers have turned down a £500 bonus just for doing their job in the Olympic weeks. Not because they believe bonuses are immoral but because they do not believe it is enough when 500 Docklands Light Railway workers are to get up to £2,500 simply for agreeing to work without disruption during the Olympics. DLR staff will get £900 bonuses - and will also be guaranteed five hours of overtime a week, for which they will be paid 75 per cent above their normal shift rate. In my youth in Doncaster miners got an extra shift if they went to work on Mondays.

No wonder the thrifty German worker doesnít want his hard-earned cash to be hurled at the spendthrift Greeks and Spaniards and the Irish, whose Chancellor Enda Kenny admitted, went mad and lost the run of themselves buying up all around them while he kept an eye on the purse strings and avoided the Gucci bags and the SUVs, the holiday homes in Turkey and the shopping trips to New York.

Clearly the Germans have not yet bought into Merkelís plan for a new German empire but that may change.

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