Simon English at the Standard\’s Business pages

Interesting little run in that I\’ve been advised of.

This piece, about an analyst who got fired. One reader of both this blog and that paper wrote to Mr. English and pointed out that such firings are an inevitable consequence of the diminished bonus system.

Bonuses are variable pay: when there\’s not much work about, no bonuses. Thus jobs are kept because base pay is low: this is very much the German system of avoiding unemployment which everyone thinks is so lovely. Short time working on lower pay when there\’s not much to do.

Ban bonuses, insist on the bonus portion of pay being reduced, up go base salaries. Up go fixed costs and thus slow times lead to firings, not just non-payment of bonuses out of profits that haven\’t been made.

A reasonable point to make to a City journo, no?

The response from said City journo?

Thanks for your note.

I am clearly a foolish journalist.

Then again, I am new to this.

best regards,

That is the way to suck up to your core readership, the City, isn\’t it?

I find his second part of the column fun too:

This begs a question: Which bunch of reckless fools lent them all that money in the first place?
The answer is the usual one: bankers. Now their ridiculous risk has gone bad, they stomp around demanding repayment and insisting that a default, or anything that results in them not being repaid in full, would be some kind of calamity, both fiscal and moral.

What? The banks are the ones going around saying that a default is inevitable. That\’s why they\’re trading the bonds at 50% of par you ignorant cretin.

It\’s the politicians desperately trying to avoid a default, not the bankers.

Note to the Standard: you really should bring back Christopher Fildes to train your City newsroom before it\’s too late.

9 thoughts on “Simon English at the Standard\’s Business pages”

  1. sadly I doubt anyone at the standard will take your advice as they clearly don’t read this blog Why bother with detail when polemic will do? After all they appear to take their view of their city readership from Geraint “city boy” Anderson, whose relationship with real events makes Johann Hari look like Walter Kronkite

  2. So the guy got the bin liner? As one who was once sacked three times between breakfast and dinner (and only rehired twice) and who once, after a particularly egregious SNAFU even had to sack himself once, I’ve got a piece of advice:
    Suck it up, spit it out, start hawking the cv.
    If he’s any good he’ll get rehired, the city is no monopoly.

    As for Simon English, could he have got his start in Associated Newspapers with some confusion of his relationship to Sir David English? And is this a backdoor attempt to protect posh incompetents with double barrelled names?

    Only asking,
    yours
    Oi-you Blokeinfrance- BlokeinFrance

  3. Hey the former City Editor at the London Standard was a screaming leftie and is now city editor for the Independant.

    So I think the city desk of the LS being staffed by banker bashing lefties isn’t a great shock…

  4. The point of English’s article isn’t that the dude got fired – it’s that the dude got fired for not sitting around doing bugger all for 2.5 hours a day after the markets closed because he was instead off seeing his sick wife, whereas other dudes who were no more productive but spent the time from 4:30-7pm in the office playing Minesweeper didn’t get fired.

    Nothing to do with “it’s outrageous that people get fired in the City when there’s no work on”, everything to do with “the US-import culture of presenteeism as a determinant of whether or not people get fired is bloody stupid”.

    So the analyst who wrote in is an idiot who missed the point of the article, and the journo’s response to him is completely fair play.

  5. For all Simon English’s lovely written style, I am sure he probably dressed up the little vignette to give it a bit of additonal impact. We shouldn’t attach too much importance by attempting a textual analysis of the details of what he writes. Nonetheless I admire his manner of expression. Very nice style.

  6. You are right of course, as long as he writes nicely I guess we shouldn’t worry that he doesn’t appear to know anything about the subject.

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