Saturday, 15 January 2011

A Penny for Them

Okay, people. I'm feeling a rising swell of righteous indignation about bankers!

I've been thinking about the bonuses* bankers are getting whilst the rest of the country worries about rising costs, job losses and the other austerities to come. But how can we make our voices heard? Aren't we powerless in giving our pennyworth?

Yes, I've been thinking about the humble penny.

What if thousands and thousands of people went into their local bank on the same day and each paid in a cheque (or several) for a penny?

Think of the paperwork it would generate as each cheque had to go through clearing! People could go online and make 1p transfers, 1p payments. If enough people did it, and did it for a reason (ie a clear link to an online campaign that explained our disgust at banker's bonuses) it could make the ordinary person's view heard more strongly.

...I'm thinking on my feet here, but there are other ideas around this: everyone could pay their 1p to the same person or organisation, or charity (do organisations/charities get charged for cheques?). Or we could all hoard our pennies and then pay them all in on the same day...

I know there'd be queues and lowest-paid bank staff would suffer**, but it might make a point, eh?

What do you think? Are you with me? Shall I attempt to 'go viral' on this?

And what should it be called? I'm thinking:

  • A Penny for Them... which is APT
  • Watching The Pennies
  • Spend a Penny
  • Bad Penny
  • Every Penny Counts
  • Until The Penny Drops...

Meanwhile, if you are against the Bankers' Bonuses, there are two campaigns that I've found on Facebook:

Give Up The Bonus - founded my pugnacious North-west MP, John Prescott

NoBonus4RBS - founded by maverick songwriter Billy Bragg

.... except that... just a minute... these may have been campaigns from previous years... *sigh*

* See (see The Poet Laura-eate)

** I used to be a bank clerk so I know. 1980 - 1990. I call them my 'wilderness years.'


  1. I'm happy to be treasurer. If millions of you sent me 1p each, why, I'd be happy.

  2. I do like the idea of penny contributions to a charity--but you're right, it may create a hassle at their end. If not though, let's do it! Name that charity!

  3. I think we should all go into our local Banks and "spend a penny".

  4. I'm in the mood for any campaign, having heard that teachers' pension contributions are rising to nearly 10 per cent. That's £1500 off my yearly salary. How does THAT work? Arrrghhh!

  5. Briiliant idea - and all very good names, so difficult to choose!

  6. I would spend a penny to support this :))

  7. I'm afraid it wouldn't work, for the simple reason that banks are not obliged to cash cheques, process transactions or perform transfers of any amount - unless they want to. If you take a cheque to a bank for a penny, they'll just tell you to sod off. Online transactions will make precisely no difference at all - most bank mainframes will do a million transactions *per second* without even blinking. Also, there's a massive difference between executive pay schemes - which is what everyone is actually objecting to - and bonuses for non-exec staff, which go towards providing a living wage for most of them. The media deliberately ignores the difference, though, as "£1bn in bonuses at RBS" is a better story than "RBS execs get £1m each; everyone else gets a few 100 quid".

  8. Just had another idea: set up an organisation to take shares in all the banks, funded by the penny donations, and make loud noises at the AGMs.

  9. Dave - Surely not? You're never happy!

    Rog & Anonymous - Now don't get carried away! Next thing we know you'll be making 'a small deposit' in the banking hall! ;-)

    Fran - ...and by the time we get to pensionable age (*coughs*) they'll have spent the lot.. *shakes fist*

    Poshnosh - Hello and welcome! I've kind of stopped at the names - it's a bit of a big job innit?

    Acroyear3 - Welcome! Yes, I'm starting to think it wouldn't work - especially as previous campaigns by feisty famous folk failed.

    It's enough to make one pee with frustration!