JANET STREET-PORTER: Banks, bonuses and why we"re NOT all in this together, Dave

Banks, bonuses and why we're
NOT all in this together, Dave

Class divide: David Cameron said we are all in the recession together but we are not all getting fat bonuses and shares

Class divide: David Cameron said we are all in the recession together but we are not all getting fat bonuses and shares

Bonus is such a divisive word; I hate it. When it comes to snaring this modern perk, Britain is divided into two categories: the 'haves' with country estates, holiday homes and privately educated children; and the 'have-nots', ordinary people who work hard, pay tax and try to save for special things.

Forget the class system, perched at the top of the heap in modern Britain are these 'special' bonus people who believe they deserve to be so amply rewarded.

When David Cameron tells us we are 'all in this (recession) together', I laugh. How much easier life is if you do your job and get a big wodge of extra lolly and shares at the end of the year

Bonuses completely distort fair pay. Even train drivers will get them for working during the Olympics.

Bonuses are austerity Britain's must-have accessory – a way of circumventing pay freezes. From bankers to BBC executives, NHS bosses to council leaders, head-teachers to footballers, a bonus denotes you are a bit more special than anyone else.

Once, you negotiated the rate for the job and pension contributions at the start. Now, a lucky few get bonuses for 'meeting' spurious targets. Bonuses are a sneaky way of getting round pay restrictions.

RBS chief Stephen Hester's bonus is causing a stink, but what irks is his attitude – he says 'even my parents think I'm overpaid… my first job was packing Polos in a factory, so I don't need anyone to tell me what it's like being a normal person on normal amounts of money'.

Does Mr Hester think his job is so 'abnormal' it should deliver a 1 million bonus He has a 350-acre estate in Oxfordshire, a luxury flat in London, a chalet in Switzerland and has given his ex-wife their huge family home. At 51, what more can he possibly need A moon rocket

Vince Cable says he will 'claw back' bonuses paid to bosses whose companies are failing, implying he supports bonuses for those whose businesses thrive.

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If I were running Britain, pay would be pay – without bonuses. Pay scales would be transparent and available for all workers to see. Why should anyone over 50 receive rises on salaries over 150,000 /01/29/article-2093612-117D1DC1000005DC-365_233x423.jpg” width=”233″ height=”423″ alt=”The Amy Winehouse look: A model for Jean Paul Gaultier” class=”blkBorder” />

The Amy Winehouse look: A model for
Jean Paul Gaultier

Has top French designer Jean Paul Gaultier lost the plot

The bloke who put Madonna in that terrifyingly aggressive conical bra for a world tour and whose cheeky sense of fun was so engaging in the cult telly series Eurotrash seems to have run out of inspiration.

In his couture show in Paris last week, models minced down the catwalk with huge beehive hairstyles, cat's eye make-up and facial piercings, as a band played Amy Winehouse's hit Rehab.

For the bizarre finale, models tottered out wearing black chiffon veils.

Gaultier is a bit late hopping on the Amy bandwagon – that taxi has been commandeered by dad Mitch, who has just announced a 'tribute' concert.

Amy was a fabulous talent, but her style included bloody toes and scratched arms from injecting heroin and filthy ballet pumps, something Gaultier ignored in this dubious tribute.

Most of his clothes are still fabulous, if you strip away all the tat, and I will always treasure a couple of his beautifully tailored jackets, but maybe Jean Paul needs to regain his grip on reality.

Actress or just a clothes peg

Stage debut: Agyness Deyn

Stage debut: Agyness Deyn

Agyness Deyn is making the risky transition from modelling to the stage next month, in a satire called The Leisure Society at London's tiny Trafalgar Studio, which seats fewer than 100.

Former Burberry model Agyness says she got the acting bug after playing a stripper in the movie Pusher last summer, but can I sound a note of caution

No matter how confident you are in front of a camera, you'll be exposed on a bare stage.

Who can forget the night in 2002 when Madonna made her West End debut in Up for Grabs, playing an art dealer

I was at the back of the stalls and the Queen of Pop was completely inaudible.

At the end, fans gave her a standing ovation – maybe for remembering her lines, because she had the stage presence of a coat hanger.

One of the kinder critics wrote 'not bad… just technically awkward', talk about damning with faint praise.

I can't be too critical because several decades ago my vanity got the better of me and I briefly appeared in a short play by Heathcote Williams at the ICA in London. After several stumbling performances, the author appeared and berated me for 'improving' his text by improvising when I forgot my lines.

Playing a TV journalist, I had as much charisma as a clothes peg. Funnily enough, I've not been offered any dramatic roles since.

Ed leaves a bad taste

Rebrand: Ed Balls

Rebrand: Ed Balls

Camilla reveals that the Queen only likes 'plain' cooking as the nation is asked to come up with a new recipe to mark the diamond jubilee.

Have the palace phoned Ed Balls

As part of his complete image rebrand, morphing from Gordon Brown's brutal bully boy to weeping fan of the Antiques Roadshow and sensitive chap, Ed let it be known that he cooks a mean lasagne.

Is his new persona inspired by that gorgeous house-husband of Denmark's female Prime Minister in TV drama Borgen, who is always demanding sex and serving up meatballs

As Yvette Cooper is touted as the next Opposition leader, Labour's pushy pair have been hosting a series of networking dinners at their London home, catered by renaissance man himself.

Other specialities include a good 'stiff sponge' and slow cooked shoulder of pork.

Lasagne always leaves me feeling bloated and full of wind – who does that remind you of