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A small but very significant piece of British technological history disappeared last week when the last plant making televisions in Britain shut down. Toshiba's factory in Plymouth is moving to Poland and with it an industry invented, pioneered and perfected in this country.

The company says the move is because it is cheaper to manufacture in Poland, but it is simply the final act in a trwhich wasand carried on by the BushTV 22 – the iconic image of television of the post-war period – was undermined by complacency, competition and costs. It's just another British technology that passed its age and became extinct . . . isn't it?

There's a wider significance though. Contrast the fate of a manufacturing industry struggling to compete with minimal economic support from central government with that of our banking and financial services industries. They don't need subisdies do they? They haven't built themselves on the back of public investment, but on the risk and reward symbiosis of modern capital. Up to a point.

John Logie BairdWhat could the £1.4 trillion ploughed into financial world by us, the blackmailed and besieged taxpayer, have achieved in even a fraction of its extent had it been applied sensibly to supporting manufacturing, or in developing new technologies. The chances are there; not least the huge potential of green energy for one.

Instead, we have had to pay for the overweening conceit and contempt of the Masters of the Financial Universe. Their greed, incompetence and stupidity led them to turn a blind eye to history and create a new crash and left no choice but to bail them out to avoid catastrophe for millions of savers, investors and workers.

BushTV 22Now, our reward is to watch them continue to pay themselves huge bonuses beyond the comprehension, never mind the dreams of the rest of us. Between December and April of this year the City paid itself £7.6bn in bonuses at the end of a year marked by the worst financial crisis since the 1930's. Nice work if you can get it. Why is this allowed to happen? Why do we allow it to happen?

Calls for a clampdown are rejected by bankers and politicians. We must not do anything to undermine the competitiveness of the City faced by other growing finacial centres who will certainly not be outlawing the bonus culture, goes the argument. The market must decide and banks must be able to attract and keep the best staff that have made them such big profits.

Except these are the same organisations that have just swallowed our billions to fill the balance sheet gaps caused by their failures. It is simply indefensible to seek a bonus while the organisation for which you work collapses into effective bankruptcy, no matter how successful your own department may be. There are no guaranteed bonuses for the TV workers in Plymouth.

And if it is necesssary to bribe indviduals to work for your organisation are they really the right people, quite apart from the only people capable of doing the work? A financial organisation would have given its eye teeth, not to mention its biggest bonus to attract the services of investment "gurus" Gary Tanaka and partner Alberto Vilar or Bernie Madoff on the basis of the returns their investment engines produced in the 90's and early noughties. The reality of what they were doing has now come out and led them to court and prison for huge fraud: Tanaka and Vilar's Amerindo Investments went from producing annual returns of 27.9% and a value of $10bn to a collapse to $100m while they siphoned off funds to feed their lifestyles.

Madoff made off with an almost inconceivable $60bn of his clients' cash and even fell so low as to embezzle the funds from worshippers at a New York synagogue. Yet he was at one time chairman of the huge Nasdaq exchange in the US and on the bonus criteria being cited in defence of the City, he and the Amerindo fraudsters would have taken home huge sums in their heydays.

Bernie MadoffWhat the history of the last 15 years, and the revelations of the last 12 months prove beyond question is that the bonus and casino culture must be regulated, if only because it is rooted in the same overweening conceit that led to the problems of the credit crunch. The regulating Financial Standards Authority has rightly thrown the question back in the lap of the Government. It is not their role to decide on matters that require social or political change.

The government, a Labour government don't forget as it is easy to do, sits on its hands as the bonus tills ring up that £7.6bn. But at the same time speedily moves to take away the £15 a week that some benefit claimants can scrape up by showing the entrepreneurial skill of negotiating better rental agreements with their landlords. A clawback that would contribute £160m to our financial welfare.

While that claimant enterprise brings spite and financial loss, its cousin in the City brings wealth beyond dreams and beyond justice. Is that defensible?