Politicians love campaign donations, but they also can count. Main Street voters outnumber Wall Street bankers. Politicians have known for at least a year Main Street is seething with anger about Wall Street (including the City in the UK) profligacy, special treatments and obscene compensations.
Big banks are all global. So Swiss, Dutch, French and certainly UK based banks all needed to pay up to attract financial types who knew the definition of a Credit Default Option or an "accumulator", a derivative which acquired the nickname of "I kill you later" in Hong Kong after all those derivatives sold by famous banks blew up taking down many who thought they had bought a safe investment product from their friendly neighborhood Wall Street broker.
The 50% once off tax on bonuses proposed by the UK authorities though easy to dodge is an acknowledgement by the UK politicians that its own Main Street voters want to smell blood. The same realization among political leaders is spreading across the English Channel. Read this report in the Wall Street Journal.
While not a done deal, the cat is out of the bag that some sort of "punishment" on the over-paid bankers needs to be exacted. Stay tuned for more such actions in the big financial league. Nothing like that would happen in China because the financial bubble and toxic assets didn't get invented there.