Sunday, 1 March 2009

Fred Goodwin should keep his pension

I think that Fred Goodwin should keep his pension - all of it. It's a very large pension and it might be appropriate to question whether such sums should be paid, but it's the bung he was thrown by Gordon Brown's Government in return for his resignation from his post at RBS without any fuss.

That's the Government which currently has Ministers threatening to renege on the contract which it so recently signed with Fred Goodwin. Interestingly, the deal was negotiated on the Government side by a Minister who might have come across Mr Goodwin once or twice:
And the appointment of new City Minister Paul Myners raised eyebrows. He is a director of GLG, one of the biggest hedge funds in the world, which has the largest short position in Bradford&Bingley, having sold short tens of millions of shares in the troubled bank.

If your diet is a bit short of irony, have a wee keek at the comments of Lord Mandelson:
In his interview, Mandelson used the strongest language yet to attack Sir Fred Goodwin's £693,000 RBS pension, saying that it was "obscene that such an individual, after such failure commercially and after such terrible misjudgment ... for which he is personally responsible ... can get away with such a pension pot".
Yes, that is the same Peter Mandelson who had to resign from Government twice as a result of terrible misjudgements, including over a mortgage, and who has a nice little line in pensions himself, £31,00 from Europe for four years service on top of his Ministerial pensions and his pension from his days as an MP - that's on top of the European Commission paying him £78,000 a year because he gave up his Commissioner's salary for a job that was paying less - that public money tops up his salary to match his old salary of £182,500.

Politicians are not overpaid but it would seem there's a bit of a lack of self-awareness in Mr Mandelson's comments - which were made during an interview about his battle to privatise the Post Office where he is using threats against Post Office workers' pensions as a weapon.

I find myself wondering why there was no such fuss and great worry from Labour Ministers about the deal that was done to allow Andy Hornby - once of HBoS - to nail himself a £60,000 a month consultancy with Lloyds "after such failure commercially and after such terrible misjudgment" as Peter Mandelson might have said. One wonders what additional goodies Hornby got as part of the deal for him to go quietly and what Dennis Stevenson got as hush money - or are we not allowed to ask that question because the deal involved Gordon Brown's good mate Victor Blank?

I find myself agreeing easily with Jeff Randall that Gordon Brown's Government is throwing muck at Fred Goodwin in an attempt to hide their own galloping incompetence. Randall was the BBC's Business Editor before Robert Peston - ah, the good old days!

Mind how you go!

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