Tuesday, March 03, 2009

If I was in charge of things...

...Fred Goodwin could keep his bloody bonus - but only on the following condition. He spends eight hours a day, five days a week, saying sorry, in person, or via a handwritten letter which he has to go and hand-deliver himself, personally, to every single person badly affected by his utterly disastrous trashing of RBS, until he is allowed to retire at 75. He can have 20 days off a year, plus bank holidays, and 40 minutes for lunch every day. Then he might learn what 'sorry' means.



Blogger asquith said...

He & Brown should be tied up next to each other & punched in the face by every single person who has ever been overpaid tax credits or housing/council tax benefits & received a demand for repayments.

March 03, 2009 11:18 am  
Blogger Henry North London said...

Do you fancy standing for the LPUK in Hackney? Henry x Then you really could be in charge of things

Power to the people and all that

Im standing in Hornsey and Wood Green

March 03, 2009 12:27 pm  
Blogger Martin said...

I disagree. I believe in upholding a person's rights, irrespective of my, or anyone else's, opinion of that person. Property rights are among the most fundamental of those rights. They are historically among the first rights to be enshrined in law and they are among the last rights to be lost in totalitarian states.

The Magna Carta states, “No free man shall be taken, imprisoned, disseised, outlawed, banished, or in any way destroyed, not will we proceed against or prosecute him, except by the lawful judgment of his peers and by the law of the land.”

The Fourth Amendment to the US Constitution, part of the US Bill of Rights, states:
"The right of the people to be secure in their persons, houses, papers, and effects, against unreasonable searches and seizures, shall not be violated"

The Fifth Amendment to the US Constitution, part of the US Bill of Rights, states:
"No person shall be..., nor be deprived of life, liberty, or property, without due process of law; nor shall private property be taken for public use, without just compensation."

The Fourteenth Amendment to the US Constitution states:
"nor shall any State deprive any person of life, liberty, or property, without due process of law."

The Universal Declaration of Human Rights, Article 17 states:
"No one shall be arbitrarily deprived of his property."

If Britain violates its citizen's property rights then we lose the right to criticise the human rights records of other nations. And look at the human rights records of nations that violate property rights - surely we do not want to be grouped with those nations.

So my view is that Fred Goodwin should be unconditionally allowed to keep his pension.

But I think we are allowing ourselves to be diverted by the smokescreen being put up by the government. The fault lies not with Fred Goodwin, but with the people who agreed the large payoff in the first place. The effort should not be put into trying to find ways of reneging on an agreement, but in analysing why the payoff was made and putting measures into place to ensure that similar payoffs are not made in the future.

A mistake was made. But governments should not be allowed to break the law to correct or cover up mistakes.

March 03, 2009 12:45 pm  
Blogger kris said...

Ah, Martin Kemosabe, will Harriet make good on her promise by retrospective legislation? It's been done before (Burmah Oil?)

Of course the idiots that agreed the contract in the first place should have their feet held to the fire.

The idiots in the Government should also be held to account for not dealing with this as a condition of the bailout.

Nevertheless, let me disabuse you of the false premise that the pension is "Fred's property". In my world, Fred never earned it. In my world, Fred ran RBS into the ground, taking us all with him.

Let's talk about "property": I, along with everyone else in this nation who pays taxes, am subsidising Fred's pension.

If I'd bought stock in RBS, I could understand why I'd taken a scalping. Trouble is, I did not invest in RBS but MY PROPERTY is being stripped from ME to pay off Fred.

I could give a rat's ass about a failed banker and his claim; I am more worried about the how this nation is going to claw it's way out of Fred's fiasco.

March 04, 2009 8:23 am  
Blogger Rachel said...

I agree with what you are saying Martin.

I was just trying to cheer myself up by imagining some kind of appropriate redress if I were some kind of benevolent deity in an alternative universe. Sorry is just a word. Apologies are meaningless unless there is some kind of action to back it up.

Unfortunately our current political and leadership models tend to reward those who don't really 'do' empathy or 'get' humility - or indeed, shame - they seem to favour the semi-sociopathic. In my imaginary ideal, the act of having to spend the rest of his days interacting with normal people might rehabilitate the likes of Goodwin, by confronting him with the human cost of his actions.

Sadly, this will never happen.

March 04, 2009 9:04 pm  
Blogger Rachel said...

Asquith and Henry, I am not a fan of violence, or the LPUK, I'm afraid, though I have punched a few pillows and smashed a few plates when really, really wound up. Kris, I'm worried. I'm really effing worried, I go round all the time feeling sick with fear, it's like having mild PTSD without flashbacks. I'll never give up smoking at this rate.

March 04, 2009 9:07 pm  
Blogger asquith said...

It weren't seriously meant, like.

I am leaning towards an Obama-style solution. But of course, we should never have got into this mess in the first place (etc, etc).

March 05, 2009 10:28 am  
Blogger Henry North London said...

Well never mind I thought I would ask in anycase

I do hypnosis if you want to stop smoking

March 05, 2009 5:47 pm  
Blogger kris said...

Here's a "solution" Gordon's going to print more money....

We can have some comfort in the fact that we only appear to have a handful of Freds: corporate America is riddled with 'em.

March 05, 2009 6:30 pm  
Blogger Cookiemouse said...

There is a simple solution. Sue the man for a breach of the duty of care as the director of a bank, and make it a class action, both in the UK and US.

March 05, 2009 11:33 pm  
Blogger Louise Mills said...

Could I have his bonus if I do all that stuff on his behalf?

March 08, 2009 11:53 am  
Blogger Louise Mills said...


'greedy pig bankers'

I feel compelled to object on behalf of all pigs. Pigs are cool. Unlike bankers.

March 08, 2009 12:29 pm  
Blogger digitaltoast said...

Martin; why are you quoting the US constitution? And aren't we all forgetting, he BROKE THE CONTRACT!
He was contracted to run the bank, instead, he ruined it. Simple as.

March 10, 2009 4:12 pm  
Blogger Martin said...


I'll be clear: I think Fred Goodwin should have been sacked. A huge mistake was made by the Financial Services Secretary, Lord Myners, in allowing him to take early retirement. But, as I said, I don't think the government should be allowed to break the law to cover up or correct its mistakes.

I also maintain that we are allowing ourselves to be diverted by this smokescreen put up by the government. We should instead be insisting that measures are put in place to ensure that a similar thing can't happen for the third time.

Fred Goodwin ruined RBS by excessive expansion culminating in the takeover of ABN Amro, an indebted bank.

Rather than learning from this lesson Gordon Brown encouraged Sir Victor Blank, chairman of Lloyds Bank, to takeover Halifax Bank of Scotland, an indebted bank (Doh!). The general opinion is that monopoly rules were waived to allow this takeover (despite the fact that lack of proper regulation is regarded part of the cause of the banking crisis). The result of this was disaster for Lloyds (which up to that point was regarded as a cautious and 'boring' bank) and another government bailout.

My anger is directed to our current government, the previous government (which allowed the demutualization of building societies - let's not forget the first bank to fail in the UK was Northern Rock, which would never have got into the position it did if it had been subject to building society regulations) and their disregard for the need for proper banking regulation. Bankers have just behaved as expected.

March 12, 2009 7:22 pm  

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