"I do not agree with your rationale for declining my request that you voluntarily reduce your pension. And indeed I hope that on reflection you will now share my clear view that the losses reported today by the bank which you ran until October cannot justify such a huge award."
Lord Myners' letter to Sir Fred Goodwin
This is so undignified; a minister writing a letter to a disgraced banker demanding that he volunteer to give up his bloated and scandalously generous pension.
Behind this fiasco lies a deeper question; why didn't the government stop Goodwin from taking out such a huge payout when it became necessary to nationalise RBS?
I have my theory. When the issue came up, no one thought it abnormal for a former CEO to run off with a multi-million pound pension. In fact, this was the normal course of affairs, and why should it be any different for the hapless Sir Fred?
The problem became obvious only later, when the public made it clear that it wouldn't wear such a generous payout. By then, Sir Fred's pension was legally untouchable, leading to the humiliating begging letter from Lord Myers today; a correspondence that basically said to Sir Fred "you were such a failure as a banker, but nevertheless, we would like you give us back the money".
Actually, I am beginning to warm to Sir Fred. This man has probably done more than anyone to wreck New Labour's slim chances of being re-elected. Fred the Shred may have just lauched his last big downsizing. Fred's pension will ensure that scores of New Labour MPs will soon be looking for work.