Fear for the Future

Created on 2/3/2009

Sometimes you see something so scary that you can’t quite believe it. Yesterday was just such a moment. On Britain’s Andrew Marr show, broadcast Sunday morning on the BBC the Deputy Leader of the Labour Party, Harriet Harman was a principal guest.

Marr was questioning the senior parliamentarian about the huge pension of Sir Fred Goodwin, which we wrote about in this column a few days ago.
In that column I wrote:

“This is epic hypocrisy by the most inept and injudicious British government ever.

Of course Goodwin should never have received one penny, in fact he should never have been in a job he was clearly not capable of doing. But he was in that job and he did negotiate a deal with those ministers and they all signed it willingly. There is no justification for a country to break a contract of its own devising. This would be both illegal and amoral. Of course a government could change the law retroactively to stop the knight getting his pension but that would be an act of petty venality that even this bankrupt leadership couldn’t justify. If that kind of thing is to be allowed we have entered a very dark tunnel indeed”.

When I made that statement I was more than half joking. I never thought that a senior minister would seriously suggest that the government were prepared to enact a retroactive law to negate a contract it had supported, allowed and in fact rubber stamped just a few weeks ago. Andrew Marr gave Harman several opportunities to slide away from her assertion that her government, led by the Prime Minister, simply would not allow Goodwin to retain these payments. When Marr reiterated that they would be breaking the law to break this contract whatever they thought of the morality of the situation she persisted that this man would better understand that he should not plan his future taking this pension into account, as he would not be receiving it!

I repeat, for the record, that I don’t like Goodwin, and never did. But I didn’t work with him or negotiate his contract or his departure, the government and the almost totally state owned bank did that. But whatever I think of him or them, and for me it’s a curse on both of their houses, you can’t simply dishonor a contract or force anyone else to do so in a law abiding contract which is run by our common acquiescence to the laws, rules and regulations that we all accept. This is especially the case when you represent the law as our elected representatives do.

I will fight for the right for that bastard Goodwin to get his pound of flesh, because that is his legal right and no one should be able to take away the selfish man’s money.

If this government does succeed in their Zimbabwe like interpretation of laws and justice and stops Goodwin from getting his ill gotten pension then people like me, who treasure freedom and democracy will have to fight or leave the country; the time for silence is gone.