Retired banker Sir Fred Goodwin may be odious, he maybe personally responsible for at least part of RBS’s financial meltdown, and his pension is obscene, but it is perfectly legal. Yet the government look set to relieve him of it (and where will the money go, I wonder?).
Really, I have serious problems with the idea of the government changing the law just because they disapprove of something.
Harriet Harman said that “Goodwin’s pension may stand up in the courts, but in the court of public opinion it’s not legal and, by god, I’m going to fix his wagon. Hahahahahaha!!!” I may have paraphrased her slightly, but that was the gist. WTF? Since when has this government cared about it public opinion?
Actually, I’ve just read, though, that some senior Labour politicians are angered by Harman’s threats to change the law just to penalise Goodwin. One has said “Harriet has jumped the gun over this. There is no planned legislation I know about to do this.” Hmm… we’ll see.
Anyway, disregard the huge amount, and the fact that Goodwin is smug, greedy, and overpaid – do you really think that it should be permissible for the government to play ducks and drakes with the laws of the land in this way, just because they disapprove? Because I sure as hell don’t; who knows where it will end?
I’ll say that again for the hard of thinking, before the green-ink comments arrive:-
Goodwin’s personality doesn’t matter
His conduct at RBS wasn’t illegal – stupid, ill-considered, self-serving and short-sighted, perhaps, but not illegal (and if it was, nobody has come up with any evidence which, legally, amounts to the same thing)
His pension is 100% legal, and claimed to be approved by government ministers (no-one has denied that, you’ll notice)
Whether you or I like it is of no consequence, legally
Ditto for the government
Let’s not forget, under the banner of anti-terrorism, this government has massively undermined the civil rights of its citizens – and shows no signs of a slowdown; rummaging through your email, records of online activity, texts and phone calls is next on their agenda. And now they want to create a law, or bastardise an existing one, I’m not sure which, simply to make illegal something of which they disapprove.
Mark that well – disapprove. Not something that actually should have been illegal, but due to an oversight wasn’t. Not something that would benefit the inhabitants of this country. Nothing of the sort – they are fucking with our laws simply because they disapprove of the size of Fred Goodwin’s wedge. By any measure, that can’t be right.
This is a move worthy of Soviet Russia, or Zimbabwe – we don’t like this guy, or anything he stands for, but legally we can’t touch him, he’s done no wrong. Hey, I know, let’s rewrite a few laws and nail the bastard, OK?
That there is a public feel-good factor in screwing with Goodwin is beyond doubt, but it is an extremely dangerous precedent to set, because if they get away with this, establish a precedent and start feeling their oats, nobody will be safe. Nobody:-
The editor of the Times has been nasty to us? Let’s make that an offence and jail the bastard.
The Daily Mail is the most egregious shit-bucket of a newspaper? Let’s ban it and, while we’re at it, can we sequester the assets of the entire staff? (Actually, the first part has its attractions…)
Ron the blogger is an embarrassment to us – let’s make him an unperson, and make him disappear.
These MPs voted against us on this Twisting the Law and Screwing with Legal Ethics Bill – let’s jail their families on some trumped-up charge until they toe the party line. Or just indefinitely, whatever we feel like, really – hell we can tweak the law to fit the circumstances.
Ha! You think I exaggerate? Give a government the right to twist the law, or make up new ones on the fly just because they don’t like something then, trust me, sooner or later, people will begin to disappear.
While you’re applauding their action over Goodwin, try to hold on to this thought – one day, it could be you.