Thursday, 26 February 2009

Sir Fred Goodwin

RBS agreed to pay him the pension. He is contractually entitled to it. (Addition: yes, an element was a discretionary payment, but the decision was taken to pay it, and under his contract, he is entitled to it.)

So, putting aside the fact that a court case to stop it being paid out would have no hope of success, why do any decent and reasonable people support government efforts to bully him into giving it up with threats of legal action?

Addition: this isn't a comment on the morality of Goodwin's position. It might well be that the right thing for him to do would be to give up some or all of the pension. But that's not a reason for the Government to harass him. It would be morally right for me to give 30% of my salary to Oxfam, but I don't, and I don't want the Minister for Overseas Development to leave me messages badgering me to do so.

Update: Prescott on Today tells us that RBS should stop paying the pension and wait for Goodwin to sue. Brilliant. He would sue, he would win, and so on top of the pension, substantial court costs would have to be paid. What a twat.


Matthew Cain said...

It seems as though the government is just picking on Goodwin - which is not a pretty sight:

Anonymous said...

It's an excellent example of the distinction between the Law and justice.

Jonny Mac said...

Anon - I'm not sure I quite agree. Rather, I think it is an excellent example of the distinction between law and morality.

I don't think it would be just for the Government, via the law - through a 'Goodwin Pension Act' - to take back Goodwin's pension despite his entitlement under contract to it, even though that would be lawful, and I think in practical terms, of what that would mean for the nature of the role of the state in our affairs, it would be a disaster.

But you could quite easily argue that it would be a morally right thing to do.

dNo said...

Agree 100% on this one, the govt signed it off without reading the small print last year, so we all lose except Fred. And if this latest balls up is not something for one of the involved ministers to resign over, then the government has lost its last shred of morality.