Bash a Banker

So the press are at it again whipping up the public who are now baying for their pound of flesh.

Sir Fred Goodwin is their latest target, who is rightly being criticised for his obscene pension arrangements following the criminal mismanagement of the Royal Bank of Scotland (RBS).

However I seem to remember that when the Government went in and bailed out RBS it was a condition that he and the others were effectively sacked. Now I know that when you sack someone, or they resign you have to negotiate a severance package – what and how much money they are entitled to.

For most people it is normally written into the contract of employment. In light of the situation RBS was in Goodwin agreed to waive his contractual entitlement, 15 months of salary and his ‘bonus’ which is reported to have cost him approximately £4.2m!

Now the Government are saying that his pension arrangements were not known to them, what utter rubbish! Are they seriously telling us that they threw huge sums of taxpayers money at a mismanaged organisation without preforming due diligence and checking exactly what the architects of the disaster had or were going to cream off?

We heard two stories yesterday – firstly Gordon Brown and Alistair Darling back to their Laurel and Hardy best claiming they knew nothing, and secondly Lord Myners (who is an ex-banker) and Stephen Timms saying they knew about it, but thought it was part of the contract and could do nothing about it! Surely it wouldn’t have took a legal team long to examine the contract to determine the truth?

However Fred Goodwin has not rolled over to political pressure. He now seems to have turned the focus back on the Government who are now looking quite frankly incompetent (again) and are now facing criticism from within their own ranks.

Being cynical, I believe the story was initially spun to take the press attention from the eye watering £325bn of taxpayers money being put at risk to secure the toxic debts of RBS and the damaging revelations about the role of Gordon Brown and the Government coming from the Commons Treasury Committee, firstly by Lord Turner and then Mervyn King and the other bad news about the growing rebellion concerning the Post Office sell-off and the shocking truth that the Government were involved in the extraordinary rendition of terrorist subjects.

And today we have the revelation that HBOS has also made unbelievable losses. I am sure Lloyds are regretting merging with HBOS earlier this year in a Government-brokered deal, mind you they are dumping £250bn in to the same piss-pot as RBS.

More Blank Cheques

It just gets more surreal as the days go by, more and more blank cheques signed by the taxpayer.

Mervyn King told the Treasury Select Committee it would take “many months” to establish the scale of toxic assets held by banks. “How much capital banks will need in the end is impossible to tell,” he added. His comments came after the Treasury announced it would insure £325bn of toxic assets from RBS, while pumping an extra £13bn into the loss-making bank.

Mr King acknowledged the UK public debt was “too high” when entering the recession but dismissed as “wild exaggeration” any suggestion that the country was going bust because of the bank bail-out.

The opposition have latched on to the admission the Government’s high level of borrowing had limited its options in responding to the financial crisis.

“In a refreshingly candid statement, the Governor of the Bank of England has confirmed what we’ve always said – that Gordon Brown borrowed too much in the boom and left Britain badly prepared for the recession.

“Everyone is now pointing to the mistakes made in Labour’s age of irresponsibility except the man who made most of them – Gordon Brown.”

On a more positive note, Mr King stressed that Britain would emerge from the recession, saying: “There have been downturns and financial crises in the past. It won’t go on for ever. It will be painful but we will come through it.”

As Wendy would say ONIONS!

What happened to peel off easy open can lids?

Is it just me or has the credit crunch had a dramatic effect on the availability of tinned soup, baked beans, hot dog sausages, meatballs, ravioli etc?

I don’t mean the supermarkets are low on stocks, or charging over inflated prices. But they seemed to be making it more difficult to actually get to the salt and sugar enhanced gloop by shying away from the use of the peel off easy open lids (pictured left) and opting for the more traditional and dangerous “you will need a can-opener and are likely to end decorating A&E with arterial blood as you amputate your index finger on the razor sharp metal disc” type (pictured right)

It seems to be affecting the supermarket own brands more than the name brands – but as they say “every little helps” as they struggle to survive on their paltry multi-billion pound profits.