Thursday, 26 February 2009

If I ruled the world(ish)

Perhaps not, but if I was a politician with some responsibility for the bank bailout and realised

a) I was about to throw vast amounts of additional taxpayer cash at RBS

b) had failed to appreciate at the time how the deal cut over the Sir Fred "the Shred" Goodwin pension deal might be perceived

Then here is what I'd do. First, I'd focus, fixate even on the pension issue. Second, in doing so I'd personalise it as much as and wherever possible. And three, I'd try to be seen to be doing the right thing by having a word with the lucky recipient so him keeping it can be readily explained away as a sign of his greediness rather than point (b) above.

I mean just think about it for a mo'. Government today announced an additional £13bn of support for RBS plus £6bn in reserve just in case (howdya like them apples LDV and Mini car plant workers, eh? eh?). Alongside this is a dirty great contingent obligation taken on by government i.e. us, in respect to possible losses on £325bn of RBS assets.

But see thats scary biscuits and quite complicated. Much better to personalise it down into something yer average Heat/Daily Mail reader can understand and make a £16m pension pot and £650k a year for life the issue rather than tens of billions of additional government aid.

This isn't a defence of the Goodwin pension BTW, heck no, but I am naive enough to think its a minor issue that's been flared up by political self-interest and should have been/should be sorted out realtively painlessly. Rather for me its the aid to the institution itself that needs the real scrutiny.

There again given my understanding is that there wasn't a wet eye in the house when Sir Fred left the building, it's good sport seeing him become public enemy no. 1

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