Fred Goodwin – Justice at Last?

Fred Goodwin (aka Fred the Shred) is no longer Sir Fred Goodwin, but has become one of us again, albeit one of us with a £350,000 per year pension. The Queen has stripped him of his knighthood.

The Guardian reports:

Fred Goodwin, the former chief executive of the Royal Bank of Scotland, has been stripped of his knighthood by the Queen on the advice of the forfeiture committee.
It was awarded by the previous Labour government in 2004 for services to banking .
The London Gazette announced that he had brought the honours system into disrepute.
Goodwin has no right of appeal, and in accordance with custom was given no right to make representations to the forfeiture committee, a group of four permanent secretaries. The authority to rescind an honour rests with the Queen alone.
David Cameron said: “I welcome the forfeiture committee’s decision on Fred Goodwin’s knighthood. The FSA [Financial Services Authority] report into what went wrong at RBS made clear where the failures lay and who was responsible. The proper process has been followed and I think we’ve ended up with the right decision.”

The full article can be read here.

I am not against him losing his knighthood, but I feel that it is just a token gesture. I agree with the sentiments expressed by a Unite spokesperson:

David Fleming, Unite’s national officer, said: “It is a token gesture to strip Fred Goodwin of his knighthood, but one which will be well received by the thousands of workers who lost their jobs during his rule.

What I am more bothered about is that Fred Goodwin is now the scapegoat for the banking industry. All the sins of the industry are now heaped onto his shoulders, and he has been loose in the desert. The banking system can the carry on as before, its sins suitably atoned for.

As I was driving home, listening to the news on the radio, another thought occurred to me as the pundits weighed in with their thoughts. Mr Fred Goodwin has not even been charged with a criminal offence, let alone convicted of anything.

This man was found guilty of perjury and perverting the course of justice and sentenced to four years in prison (of which he served two). He is still allowed to call himself Lord Archer of Weston-super-Mare, and (if he has the brass neck, which he probably has) can attach the words “The Right Honourable” to the front of the title.

So I am looking forward to hearing Eddie Mair open the PM programme with the announcement that “Jeffrey Archer has been relieved of his Lordship and is now to be known only as Mr Jeff Archer.”


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