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Driven to distraction

Nick Robinson | 11:44 UK time, Friday, 27 February 2009

My fellow blogger, John Prescott chastised the media this morning for obsessing about ministers' responsibility for the doubling of Sir Fred's pension instead of the banker and the banks themselves.

It's worth pondering why the cheerleader in chief for a fourth labour victory has done this.

John Prescott with petitionPrezza has a shrewd instinct for the public mood. He can feel and smell the scale of the mounting anger. What he is about is channelling that towards bankers in general and Sir Fred Goodwin in particular and channelling it away from Gordon Brown and his ministers.

That might have been possible if it were not for yesterday's revelations that the treasury minister Lord Myners knew of the size of Sir Fred's pension pot, didn't question whether it could have been reduced and didn't try to insist that he be sacked instead of been given early retirement with a pension worth almost £700,000 a year.

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Ministers believe that it was not only Lord Myners who did not know that Sir Fred's pension was discretionary. They believed that the old board of RBS was kept in the dark too and this feeds their hopes that legal action will be possible.

However, the who-knew-what-when saga of Sir Fred's pension pot is distracting from the much more important story of how much is being paid for what benefit. In other words the fuss over a few extra million for the former banker is distracting from the question of what exactly the country will get for the squillions that are being paid to underwrite the banks.

That is the big gamble that was taken this week, never mind what happened last October. It is that that will matter in 10 years time not the squabble between two wealthy former bankers.


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  • Comment number 1.

    Also, Mervyn King today blamed the Government saying that they hadn't saved enough money to pay for a stimulus package. Don't forget, it's not Gordon's fault

    Except it really, REALLY is.

  • Comment number 2.

    I agree with your conclusions Nick. But granting those conclusions, what Labour fail to calculate is the pretty poor likelihood of this ploy distracting attention from government responsibility over HBOS_Lloyds. That is a tiger they have yet to ride, and one that could take a large bite out of the strongest advocate of the fatal takeover, one Gordon Brown.

  • Comment number 3.


    You are right, the role of the media is to distract the public's attention from what is really going on!

    But what is really going on that we are being distracted from?

    The whole World's banks are bust - but it does not help us any to know this in the short term. We are morally offended by untrammelled greed by the people who broke the banks and indeed the politicians who failed to give us a regulatory system that stopped it happening.

    The people will take their revenge as is always the way. It does seem that the managers of the economy are doing their very best to hurt the largest number of voters (by having a policy of grabbing the widows mite by paying no interest). This is extremely perverse of the politicians - do they want to be kicked out for twenty years? Perhaps we should incentiveise them by taking their indexed linked pensions away!!!!

  • Comment number 4.

    The problem I have with this is that I can look at these senior (ex-)bankers and these senior politicians and I really cannot see any difference.

    Therein lies the rub.

    English people really do need to wake from their political slumbers, as Phillip Pullman so powerfully wrote in todays Times.

  • Comment number 5.

    We keep hearing that Lord Myners did this that and the other in relation to the banks being bailed out ,but which ELECTED members were involved in these discussions,so far all we have heard is the usual I wasn't there excuses.Is Myners serving his purpose that he is the fall guy between Brown,Darling Cooper and the rest of the highly paid treasury team who knew nothing about anything?

  • Comment number 6.

    To clarify my comments above about not seeing any difference between these bankers and politicians, what I mean is that both cohorts represent an elite that is screwing over the public.

    Coupled with, in essence, a total lack of meaningful accountability, except for when they've been either fired or not re-elected, but of course, by then it is too late, both cohorts have run off with the money.

    It really is astounding just how supine the English people have been, so far, about all of this.

    I wonder when the tipping point will be reached?

  • Comment number 7.

    No nick the big fuss is about why should be bail them out at all.

    We should have let them go to the wall, then hey presto no pension for Goodwin.

    I can think of no good reason to keep pooring money the country doesnt have into the money pit that is the Banking "industry".

    If it was a horse you would have shot it, if it was a car you would haave traded it in or sold it to some unsuspecting punter.

    If it was a house you would have knocked it down and built a nice little bungalow or two on the land

  • Comment number 8.

    According to Robert Peston's account, Myners was told that the pension entitlement was contractual in the presence of a 'senior lawyer'. In those circumstances, it's hardly surprising that the statement was taken to be an accurate representation of the position.

    In my (considerable) experience of negotiating early retirement deals, employers are usually willing to pay a significant amount to avoid expensive and potentially damaging litigation for breach of a senior employee's contract (as opposed to relatively cheap unfair dismissal). However, in this case you have to think that they could have bought an awful lot of very expensive legal time for £8m!

    Of course, as with almost everything else, it's all much easier with hindsight.

  • Comment number 9.

    Obviously the irony of getting a gold plated pension and perks for doing a job incredibly badly is lost on Mr Prescott.

    Call an election.

  • Comment number 10.

    Perhaps he'll get a job as non-exec at Jaguar Landrover, because there's no way they'll get away with that one once the Deripaska case gets its teeth into things.

  • Comment number 11.


    Spot on.

    Fred's pension row has been leaked by Labour to stoke a row and stop the media questioning the Government's reckless use of trillions of pounds.

    P.S. Whilst we are on the subject of pensions - we should remind ourselves of the porkies Ed Balls told over Gordon's pension raid:

  • Comment number 12.

    Doesnt prezza have a gold plated pension, didnt he keep his grace and favour home after being sacked. Never mind his personal antics.

    Hypocriosy of the worst kind
    Anyone for Croquet at Dorneywood?

  • Comment number 13.

    This comment was removed because the moderators found it broke the house rules. Explain.

  • Comment number 14.

    "Gordon Brown has repeated his threat of legal action against ex-Royal Bank of Scotland chief Sir Fred Goodwin over his "unacceptable" £16m pension.

    The prime minister said he was "considering every legal means at our disposal" to get some of it back if Sir Fred continued to ignore public anger.

    He doesn't have a leg to stand on!

  • Comment number 15.

    Almost on topic Nick, well done

    You didn't quite manage to include the Governor of the Bank of England's evidence to the treasury committee

    I do think that the who-said-you-said saga has the greatest potential to fully embarrass the government if it is directed back at them, and unfortunately the Tories are at rest for understandable reasons.

    I do have to really question why the Government would put up this smoke screen, because of this potential to damage them. I can only believe that there is something out there that they don't want discussed

    Like the Extraordinary Rendition and Torture allegations?

    The Huge Bank Bail outs which have the potential to fully embarrass Brown at the G20 meeting

    Jack Boot Jackie's knife crime statistics lies that your colleague exposed on Wednesday

    Please name the elephant in the room Nick.

  • Comment number 16.

    Are you sure Peston didnt write this????

  • Comment number 17.

    Prezza has a shrewd instinct for the public mood

    Is there more then one John Prescott? As I wouldn't credit "Two Jags" with an instinct for the mood of the public - unless you are talking about mood inside the Westminster bubble!

    Prescott's comments tend to oppose the mood of the public more often then they are in tune with them!

  • Comment number 18.

    Great piece, Nick. You have clearly seen straight through Labour's "blame anyone but us" strategy.

    My view is (and remains) that the UK economy is not "in a recession" as people tend to believe but, rather, is heading for catastrophe; and that this will be triggered the day we start printing money.

  • Comment number 19.

    Nick, they new, they just didn't want to let it out. Unfortunately, it's now out and we now know we're all being fleeced even more. If we can't get our money back, strip him of his knighthood. Full stop.

  • Comment number 20.

    Prezza has a shrewd instinct for the public mood. He can feel and smell the scale of the mounting anger............

    .......... and hes keen to shift that anger onto someone else.

  • Comment number 21.

    Had Prescott not held on to all the trappings of power when he was booted out for incompetence, he might have a valid point to make... as it is, it just comes across a blatant hypocrisy.

    If Prescott was allowed to keep his two pensions, his ministerial cars, and his grace and favour homes, what right has he got to lecture Goodwin for keeping the pension that was awarded to him by the Prime Minister and his merry men...??

  • Comment number 22.


    It's a shame you didn't include the link to the interview on the Today programme, I include it below:

    Prescott's two eyed economic theory:

    How a Labour MP can be proud of the economic growth during the last 10 years without accepting that the growth was due to Government lending, PFI deals with the banks including Fred's RBS and a huge increase in personal debt borrowed from foreign banks, HBOS, RBS and others is obviously living in another world and living on generous expenses.

    The man is out of touch with reality, it's time for him to go, or as his website suggests; go forth and m.......

  • Comment number 23.

    If Prescott reads the replies to his blog on the Guardian site he'd be quickly disabused about the public opinion - he called for Sir Fred's pension to be shredded, most replies wanted to see his pension shredded.
    And rightly so.
    This economic meltdown is by no means all the fault of the banks. It is the fault of policy makers such as the Golem and King. The banking crisis is just a manifestation of the logical conclusion of their failed policies.

  • Comment number 24.

    If we can't trust the Treasury ministers on a (relatively) small issue such as severance and pension arrangements for a grossly incompetent CEO (how else would one define losses of over 20 billion quid?) then why would anyone trust them with 300 billion or 600 billion or whatever the truly astronomical figures of our - and future -taxpayers money they are bandying about?

  • Comment number 25.

    If the appallingPrescott (I won't dignify him with a cuddly nickname) is ever driven to distraction will it be in one Jag or two?

  • Comment number 26.

    It is hard to think of any other profession other than politics, where a senior member can have sex with an employee, in working time and on work premises and still not be sacked.

    John Prescott did and no doubt other politicians have too.

    Prescott also, in my opinion, has completely and utterly betrayed the working people of this country, who you'd hope he would be honoured to represent.

    Typified by playing croquet, again when he was supposed to be working for us.

    You half-expect the Tory elite to dump all over working people but when it comes from a so-called member of the working people, it really is too much to stomach.

    Prescott is a well-respected figure within the Labour Party, as Alistair Campbells book makes clear but please don't even mention that name in my presence ever again.

  • Comment number 27.

    Let's be on the alert when Gordon Brown starts legal action against Sir Fred.

    Presumably the same grounds will be open to taxpayers to do likewise against our Prime Minister in relation to his luxurious Government pension!

  • Comment number 28.

    I heard John Prescott spouting forth on the radio earlier. I was amazed at him blaming the bankers entirely for this crisis. The banks have played within the rules set by the light touch demands of the government. If they haven't then are we to expect massive corporate fraud cases against these bankers? Is Goodwin going to be arrested? Is the regulator going to take action? Will Gordon be arrested for allowing this to happen? The answers to all of these is NO.

    Prescott said ' Greed Greed Greed' was to blame.

    Yes - Greed of the bankers
    Greed of the government for the tax take
    And Greed of Gordon in his wish to create a country so reliant on the state.

  • Comment number 29.

    Nice try to gloss over it all Nick, but the handling of the Fred Goodwin issue merely shows the careless and incompetent manner in which the government are handling these issues and decisions. The government should have done more to ensure that taxpayers money is not being mis-spent.

    If the government cannot deal with this type of issue without asking the very obvious questions that anyone else would ask, and establishing the veracity of the answers given, then what makes you or anyone else think that the decision making process by the government will be any less careless or incompetent when handing over squillions of taxpayers money ?

    As for the Fred Goodwin pension issue itself, I'm sure that Jacqui Smith would say, "no rules have been broken" - just like her expenses claims. It really does seem to be open season for season for those in a position to abuse the system to fleece the taxpayer as much as they can. And that should concern you Nick as well as everyone else.

  • Comment number 30.

    OK, look wider. We now know that the Shred was given privileged treatment by the Old Board of RBS acting in ultra vires. He wasn't the only one: Tom McKillop also got a package, if I recall correctly. How much was that one?
    Similarly, how much did each of the OTHER leavers take with them?

  • Comment number 31.

    56 minute moderation queue, well done BBC you're well worth that licence fee!

  • Comment number 32.

    The row helpfully distracts from Lloyds's losses owing to the HBoS merger which was arranged by Brown. Crosby probably told Brown that HBoS would implode and Lloyds helped the government prevent another nationalisation following Northern Rock, Bradford and Bingley and Alliance and Leicester.

    By the way, Crosby also seems to have a nice pension. And who beknighted these guys and hired them as adviser?

    Brown and Myners are lucky that this takes the focus awayfrom the eye-watering costs of the bank bailouts.

  • Comment number 33.

    Throughout this affair politicians have been desperately trying to save their own necks by blaming bankers. The fact is, an artificial low cost of money caused by Government forcing the Bank of England to ignore house pricing in setting interest rates is the biggest culprit here. And the sinner for that mistake is Gordon Brown. I hope when he leaves office we can claw back his pension.

  • Comment number 34.

    Interesting to see that Gordon Brown is also keen to get a refund on Sir Fred's pension.

    Perhaps the next time you speak to Gordon, you could ask him these three questions:

    1. How much pension will he get when he stops being prime minister?

    2. What are his criteria for deciding whether he deserves to be paid it?

    3. If those criteria are not met, will he agree to forego his pension?

    He won't answer the questions, of course, but I'd still love to hear you ask them.

  • Comment number 35.

    When it comes to Prescott's credibility, we only have to look at his immaculate school results, his reluctant use of his grace and favours house and his reputation never to lay eyes on young, junior female staff. Indeed, Prescott's credibility is right up there with that of Brown and Mandy.

  • Comment number 36.

    Hi Nick, I was reading the very amusing "Daily Mash" take on this bankers pension fuss. I was wondering if failed political leaders like Brown and Prescott might like to give back some of their enormous pension contributions in view of the utter mess they have made of the economy over the last 10 years. It is after all taxpayers money and we have had little value out of them of late.

  • Comment number 37.

    Mr Robinson,

    When will you compare and contrast the way that Goodwin's pension details made it into the public domain yesterday with the governemtn and police are treating Green who got his hands on information the government does not want in the open?

    When will you look into Brown's subletting of his constituency office? And was the reporting of this timed to coincide with the Goodwin pension row?

  • Comment number 38.

    Nick, if Prezza had a "shrewd instinct for the public mood" as you say, then he would be wise to keep his mouth shut.
    Only a few years ago he was drawing an outrageous salary and all the benefits (including pension perks) of Deputy Prime Minister, but had no departmental responsibilities.

    If I can remember this, other people can.
    He can (try to) channel anger all he wants but this will bite him back. Him and his wasteful party.

    It seems strange you can give us history lessons about the first Prime Minister, nearly 300 years ago and then omit things like this.

  • Comment number 39.

    If the first, second or third way is anything to go by, then John Prescott and his NuLabour cronies can keep the fourth way to themselves.

    Yours and Peston's articles keep going round and round in circles because you won't directly criticise and point the finger of blame at the true culprits of this fiasco who are GB and his cack handed government, the reckless bankers and the not fit for purpose regulators (who incidentally pay Lord Turner over £500,000 a year and are still going to pay out large bonuses to their for what?).

    When the media who generally have been the only body which has acted as the real Opposition Party this last eleven years start to lip synch the crass ruling classes, then the people will act.

    They will show John Prescott and his not fit for office party the only way left for them which is:

    go now before you are thrown out by the angry mob who comprise citizens of all classes.

    How about that for a class war?

  • Comment number 40.


    I think that Prezza is perfectly aware. After all, he hardly covered himself in glory during his years in Government did he?

    Just that his tongue is so firmly rammed in his cheek that it looks like its about to burst through.

    He just thinks we're all stupid and that his "drawing the fire" from GB will actually work.

    Just follow the trail of those chickens. They're not on their way back to Humberside, thats for certain.

  • Comment number 41.

    Had Sir Fred owned RBS he would have had to have swallowed the losses as much as the profits.
    But No, he only worked for RBS and so feels entitled to take his pension and leave the owners, the poor old shareholder, with the losses.
    Looks like the same business ethic he has adopted all along. You only pass this way once etc etc...

  • Comment number 42.

    Hi Nick,

    Gordon Brown (furiously chasing the bolted horse) says that there will be no reward for failure.

    (Labour strategy these days seems to be to echo the anger of the public, in order to seem to empathetic, but actually do something different.)

    Like the bankers to the Commons Finance Committee, Gordon Brown apologised for the 10p tax fiasco, admitting his mistake.

    So can we expect the cost of that mistake to be deducted from the PM's pension pot?

    See you in the pub.

  • Comment number 43.

    Mr Robinson,

    My last comment for the day,

    Refreshing to see you so honest and openly biased to refer to Prescott as "fellow blogger". Finally a BBC reporter stops trying to hide his partisanship.

    A small step forward, but do tell the tele audience as well!

  • Comment number 44.

    Audit Commission Chief Warns of "Armageddon Debt"

    Is the Feed Goodwin row being stoked in order to distract us from this also:

  • Comment number 45.

    I am pleased to see the term 'insurance' is no longer appearing in relation to covering the banks losses.

    Insurance pays out to the few, from the premiums of the many -- the financial gift that brown is promising the banks to cover the losses is not insurance, as the premiums would have to equal the losses - leaving the banks no better off!! Simply, Brown is promising to give away our money.

    I hope he is not stupid enough to nationalise the banks -- currently we do have the option of letting them go bust (we are only shareholders) - embarrassing but not fatal - if they are nationalised then our necks are even further on the line.

  • Comment number 46.

    Moderated again!
    (Rolls eyes, tuts, and looks skyward!)
    All I said was that they're all as bad as each other, Prescott included.
    Are the moderators nuns or something?

  • Comment number 47.

    Gordon Brown's "anger" over this issue is utterly laughable, he has overseen this country falling deep into a recession due to the policies he developed and enforced during his tenure as Chancellor, yet I don't see him offering to resign or take a reduction in his gold-plated pension scheme!

  • Comment number 48.

    Theis pension business all stinks, where have the funds gone! Funny how no one knew about the latest furor, is Gordon Brown really saying he didn't know what the score is
    Sir Fred Goodwin pension...

    ....come off it, this show 's how incompetent Brown and Co. is, if they can't handle pensions they can't handle the economy.

    All this hype about going to court and getting the money back is just opening pandora's box of excuses - not my fault gov' and who on earth gave Fred Goodwin the knighthood and what for?

    Labour have never ever been capitalist and never will be, look how they fritter money away let alone the gold that was sold for peanuts.

    Don't mention novices - the Chuckle Brothers could have done a better job (or Mr Bean).

    For a government this is a utter disgrace what a circus this is.

  • Comment number 49.

    What about Prescott's own pension? As Labour MP Geraldine Smith said:

    "I think it is outrageous that the Deputy Prime Minister loses his department but keeps his position, his salary and the perks of the job. It seems absolutely astonishing."

    Lead by example, eh?

    While we're on the subject of hypocrisy, note that Myners is showing off his private contemporary art collection. Are the newly-unemployed invited by any chance?

  • Comment number 50.

    This is really A School For Scandal situation. So 'Sir' Fred Goodwin has his snout in the trough. Nothing new there. What is worrying, however, is that 'Lord' Myners pleads ignorance about how the pension was formulated. So what the goodness is he doing in such a job? Jobs for the boys, or troughs for the snouts?

  • Comment number 51.

    Bang on the money this time, Nick. Sir Fred's pension is insignificant in terms of the overall picture.

    But did I really hear John Prescott this morning saying that if there were no legal means to overturn the pension, it should just not be paid? A former Deputy Prime Minister thinks we should simply ignore laws we don't like?

  • Comment number 52.

    Who is this John Prescott?

    Can't be the guy who promised an "integrated transport system" for the UK, surely?

    Not that bloke who was going to introduce (very expensive and unwanted) Regional Government?

    Can't be the fellow who was going to deliver millions of new homes? How many houses on flood plains were approved???

    The Prescott I heard on Radio 4 was basking in a "decade of growth in the UK". Challenging the interviewer whether he had ever doubted the "solidity" of the UK's finances.

    Good Lord. Everyone with an IQ above 42 - maybe 22 - could see that a credit-based economy was a problem. Except Blair (who was obviously frightened of Brown - who wouldn't be?) and the Chancellor with all his very expensive team of advisors.

    Most people need some "working credit" during their lives. To buy homes (mortgages) or build businesses.

    But does anyone really believe that house prices would have shot up, as they did, if banks hadn't been allowed - permitted - encouraged to slosh money about. The high demand would have forced some house price rises. But with so much loose cash showered over people, prices would evidently rocket.

    Did Prescott ever wonder whether that was a good idea?

    Bankers bad? No doubt.

    Did politicians encouraging them to make money with minimal regulation (Brown's decision - not Thatcher's) so the tax take could rise do a poor job? No doubt.

    Funny really. Prescott had a chip on both shoulders (and probably carried a few in his pocket in case one fell off). He always implied that "Class" stopped him from doing what he could. David Davis (single parent, council estate upbringing) did what people have done for generations... worked their socks off to make a better life.

    Who do you really believe represents the "aspirations of the working class"?

    (Please note: I don't carry a brief for any party. Just had hard working parents who didn't have a silver-spoon start to life. Nor did I, but I had lots of support which it took years to understand, although I did appreciate it at the time...)

    Just focus on the greed of bankers. That will divert attention from the fact that Brown removed the 10p tax band, which stuffed many people. Stupid.

  • Comment number 53.


    I also see that people are remembering Prescotts own 'pension scandal' - when he was sacked as deputy PM - he kept his pension entitlement and may other perks.

  • Comment number 54.


    Re your comment

    "Ministers believe that it was not only Lord Myners who did not know that Sir Fred's pension was discretionary. They believed that the old board of RBS was kept in the dark too and this feeds their hopes that legal action will be possible."

    There's a lot our ministers don't seem to know about, despite being warned in the press. Although to be fair there are certain subjects our media just don't seem to like to cover!! The link is one of the few exceptions

  • Comment number 55.

    "Mervyn King today blamed the Government saying that they hadn't saved enough money"

    I am still very puzzled by Brown/Blair selling out gold at the bottom of the market. To whom and why? An insider job? Who has us over a barrel? It must be worth billions more now for the buyers.

    How much has Iraq cost us and continue to cost us?

    How much tax was lost in the VAT carousel fraud?

    How much extra tax would we have raised if all ex-domiciles pay the same rate of taxes as most of us?

    Has the Labour governement squandered away £1.2 trillion over the last 10 year as claimed?

    How much is the Olympic game going to cost us? Who make most of the profits? Non-cancellable, non-delayable projects are open invitation many find irresistable.

    How much .... ???

  • Comment number 56.

    I'm angry too.

    I'm angry that as a UK taxpayer with at least another twenty years of working life ahead of me (quite possibly more given where my pension pot now is), the Government is now committing me to be jointly and severally liable for the entire bad debts of the banking industry, without so much as a 'thanks very much' in return.

    I'm angry that a Government that has now declared the banking industry to be so important and central to the economic health of the country, has for twelve years, looked the other way while greed, excess and downright incompetence became the standards by which the financial sector were run.

    I'm angry that people like John Prescott, Gordon Brown, Alistair Darling and any number of others assume that I am so stupid that I would believe the nonsense they spout. That the diversion of one failed banker's excess (who this week just happens to be Goodwin, last week was Hornby, the previous week Crosby) will prevent full and proper scrutiny of their actions regarding the banking sector, both before and after the current crisis began.

    And most of all I'm angry that a Government for whom the only thing that mattered was how much tax they could raise and squander over twelve years of unparallelled profligacy, will leave a legacy of massively increased borrowing, massively increased tax liabilities, a ruined economy with no prospects of meaningfull growth for years to come, the value of money decimated, assets worthless and savings wiped out, will leave office next year with pensions every bit as gold-plated as Fred Goodwin's.

    And if that doesn't get you angry, Nick, you're clearly looking forward to your own gilt-edged retirement too.

  • Comment number 57.

    A good and thought-provoking article. It proves that despite his strange speech patterns and bizarre private life, Prescott can be as devious as Mandelson, yet people will think he's genuine.

  • Comment number 58.

    Nick, the Government is feigning horror to deflect attention from the bail outs.

    Did the Government ask Sir Fred to forgo some of the pension back in October, as it would be the "right thing to do ?" - NO

    So to suggest that they are asking now because they found that it was discretionary back then does not suggest that they are asking as it "Is the right thing to do", but that in reality they are asking because THEY MADE A MISTAKE!

    Of course the spin does not allow it to come out in that way.

  • Comment number 59.

    with moderation this slow....i am losing the will to live... why do you insist on pre moderation?

    Talking of news put out to deflect the public from the real issues, who is the arch villain at this...yes the BBC. Why do journalists not hold this government to account instead of lobbing easy questions or accepting waffle instead of answers?

  • Comment number 60.

    I'm guessing Prescott doesn't understand the meaning of irony. When NuLabour came to power, Prescott said he would have failed if he did not reduce congestion. Hmm. I could go on about his failures, but the list of his successes is shorter! Despite being a complete failure, he still claims a massive pension, and I'm guessing he wouldn't contemplate giving any back. The same goes for all his ministerial colleagues, particularly Brown (failure to end bust, despite his boasts) who failed to inderstand that an economy based mainly on debt will at some stage collapse.

  • Comment number 61.


    this is exactly the blog I have been hoping for so long.

    We rely on you and other editors to filter out the spin and attempts by opinion formers as Prescott is trying to be, to mislead the public.

    All I have heard from this Government over the last year is "We are the people that you need in these hard times not a Novice"

    Then we get "We knew nothing or we did not see this coming or Its all Americas fault or Its all the Bankers fault"

    It is becoming more and more clear that all roads are leading to Rome (Gordon Brown)

    Basically we are supposed to believe that they are the only people who can steer us out of this storm but they have been oblivious to everything that got us into it.

    Labour are a busted flush and I fear that all of their actions are only to get re-elected by making the economy change for the period of the next election and not for the long term which looks terrible.

  • Comment number 62.

    I too listened to Prescott interview this morning.

    What angered me, wasn't the issue over the pension, but that if you listen carefully to Prescott's words, he virtually committed a crime, that of Incitement.

    We do not need politicians to go around seeking or stating 'revenge'.

    I seem to remember that over the '45 minute dossier' in 2003, that (as it turned out) an innocent man, a whistleblower was hounded by Downing Street, after the Select Committee interrogation, into death by his own hand. (Dr Kelly, Weapons Expert for the MOD)

    Do we need politicians like Prescott, inciting action or inflaming anger in the general population?

    What would happen if Sir Fred or his family were harmed as a consequence of his somewhat 'emotional' performance?

    Prescott stated he was proud of the ten years of prosperity brought to Britain due to Labour's policies. Is he actually saying he is proud to be associated with the fraudlent activities that have led to the downfall of the banks, under the watchful eyes of his colleagues, Alistair Darling and Gordon Brown?

    Should people who accept perks, be allowed to judge what is a private matter between a former employee and his former company?

    He did after all, refuse himself to give up his two Jags, his grace and favour accommodation.

    Prescott should be ashamed of his behaviour. Trying to score brownie points when as deputy-PM, a man was hounded to death is not to be trusted in this or any other matter.

  • Comment number 63.

    Its amazing how quickly people like J Prescott think he is qualified to be a cheerleader for the people....

    I would just like to remind him he himself is a disgraced former minister who wasn't averse to taking handouts from the tax payer and using them for personal gain.

    There are now virtually no minsters that haven't at sometime had their finances called into question.

    People who live in glass houses shouldn't throw stones.

  • Comment number 64.

    You can't agree to pay someone off (ie fred) and then later come back to him and say you want the money back because you didn't bother to look into what the situation was; it's just not legal to do it.

    The only way the government can claw the money back would be by suing fred for negligence, but they still won't be able to actually withdraw/change the pension; that's been written in stone by law/contract, although they might be able to recoup the same amount of cash with a negligence claim against him personally.

    However, even with a negligence claim the courts would normally dismiss it immediately if the agreement had already been made at a time when you already knew he'd been negligent. The courts would just laugh at you and tell you that you should have looked at the contract before signing it.

    Osborne's right; the pension itself is obscene, but it was Brown/Labour's fault for not bothering to look at the contracts before they signed them.

    If that's the kind of negligence we can expect from Brown/Labour when it comes not bothering to read the contracts of the private pension of the leaving executive, then that bids the question of just how negligent is the rest of the government agreements regarding the overall billions in bailouts to the different banks?

    That's what people should be questioning; if Brown/Labour don't bother to read any contracts and just throw money at things without thinking then what on earth has been happening on the main contracts with the billions of pounds of tax payers' money? To me that's terrifying that potentially over a trillion pounds of public risk/debt could be tied up in contracts which the government hasn't even bothered to read.

  • Comment number 65.

    So Prescott is doing his usual Blind Side Swerve and i bet he and his fellow MP,s dont give up there Gold Plated Pensions either albeit on a slightly smaller scale

  • Comment number 66.

    Prescott can try to channel our anger all he likes, but the majority of people in this country can see Labour for what they really are. We know that they will spin, lie and tell us anything to get their sorry backsides off the hook.

    Prescott must think we are all fools. He couldn't be more wrong.

    That's it. I'll not waste another second on this hypocrite.

  • Comment number 67.

    Oh dear the thieves are falling out...

    Why not call an election this autumn and let the new government sort out who gets what? If there's nothing left, as is probable, so be it.

    Message to Prescott: Go back to your constituents and leave me alone.

  • Comment number 68.


    You're quite right to identify that Goodwin's pension scandal is a side-show to the main event (perhaps you were cribbing my earlier post on the Peston blog?)

    But while we're here, why would the man at the centre choose to make public his refusal to forego his pension and risk drawing further opprobrium upon his own head?

    Whatever he did or has done, I wouldn't take him for a fool.

    A case of "come and 'ave a go, if you think you're hard enough"?

    More likely this is a man holding a strong hand of cards and knowing that he has the means to take on his accusers - with the Prime Minister leading the onslaught with all the indignation of a tabloid editorial.

    A long time ago, I likened the Prime Minister to the old woman in the Russian fable who threw one of her children to the chasing wolves every time the ravening pack drew closer to her sleigh.

    This time Baboushka may find that one of those children goes feral and runs with the wolves.

    Auld allies can make the most implacable of enemies.

    Bring it on...

  • Comment number 69.

    For those too lazy to follow the link, this is the quote...

    "We set up the Financial Services Authority to, you know before we came into power there was a sort of self regulatory system so you know they more or less regulated themselves. We brought in a statutory regulatory system, supervisory system, but of course we couldn't know exactly what was going on in every individual bank and it's only in the last few days to be honest that what has happened over this pension has come to light."
    Gordon Brown on Radio Oxford today.

    Wonderful bit of political garbage.

    "We couldn't know what was going on..." well, has he really any idea what was goin on in Defence, Education, Transport, etc.

    For goodness sake, Hutton admitted that "extraordinary rendition" happened. While Blair was in charge & Brown held his purse strings.

    Releasing "Cabinet Minutes"?

    What was the point? Bunch of numpties trying to work out which house was their "second house" - even though it was a "first house" for HMRC purposes when they flogged it.

    Isn't that fraud?

  • Comment number 70.

    If Gordon Brown thinks it appropriate for a CEO to take personal responsibility for the failings of his business (in a Global downturn) this is heartening. After years of dodging responsibility for every costly disaster visited on the electorate, are we now to see ministers, Prime Ministers and their gold plated perks and pensions being equally at risk for their mistakes? Personal accountability at this level is a cultural necessity - not the convenience it became under Blair, so it will be good to see Ministers past and present being scored retrospectively and their pensions being adjusted accordingly..

    The failures over Iraq would be an excellent place to start. Personal accountability certainly would chime with the public mood..

  • Comment number 71.

    Caught a bit of John Prescott`s ramble about greed etc. and Sir Fred should do the moral thing etc etc.

    If we are talking about morals then this govt is dead in the water.

    Is Ms Smith, although she may have claimed quite properly for renting a room out in her sister`s house, going to give some of her expenses back as it would be the moral thing to do? Don`t think so soem how.

    I think the trouble is that when you start throwing stones in a glass house you should look closer to home first and realise the extravagant lifestyle and wealth that some Labour ministers and MPs have acquired under the tenure of NuLabour, let alone bankers etc. Not always the wisest thing to do Mr P. Made yourself look a bit of an ass.

    One has only got to look at Tony Blair to see how well he has done in the last decade. From relatively nothing to a multi millionaire and property owner. I dont suppose Mr P had him in mind either.

    John Prescott has obviously been wheeled out by Mandy to divert attention from the real cock up (another day another one) that this govt has made in bailing out these banks. One minute they were all buddies with each other, giving them all knighthoods because everyting was going so swimmingly; but when it went horribly wrong NuLabour totally distanced themselves from these people, blamming them entirely for everything that has gone wrong.

    I think NuLabour is in danger, that if its continues laying all the blame at the door of the bankers they will unite and turn on Gordon Brown who may just live to regret all of this.

  • Comment number 72.

    8 Jim Brant

    So Jim, in your (considerable) experience, you are prepared to take dealings with such high costs from word of mouth from anyone however qualified. Why? because they must be honest?

    Have it in writing signed and dated, that is what my considerable experience told me.

  • Comment number 73.

    Meanwhile, Alastair Campbell's golden rule about the duration of political stories - a maximum of 12/14 days before the story is pushed down the stack by some other event - seems to be holding up for Jacqui Smith.

    Yes, Jacqui, Fred the Shredded has come to your rescue.

    Every cloud must have a silver lining for somebody and in this case, it is for Jacqui Smith.

    Happy days, keep on troughing!

  • Comment number 74.

    Quite right, the deal taxpayers are currently getting is not being looked at - it should be, it's terrible!!!!!!!!!!!!!

    As for Prescott being 4th term cheerleader for New Labour, erm, well wasn't remembered for enjoying the good life as well as two jags? Oh yes, and of course the reveal-all memoirs.

    Good, perhaps we'll got Labour back then.

    Can the Queen sack Flash Gordon et al? Have them tried for treason? Hope she won't forget Blair.

  • Comment number 75.

    I know I posted this on the previous blog, but now the ball is rolling on this subject please forgive me.

    Treasury Minister Lord Myners.

    Yet another of Browns government of "All Talents" who finds it hard to read the small print.

    And Oh! The excuses this time! "We were given the impression by the board of RBS that the pensions were legally binding."

    Oh really? So no one actually checked?

    When buying a car off dodgy Derek, who says it, has a full MOT and year?s tax, you'd bother to ask to seem them? And if they weren?t there you?d tell him to take a running jump!


    This government over the last decade has committed us all whether public or military, on items that have all been done on a scrap of paper to make a quick fix.

    At no time it's seems do they pay attention to the detail. It's not as if the government is no bulging with staff! Could they not employ at least one professional worker (Who if good would be worth their weight in gold) to read through documents with a discerning eye and comment:-

    This Good Friday Peace Treaty has holes you could drive a ship through.

    This Human rights bill is aiding the wrong people, and can be abused.

    Asbos are a waste of time and money.

    No don't go to war with Iraq based on this cut and paste document from the internet.

    Before we buy these banks, shouldn't we see how many people are on the take and change the rules, so we don't pay through the nose?

    I think Ed Milliband should stop Carping on how households should cut their carbon emissions by a third by 2020, even though there are no real viable sustainable technologies to support this, Oh and by the way if he does insist on pushing on with this it may not be prudent that he sits next to Geoff Hoon when the Transport Secretary is pushing forward for a huge expansion of Heathrow Airport, because I?m sure I read somewhere that Aircraft are the biggest Carbon pollutants.

    No Mandy don't bring Mandleson back, no one likes him and he's not very honest.

    VAT to 15% for 12 months that would be stupid.

    I'm sure you could think of more.

    Labour. Go Please just go!

    Rant over.

  • Comment number 76.

    The government is just covering their mistakes by whipping up public anger towards Sir Fred. Its the same old game to mislead the public. The fact is that they would only get a portion of Freds pension back because some of it was accrued in other jobs.

    If I had to decide who was telling the truth, I would not believe this Government.

    The fact is it was Brown himself who gave Fred his knighthood, so he must have believed in him then. I am certain in my own mind that the Government agreed to this pension, otherwise they would have done something before now.

    All the Labour troops are out to sell the story that Freds pension is more important than the latest bail out which is costing the tax payer billions, and that the merger between HBOS and Lloyds is a complete disaster. I just hope the public do not fall for it.

    You just could not make this nonsense up.

  • Comment number 77.

    Can I just ask one question - will John Prescott and Gordon Brown be expected to forego and hand back their pensions? Of course not - there is no difference between the bankers and politicians all live extravagent life styles with lots of perks the rest of us can only dream of. At end of the day we foot the bill for all these people and I think Brown is using this one individual as a scapegoat to push our focus and hate onto someone else another cynical tactic from a man whose "moral compass" has long been broken!

  • Comment number 78.

    Sparklet @ 54

    That is an interesting piece by Jeff Randall on the Royal Mail.

    He does lay some of the blame on EU regs but I don't accept that as a prime reason per se for the Royal Mail problems.

    In the sense that other EU countries find ways around EU legislation that is unhelpful so, in theory, there is no reason why we English cannot do also.

    Except that we seem to have an 'enenmy within', namely bureaucrats who have nothing better to do than gold-plate EU directives, which often seems to have the effect of making businesses uncompetitive.

    In my opinion, it is probably Whitehall that is really damaging our country, not the EU.

  • Comment number 79.

    There are far too many instances of this Governments' incompetences to list here.

    Yet again we hear everybody involved in another monstrous foul up cry.. "I didn't know".

    Well,Mr Gordon Brown,the British Public has had enough of your protestations of innocence,and wants you out..forever.

    You have failed the Country in almost everything you have laid your hands on,yet you refuse to apologise to the know?..the ones that elected your Party to power.

    You are no better..indeed far worse,than all those that you now condemn for failure.

  • Comment number 80.

    I often worry that there is so much to worry about and so much incompetence and buck passing going on that the British Public (those that have woken up) will become numb and somehow Labour will wriggle out of some of this as it is truly unbelievable that they, indeed any Government, could be so inept.

    And then Precott comes on Radio 4 this morning trying to defend the indefensible and I'm reassured that while his like loudly deny any responsibility then we won't be able to forget just where a significant amount if not all of the blame lies.

    It doesn't matter that Fred's antics are small beer compared to the huge amounts in the overall bailout/whitewash, social justice requires that we cross every T and dot every I and as Tesco says, every little helps.

    That said Nick, you are right to say that this is a huge smoke screen. Indeed it is on two fronts. Not only can they pass through their latest sham unobserved, but if Fred can get away with his ludicrous pension, then maybe culpable MPs and indeed the whole inadequate parliamentary system can retain their unearned, undeserved pay rises, 'expenses' (allowances) and pensions for the last decade.

    However, the issues at work in October: Incompetence, lack of due diligence, protect the old-boy network, blame anybody but me etc; that allowed the pension issue through and will play a part in tomorrow's problems negotiated today just with far larger sums of our money. So with respect, the failings of October have a direct bearing on today, after all what's changed? The music stops, they all change positions, nobody is held accountable, they are no more qualified to do the new role than they were to mess up the old one. The whole farce continues, presumably until we do actually reach the point where the British Public can't pay any more or the the external financiers lose faith that we will one day make good.

  • Comment number 81.

    A few million to a failed banker is nothing compared with the billions this incompetent government is pouring down the drain. Criticism from John Prescott, is a case of pot calling the kettle ; righteous indignation from a man who has mercilessly milked the system for years, continues to do so and will no doubt think he deserves the unearned rewards he has taken from the taxpayer in the guise of public servant..

  • Comment number 82.

    The one thing that I pick up from Prescott's attempt at diversion is he seems to feel that the whole thing is something that isn't going to affect him.

    It is fortunate, therefore that Bliar and Brown will leave such a huge debt legacy that the Labour party will be remembered for at least a generation as the party who created their heavy taxation.

    Pretty much like Callaghan all over again

    Time to hold these charlatans to account I feel, and with more blogs like these the BBC can cut through the "language used"

  • Comment number 83.

    Let's get one thing straight; the reason the newlbour apologists have reappeared on this post today is for a good reason.

    Fred Goodwin's pension is a national scandal, granted, but t is also a smokescreen for the biggest banking losses in British history.

    This is a natioanl disgrace. RBS loses record amounts of moeny and takes 325bn of the public purse and they divert media attention wittering on abour Sir Fred's pension pot.

    Of course it's worng, of course he should give it back but get back on piste and raise thesubjet of the disgraceful misuse of public funds bailing out a useless bank.

    Call an election.

  • Comment number 84.

    A refreshing piece of political journalism here Nick. You've hit the nail on the head with your second to last paragraph and made the connection with Prescott's part in the spin.

    "The fuss over a few extra million for the former banker is distracting from the question of what exactly the country will get for the squillions that are being paid to underwrite the banks."

    It does seem Sir Fred's pension pot has been used as a smokescreen to hide this.

    Bashing the bank robbers is the latest sport whipped up in the vain hope voters will take their eye off the ball of the disastrous economic mess facing the country.

    But it back-fired as questions were asked about who knew what and when, as I indicated yesterday and again today here.

    As for John Prescott. Wasn't he that guy who famously lost his department after an affair but was allowed to keep his £133,000-a-year salary, pension and perks such as Dorneywood and his flat at Admiralty House?

    Black pots and kettles spring to mind.

  • Comment number 85.

    Is Myners serving his purpose that he is the fall guy between Brown,Darling Cooper and the rest of the highly paid treasury team who knew nothing about anything?
    Definitely yes. This whole charade of separating Government from The Banks is going round in circles. Prescott is an amusing and irrelevant sideshow.

  • Comment number 86.

    Mr Prescott is a hypocrite. Someone correct me if am wrong on this but didn't he waste tens of billions on his pet projects when he was Deputy PM.

    This is a stunt purely to take the heat off the government but i think you are right Nick, they are just trying to obscure the picture that actually it is Crash and his pitiful lot that are at the root of the problems the country is facing.

    Cameron really needs to sell us his vision for the future. At the minute, the tories are hoping to win the next election by default.

  • Comment number 87.

    Never mind the bankers, when are the politicians going to be held to account? Gordon Brown created the regulatory structure which Adair Turner and Mervyn King have now said was not fit for purpose. Mervyn King has gone further and stated that the level of Government borrowing was too high in the run up to the crisis. So Gordon Brown is evidently not fit for purpose and he must go. Call an election now!

    By the way, I heard Prescott's bluster on Today this morning - what a load of old @*&!$%!

  • Comment number 88.

    This is a classic example of a government in its death throes. It lurches from one crisis to the next, addressing problems as and when they arise, rather than dealing with things in advance.
    They pumped money into RBS via their "recapitalisation" scheme, a pre-requisite of which seemed to be the departure of Sir (knighted on the recommendation of the Golem, who hasn't yet sought to strip him of it, although that would be easily enough done and there'd be no more letters headed Sir Fred Goodwin) Fred Goodwin. Problem solved, except it wasn't. The re-capitalisation failed in its objective and crippled RBS's ability to resume normal lending. So, the terms of the agreement were amended, with preference shares changed to ordinary shares, giving the government a whopping 70% stake in RBS.
    Problem solved, except it wasn't.
    Okay, next up came the issue of bonuses and the Golem's streetwalker had to step in and curb the bonuses, in spite of his "arm's length" involvement of the bank.
    Problem solved, finally. Oh no, now Sir Fred's severence package comes around and bites the Golem on the backside. And once that's out of the way, some other matter will emerge and the Golem will once again be on the defensive searching for scapegoats.
    This matter of Sir Fred's pension is hypocrisy of the highest order from the Golem. For years and years he bowed before the banking "masters of the universe"; he danced to their tune and lavished praise on the City. He gloried in the mammoth taxes he was able to take from the City, both corporate taxes and all the taxes on those huge bonus payments that were made.
    He followed slavishly the American example. This isn't the result of Thatcher or the City's "Big Bang". As late as 2001 British banks loaned more or less what they held in deposits. It's all down to the Golem. He's the one who promised an end to "boom and bust", which has the effect of lessening the concept of risk. Why should people be prudent when the good times will roll forever.
    The Golem is right to say that this whole mess started with Greenspan and America, but he followed the American model. He copied Greenspan's policies and accepted Greenspan's world view. He ignored inflation by extracting inflationary items from the government's preferred measure. Do you remember last Summer? That would be when King at the BoE was telling everyone inflation was circa 3% when everyone else was convinced it was nearer 9-10%.
    The bankers and, in this case, Sir Fred Goodwin, all just scapegoats in this.
    And with a little quiet diplomacy this Goodwin fiasco might never have assumed the proportions it has. Just reading Goodwin's letter it is obvious that he is furious that the provisions of his pension have been made public. Perhaps, just perhaps, if instead of leaking the figures in an attempt to outrage public opinion and paint Goodwin as the devil incarnate, they'd had a quiet word, Goodwin would've come to a more acceptable agreement.
    He probably feels betrayed. We all should.
    The Golem's got to go.

  • Comment number 89.

    This comment was removed because the moderators found it broke the house rules. Explain.

  • Comment number 90.

    No 64 the Golem is just issuing empty threats in an attempt to intimidate Sir Fred Goodwin.
    Can you really see the Golem pursuing a negligence claim? Presumably the negilgence would be with regard to Sir Fred's stewardship of RBS. First witness for the defence is called: The Right Honourable Gordon Brown MP. Yes, that would be fun watching Sir Fred's brief produce chapter and verse on Gordon the Golem's tub-thumping for Sir Fred Goodwin and the praise lavished on him when he was a "master of the universe" by a servile Chancellor of the Exchequer.

  • Comment number 91.

    Its an absolute outrage

    Doesnt fred realise that the trough is for public sector staff and politicians only.

    Who does he think he is? Lord Mandleson?

  • Comment number 92.

    Maybe Labour are stoking the row over Fred Goodwin to distract us from these calculations comparing UK debt to the rest of the G7:

    ........... in fact our nations finances are totally kaput and Gordon needs to keep this row with bankers alive as long as possible until something else comes along to distract the media from Labour's dire (understatement) record in government.

  • Comment number 93.

    Nick-you have completely missed the point around th epublic mood. If Government can gets it governance wrong around Goodwin's pension pile with such an adverse financial result, then falling asleep on the governance job around the injection of squillions (as Darling has) will have an even bigger adverse result on the country as a whole.

    Ergo how can the country afford to have incompetents like Darling and Brown stewarding the economy for another 15 months ?

  • Comment number 94.

    All this has shown is that there is no difference between bankers and politicians when it comes to obfuscation. It is quite obvious that Lord M new about this man pension and the size of it. However this is the worst time for any minister to start complaining. Lest we forget the complete and utter mess of pensions made by GB, which has resulted in a lot of peoples pensions being made worthless, while MPs' pensions are now nice and fat. Instead of him or anyone in this administration talking tough about this individual, they should look closer to home, especially when they waffle on camera about public anger. It's not all aimed at this man, but also at them for the inept handling of this whole sorry affair. It beggars belief that somehow we should turn our attentions to one greedy banker( out of many I presume) and not put this sorry bunch of wannabe politicians to greater scrutiny. Why nothing on the outburst by a labour backbencher effectively calling Straw a liar? Is that to close to the bone of real politics. We are in a mess, good sir, we the public need to ask the questions to these people and as they not good at being held accountable, why don't you ask them on our behalf?
    Surely better than being a sounding board for the spin machine, don't you think?
    They have lied, spun stories and spent our money on fruitless waste, and to be honest, one banker with a huge pension really doesn't make much difference to the mess we're already in, does it?

  • Comment number 95.

    Brown is on dodgy ground asking people for their pensions back after under-performance. So is Prescott for that matter.

    Fred the shred could easily ask some very pertinent questions of his main aggressors in this little 'fat cat spat'

  • Comment number 96.

    Given the state of UK PLC, will Gordon Brown be giving up his pension?

  • Comment number 97.

    Sir Fred Goodwin's pension is a distraction to divert attention from Bank Bailout III (or is it IV)?

    This is from RBS 2007 Accounts:

    "All UK based directors, with the exception of Guy whittaker, are members of The Royal Bank of Scotland Group Pension Fund ("the RBS Fund") and are contractually entitled to receive all pension benefits in accordance with its terms. The RBS Fund rules allow all members who retire early at the request of their employer to receive a pension based on accrued service with no discount applied for early retirement."


    Anyone with an iota of knowledge of how pension schemes work (that obviously excludes Myners, Brown, Prescott and Darling!) will know that to pay a pension for longer than had been anticipated will need a top-up to the fund, to compensate for 3 factors. In simplistic terms:

    1) Pension to be paid for 10 years longer than anticipated.

    2) 10 years less investment growth.

    3) 10 years less contributions.

    Obviously the actuarial assessment of the one-off cost of these three factors came to the GBP8million figure touted around.

    It was his entitlement by right. If Myners could not figures this out, then he is an oaf! What did he do during his time at N M Rothschild, Gartmore, Bank of New York, Coutts and NatWest?

  • Comment number 98.

    Oh dear, my post at #68, along with #69 and #70 have been Strongheld*.

    *Neologism for jumping the moderation queue.

  • Comment number 99.

    So it would seem that this government is both utterly hypocritical and totally incompetent.

    Did they not bother with 'due diligence' before they squandered taxpayer's sqillions.

    Far better to have allowed the 'bad' banks to fail and invested in the 'good' well run banks.

    For the taxpayer to be funding the pension of a man that has allowed the organization he ran to make such colossal losses is obscene.

    And just as obscene for the taxpayer to be funding the salaries and pensions of a government guilty of such monumental mismanagement.

    They should be sacked.

    Time for an election now.

  • Comment number 100.

    I don't blame Fred for taking the big pile of dosh and spending the rest of his days in blissful retirement. Who wouldn't? It's the fault of the government for not looking at the small print when throwing billions of pounds of taxpayer's money around.

    Remember how Cameron and Cable kept asking about bonuses and would they be paid at the time when Gordon "saved the world" yet didn't get an answer?

    Well know we know the reason why Gordon didn't answer. He didn't know.


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