Sir Fred no longer


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Arise plain old Fred Goodwin. Sir Fred no longer.

The man who sank a bank - the former chief executive of the Royal Bank of Scotland - has been stripped of his knighthood.

It was - formally at least - the Queen who honoured Fred Goodwin in 2004 for services to banking and it was Her Majesty who today decided to dis-honour him.

She, as ever, was acting on the advice of her prime minister who was acting on the recommendation of a shadowy Whitehall committee - the so-called forfeiture committee - chaired by the Head of the Civil Service.

The decisions first to give him a knighthood and then to remove it were, primarily, political decisions.

Tony Blair honoured a man who had built the Royal Bank of Scotland into one of the world's largest banks - with a balance sheet bigger even than the British economy. When RBS crashed, it cost tens of billions of taxpayers' money to stop it collapsing altogether.

David Cameron has been desperate for a symbol that the bankers have paid a price for the economic havoc they have wreaked.

Few are likely to publicly sympathise with Mr Fred Goodwin. They may note though that, unlike others who have had their honours removed, Fred Goodwin has neither been convicted nor charged with any crime.

Some may wonder why the man who was the chief executive of RBS cannot remain a knight when the man who was chairman of RBS or the chairman of HBOS can.

They will surely notice that this announcement comes in the middle of a predictable row about what those still in banking still earn.

What bankers will surely notice and some other senior businessmen too is that politicians who queued up to be their friends have now turned on them with the press and the public cheering them on.

Nick Robinson Article written by Nick Robinson Nick Robinson Political editor

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  • rate this

    Comment number 131.

    Remember when Nick Leeson lost his liberty for loosing his company £827million, the going rate for losing £24.1 BILLION, is lots and lots and lots of money, maybe you were in the wrong golf club Mr Leeson.

  • rate this

    Comment number 130.

    The F.S.A. in my view should share some responsibility in the downfall of the RBS, Northern Rock, HBOS etc. They were clearly not up to the job of policing these banks,not fit for purpose some could say. The REAL LOSERS are the thousands of SMALL shareholders who lost their money, thousands of people also lost their jobs(still ongoing) and the taxpayer had to fork out BILLIONS of pounds.

  • rate this

    Comment number 129.

    He officially retired yes, retired, not fired, with an annual pension pot of £342.500. He also got a lump sum of £2.8m in which the RBS paid the tax and was also was paid a £2.6m bonus in his last year with the charity, sorry, bank. Not to forget that his annual basic salary was around £1.2m per year, I doubt very, very much that he will lose any sleep over the loss of his Knighthood.

  • rate this

    Comment number 128.

    It seems that people are now blaming Fred for the economic melt down. He has not committed an evil act just annoyed someone high up. he has made mistakes, big mistakes, but so have a lot of other people that have kept their honors. It just seems unbalanced.

  • rate this

    Comment number 127.

    Gilbert and Sullivan would have been delighted to use the 'Sir Fred' saga as the basis for one of their light operas! When are we ever going to grow up and ditch the whole nonsense of the Honours system ?


Comments 5 of 131



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