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 5.

    Goodwin may not have been convicted of any crime but he has done far more damage to the UK than most who have.

    He has been stripped of his knighthood not for being bad at his job but for being outrageously reckless with other people's cash and condemning thousands to poverty.

  • rate this

    Comment number 3.

    Nick,how about anyone in the current Shadow Cabinet who was involved in any way in the previous 13yrs of Labour now getting the boot?At least not allowed to hold a Shadow Cabinet role.Afterall,Labour were as bad as the bankers,spending money we hadn't got.

  • rate this

    Comment number 55.

    If Goodwin is to be 'punished' because of his recklessness with other people's money what should done about those who removed the regulations and allowed him free reign? If you go after Goodwin you should equally well go after the previous Labour cabinet - like Goodwin they didn't do anything illegal but they equallly blew away billions and condemned thousands to poverty!

  • rate this

    Comment number 40.

    It's good as a symbol that Fred Goodwin has lost his K and it will buy DC some credibility for a few days.

    But, my question is: What measures have been taken against the relevant people at the FSA and the treasury, who allowed lots of Fred Goodwins to get away with so much? The near-melt of the banking sector was down to a lot more than just RBS: Taking away Fred's K should only be the start.

  • rate this

    Comment number 15.

    Labour needs a committee of regret, mea culpa and contrition so that it can emerge as a party no longer worshipping finance, the press and despotic leaders. Above it needs to pull the life support line on the dying body of New Labour.


Comments 5 of 131



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