Roundup for 1 March 2009 edited by EwanWatt
How things change.
One day you are being praised for having a unique understanding of business, the next you are responsible for a collapsed banking system, when all this time you had been squandering the assets of a once proud institution. As if you couldn’t earn enough disdain from the general public, you also get to keep a lucrative pension despite your plethora of failures.
Yes, Mr Brown, you have a lot to answer for.
But this week it was revealed that Sir Fred ‘The Shred’ Goodwin would also be reaping the rewards for similar failures – an annual pension of £650,000. Although the former chief executive of RBS is likely to be safe from the group carrying pitch forks and torches outside Chateau de Shred, it has been been pointed out by some politicians – somewhat ominously – that this should net spring chicken Sir Fred around £16m over his lifetime, twice as much as he would have been entitled to had RBS gone bankrupt. Not too unsurprisingly the Prime Minister has threatened legal action to “claw back” whatever Sir Fred found at the end of the rainbow. Be warned. Mr Brown knows a thing or two about “clawing back” pensions.
SNP Tactical Voting noted that the news was “detracting from the overall concern of how to safeguard jobs, stabilise the UK economy and get RBS back on its feet” before calling on people to “keep things in perspective… the pension is £650k and the insurance plan is £325bn.” Bill Cameron guffawed at Harriet Harman’s vacuous claim on the Andrew Marr Show that Sir Fred “should not count on” keeping his pension because “we rule in the court of public opinion.” Rule of law? Courts? Pah! Ideas of Civilisation merely highlighted the, er, “shock” at the news that Sir Fred wouldn’t be giving up his pension. In addition Stumbling and Mumbling claims that Sir Fred’s pension is another “failure of New Labour ideology”. Yours truly found himself in the slightly unenviable position of being on Sir Fred’s side. Guido thought it was a little too convenient that the details of Sir Fred’s pension should be leaked on the same day the government took a £300bn punt on RBS. What next? Lord Fred of Shredshire in the cabinet?
Meanwhile, Iain Dale and the Devil were involved in a mini fracas over the matter with the former later admitting to allowing his “heart to overcome his head.” Aye We Can, who went to school with Sir Fred, wonders whether he will have a Profumo-style revelation and “use a personal disaster to tun his life around, serving the poor rather than living off the backs of them.”
Scottish robber barons… They just don’t make them like they used to.
In other news, Cllr Fraser Macpherson referred to a couple of “climbdowns” by the SNP, notably plans for an independence referendum over a lack of support. Interestingly only this week Angus MacNeil MP was highlighting that support for Scottish independence was “rising.” Stephen’s Linlithgow Journal, SNP Tactical Voting and Two Doctors had excellent blogs on the questions that continue to surround constitutional issues, with the latter looking at how the Liberal Democrats could shape them. Perhaps my other favourite from this week was Lallands Peat Worrier who was calling for a Scottish Criminal Code.
Again, returning to the SNP, Bernie Salmon “does the math” that the First Minister appears to have failed to do, whilst Scottish Unionist cringes at the latest NatConspiracy. SNP Tactical Voting discusses how the SNP have to convince people to vote for them at Westminster when, after all, they can’t form a government.
Another story that seized the headlines was the news of Ivan Cameron’s tragic death. A number of bloggers questioned the decision to replace Prime Minister’s Question Time with a number of tributes, although personally, after watching the packed House at 12 on Wednesday, it became pretty clear that very few MPs were “up for” business as usual. Subrosa expressed her condolences to the Cameron family before referring to the four brave sons who died in Afghanistan.
Turning to Northern Ireland now, North to Leith noted the creation of the new Conservative-UUP ticket: Ulster Conservative and Unions – New Force. Like many of us I’m sure, North to Leith questions whether it was a savvy PR move to have another ‘Force’ in Northern Irish politics.
From PR to retail politics, Kezia questions the nay sayers (are you listening Mr Bruni?) by pointing out that Labour’s VAT cut has actually helped stimulate retail sales by putting £12.4bn “back into the pockets of all tax payers.” And here was me thinking the surprise rise was down to competition, falling prices, and closing down sales. Kezia also reported on the crazy story surrounding BBC Children’s presenter Cerrie Burnell, who has apparently drawn the ire of many parents who claim that she is “scaring their children” because she only has one fully functioning lower arm and hand. Kezia criticises the BBC for giving so much air time to the complainants, a point I hope we can all agree with.
Finally, another favourite was Malc in the Burgh’s blog about the banana republic that’s struggling with the ground work for a new tram system. Sorry, what’s that…? A Place To Stand criticises the MSM for failing to provide enough scrutiny and expertise for a project that appears to be slowly descending into a farce.
Mr Eugenides, er, laments that appointment of Henry McLeish to act as Chairman of the SFA’s Scottish Football Review Committee. Sticking with fitba’ J. Arthur MacNumpty floats a few of his bright ideas “to take Scottish football forward.” Not one of the recommendations includes a role for Mr McLeish. Just keep Alex Miller and Steve Paterson away.
Meanwhile, Tom Harris refers to Jack Straw’s statement earlier this week adding that civil liberties “are safe with Labour”. Mr Eugenides is not so sure and has a bone to pick with the Justice Secretary.
That’s that folks. I leave you in the tender care of Will Patterson. Blog suggestions are welcome – I’m sure he’ll do a great job of keeping any details/suggestions private. So… get those nominations in by emailing us at email@example.com or by using the form on the right.
Anyhoo, I’m off to call the White House and tell President Obama to stop staring at that ping pong match whenever he makes a speech…