Denis: Even the rich failures are getting richer
Feb 27 2009 By Denis Kilcommons
"Of course you will, lad. And a villa in Bermuda."
I socialise with working men who are worried for their jobs in the recession. Whose employers have told them there is no money for pay rises. Who are expecting the next suggestion to be a pay cut to keep going.
These are ordinary blokes with a Northern work ethic. What message does Sir Fred’s pension give to them?
The Treasury, of course, has said it is looking to see if there is any way it can claw back some or all of the pension entitlement but a financial source has said, "In reality the pension has been agreed, is in payment and there is very little the Government is likely to be able to do from a legal standpoint."
The Treasury has also said that with RBS it will "review all aspects of Sir Fred’s tenure in office with a view to testing to the full any potential for legal redress".
But don’t hold your breath.
Don’t forget that scandal continues to dog both houses at the Palace of Westminster, with Lords accused of selling favours, MPs criticised for their expenses and the Home Secretary being investigated for possibly manipulating "second home" allowances.
"We are committed to cleaning up the banking system," says the Treasury. They might also consider cleaning up Westminster, while they are at it.
People in the real world are not stupid. They can see the poor are getting poorer while the privileged few are unaffected and don’t seem to care. Percy Bysshe Shelley had more choice words on the subject of establishment complacency.
After the Peterloo Massacre, he urged action from the common man: Rise like lions after slumber, in unvanquishable number. Ye are many, they are few.
Not that I am urging revolution. But politicians should think about that, come the next general election.