The picture is 'The Scapegoat' by William Holman Hunt
The media and political class are currently engaged in personalising the banking crisis. They are doing this by making a pantomime villain of Fred 'the Shred' Goodwin. Mr Goodwin ran a failed bank. Before it failed, though it was rescued by billions in government money, Mr Goodwin negotiated a retirement deal. This was legal. In it, he asked for and received a future remuneration of £650 000 per year as a pension, which was to be achieved with the aid of a pension fund amounting to some £16 million.
Outrage is now being stoked. Members of Parliament have not suggested, pace Thomas Hobbes (or local government in this country) that they, who voted for irresponsible budgets, should lose their pensions or pay for the budget shortfall personally.
The Prime Minister, who was Chancellor for ten years, seems to have no intention of giving up his pension. The people who enthusiastically support the spending of hundreds of billions on banks--which guarantees inflation in the future or spending cuts or both, and which raises Britain's debt levels above those of Italy--do not propose to take one penny less.
The BBC, which is sponsoring journalists and commentators who wish to rip up Fred Goodwin's contract hides behind contractual and commercial confidentiality when anyone asks what the pensions of their entertainers, media stars, or executives are.
Britain is in the grip of a growing, aggressive, vicious and irrational mob culture. My advice to Mr Goodwin is, now he's filled his boots, not to try and argue with these people. He should instead go and spend his retirement in some decent country (if he can find one that has not been poisoned by its association with anglo-american financial methods). Meanwhile, a government elected by 21.6 per cent of the voters that is currently spending half their output, and many hundreds of per cent of their and their children's future, should look beyond scapegoats and to itself for the failings of the bankrupt political and media class.
We stand in a dying political order; the whole thing reminds me of the session of the scourging more than anything else, and its going to get worse because the economy has a long way down to go. May God have mercy on us all.