Very few people have sympathy with former RBS boss Sir Fred Goodwin. He brought RBS to the brink of disaster yet managed to walk off with a substantial pension, though all of the £ 693,000 annual payment was not derived from RBS.
But this morning I heard what only could be described as a rant from former Deputy Prime Minister John Prescott on the Today programme.
What is now absolutely clear is that Gordon Brown's bluster about using all legal means to recover the RBS proportion of Goodwin's pension contribution is nonsense; HMG haven't a legal leg to stand on.
The mistake here rests entirely on the shoulders of Lord Myners who appeared to have failed to look at the pension provisions of the company. Bearing in mind the Treasury is stuffed to the gunwhales with lawyers, this amounts to gross negligence. Heads must roll.
Anyway, back to "two Jags" Prescott. He just lost it. He acknowledges that the legal route is blocked, but suggested that RBS should be instructed to stop the appropriate portion of Goodwin's pension. Then inviting Sir Fred to sue.
Firstly, it is unlikely the RBS board would engage in such an unlawful act.But more importantly, Goodwin would certainly sue the company and would succeed in the litigation.
I wonder who suggested this clown for the 8:10 Today spot. It was just too embarrassing for words.
When he was sacked as Deputy PM, for generally being an embarrassing incompetent, he kept hold of his pension perks - including additional pension contributions from taxpayers even though he wasn't working for them. Blair even let him keep two grace-and-favour homes, while stripping him of his departmental responsibilities. At the time opposition politicians railed at Prezza's "rewards for failure".
What has astounded me more than anything about the self serving nonsense that passed for the Speakers' statement in the Commons yesterday, was just how ignorant many of LEGISLATORS are in matters of their own privileges and the legislation they themselves have passed. To begin with, members and commentators still spout nonsense about MPs privileges. Some still seem to believe that the Palace of Westminster is off limits to lawful police searches. Some believe that MPs should be dealt with differently from others suspected of serious criminal offences. I suspect the Home office mole, Galley, was arrested, his property searched and never saw a plate of digestives and a cup of Earl Grey, before he was bailed. When I listened to the Tory shouting match yesterday, especially from their front bench, that quote from Hamlet came to mind
"The lady doth protest too much methinks.."
And then we have Speaker Martin mumbling on about how the police gained access to Damian Green's office without a warrant. As if it was unlawful. Did he not realise the Sergeant at Arms authorised the search and seizure. Did she not read, what I suspect was, the standard police form of consent to entry.
And what was even more amusing was watching this barrack room lawyer, Andrew Mackay demonstrating his complete ignorance when plod sought entry into Green's office. It seems he neither challenged the right of the police to enter and seize items from Green's office. He certainly never requested they produce a warrant! So there we have it. A senior advisor to the boy Cameron, the Speaker of the House of Commons and one of the most important officials in the Palace of Westminster, the Sergeant at Arms, Jill Pay, seeming to know very little about the rights and privileges of MPs. And many MPs themselves seem to know even less about their own rights and the legislation they pass.
As usual Vernon Bogdanor in today's Guardian in less than five hundred words is right on the money.
This morning, I was watching BBC News24. The presenter was Susanna Reid. I know she's shacked up with another bright young BBC presenter Mr D. Cotton, but what on earth was she thinking about when interviewing a spokesman, I think, for the Falmouth Coastguard. He was describing the rescue of an injured captain from a cargo ship somewhere near the Scilly Isles. Yes, the spokesman confirmed, the helicopter has the injured man and some of his friends on board and they are on the way to hospital. Then the gormless Reid came out with this pearler. "Was he winched up?" Surely they asked to poor bugger to swim ashore.
I've got verging on next to no interest in soccer. But the shenanigans at Newcastle United over the last few months have provided, even me, with entertainment- and that's nothing to do with what the team serves up on the pitch.
Eight months ago, Sam Allardyce, who resembles a heavyweight boxer, was appointed manager. Allerdyce appeared as star of the Panorama investigation " Football's dirty Secrets" broadcast on September 6th 2006. During that programme three player's agents accused Allerdyce of "corruption". One agent, Peter Harrison, was secretly filmed saying-
"If I say, 'Listen Sam, I'll give Craig some money'... he'll say, 'Yeah, OK, we'll do a deal'."
Craig is Allardyce's son. When he was subsequently interviewed, Allardyce senior denied receiving any illegal payments. But Panorama made no such allegation. They suggested that it was his son into whose wallet the cash ended up. The cash involved were illegal payments to secure transfer deals....bungs! Allardyce snorted that he was going to sue the BBC, but he has not done so. His childish reaction was to refuse to be interviewed by the Beeb's reporters after matches in which his teams, Bolton and subsequently Newcastle, were involved.
Joey "The Animal" Barton
By May 2007, Allardyce had signed a three year deal to manage Newcastle who had to pay a substantial sum to Allardyce's former club, Bolton, to buy out the remainder of his contract.
One of his first signings was Manchester City's, Joey "The Animal" Barton.
When Barton packed his bags and left Manchester, he was on bail for assaulting his colleague, Osmane Dado, on the training field. He has subsequently been charged and is awaiting trial for that offence.
Whilst on bail for the Dado assault, he was involved in a serious affray in Liverpool. On 27 December, he was arrested, charged and refused bail. Barton spent this Christmas in jail.
Then, last week, Allardyce left Newcastle with six million quid in his pocket- the amount needed to compensate him for the remaining 29 months of his three year contract.
And yesterday I read that the odds on favourite to replace Mr "Bung" is none other than Harry Redknapp. He was also named in the Panorama programme and is on police bail facing allegations of conspiracy to defraud and false accounting.......You couldn't make it up....!
I've almost felt sorry for David Cameron in the last week or so. A few days topping up his tan in Rwanda; embarrassed by Redwood taking over his tax cutting agenda then yesterday, his back room boys managed to pick a few wrong ones from a huge list of threatened A&E and maternity units. Last night, he probably drew breath- problems surely come in threes. Well I'm afraid not David. Today he was up in Lancashire rabitting on about "yoof" crime. And once again his researchers have let him down. In the tough on crime part of his speech at Darwen, he said that magistrates should be able to jail criminals "for up to a year." In the context of his subject, Youth Crime, somebody ought to have whispered in his ear- David they already can. Have they not heard of a 24 month Detention and Training Order? A sentence that can be handed down any young person between 12 and 17. The offender spends 12 months in custody and the other year under supervision in the community. I once thought the Tories were a shoe-in at the next general election. Not if they go on like this.
Hat tip to my old chum Joel Shearer from Austin TX , for pointing this in my direction. The 2008 Republican presidential candidates were asked during a debate if any of them believed in evolution. Remarkably THREE,Brownback, Tancredo and Huckabee: one senator, one
member of the House, and one governor put their hands up, even McCain seemed to hesitate. There's the short clip here either Quick Time or WMA or the whole 9 minute piece on You Tube here.
Which century are these morons from, or as Joel commented, "why am I not amused?"