Blogging from the Highlands of Scotland
'From fanaticism to barbarism is only one step' - Diderot

Sunday 1 March 2009

Harman on justice

Now there's an oxymoron if ever there was one! Here's roughly what Harriet Harman MP had to say about Sir Fred 'The Shred' Goodwin's pension arrangements on the Andrew Marr Show just now:

The courts may rule one way, but we "rule in the court of public opinion. If Sir Fred Goodwin is counting on receiving this GBP650,000- a year, then he shouldn't, because we will not allow it to stand. The Prime Minister has said it is unacceptable and therefore will not be accepted."

When pressed by Andrew Marr to clarify how a legal judgement in his favour could be overturned, she would not reveal what 'plans' the government has, but simply repeated it 'would not be allowed to stand'. Marr asked if it might require special legislation to be rushed through Parliament, but again she would not provide any clarification.

This is the kind of country that Britain now is, where a government thinks it can ride roughshod over individual rights, however odious (in some people's view) exercise of these rights may be. Of course, it may all be 'bluster', puff and wind, to try and divert attention from the calamitous situation that Harriet Harman's government has, by its meddling with the financial regulatory environment [Thanks, Gordon!] got us into, but I hope this spin won't fool too many people, other than those who depend on Labour for their continuing cushy jobs in government.

The whole point about a justice system worth the name is that it administers rules, set by Parliament, which apply to everyone - the nice and the not so nice. That's why we don't garrotte rapists and child molesters, for example, even if I imagine that many people would not moan overmuch if that fate was to befall them. Harman's naked appeal to the 'law of the pack' to whip up hatred for one individual is just one more odious example of the dreadful erosion of public morals and responsibility that Labour have led Britain into.

I have no special brief for Sir Fred Goodwin, by the way. I imagine his pension arrangements are governed by general employment law, plus whatever special contract he may have neogiated with his employer, RBS, when he took on his most recent role there, the arrangements no doubt being approved at Board level. I agree that many such special employment contracts over recent years, when one has got to know about them, have struck me as quite absurdly generous and, more crucially, one-sided - but retroactive legislation is not the way to go if we ever want to restore credibility to our corporate and regulatory systems.

PS/ Of course Harriet Harman denied, vehemently, that there is any truth in the rumours she is trying to supplant Brown as Labour leader. I leave readers to make their own judgement as to how credible her denials might be.

1 comment:

  1. Bill,
    Your comment "The whole point about a justice system worth the name is that it administers rules, set by Parliament, which apply to everyone - the nice and the not so nice"
    has got me thinking...
    What happens when the rules that apply to everyone are ignored by those they apply to?
    I am a disgruntled 'customer' of Huma (at ACC) and I do have an axe to grind and I do intend to grind it and it appears they are ignoring the rule of law by ignoring court orders to repay money.
    SO let's cast Sir Fred in Huma's shoes for a moment - he is legislated against and then ignores court orders to repay. What happens then?

    I'm hoping for some answers to inspire my next move in my attempts to recoup Subiela's pension


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