Now that the disgraced former head of RBS has had his knighthood removed, claims are surfacing that he was unfairly targeted.
Among those speaking out are Alistair Darling, Lord Digby Jones, Sir Jackie Stewart, Simon Walker the director general of the IoD, Labour MP John Mann and Tory MP Mark Field.
The thrust of the argument appears to be that Fred Goodwin was singled out for this ‘punishment’ as a sort of appeasement to public opinion. And further that it would bring the honours system itself into disrepute.
Actually, it may help throw light on the whole system and help to get it reformed.
Alistair Darling wrote in the Times "There is something tawdry about the government directing its fire at Fred Goodwin alone; if it's right to annul his knighthood, what about the honours of others who were involved in RBS and HBOS?"
I think the public would agree and is expecting further stripping of honours. Let’s get on with it they would cry!
As Sir Jackie Stewart, a friend of Fred Goodwin’s, said “No single person or even any single bank created the biggest financial recession in modern times." For my money that’s right, let’s go after the others too.
Simon Walker of the IoD said that it risked starting ‘anti-business hysteria’ and ‘politicising the whole honours system’. What? You mean it isn’t politicised already from the top down?
Labour MP John Mann said that politicians will be accused of hypocrisy if they do not now clear out their own stables in the Palace of Westminster. He’s right! Let’s get cleaning out then!
Let’s have a few more forfeitures then perhaps the powers that be would be more wary about who they gave them to and why as well as concentrating a few minds.
It would also help to remove the whiff (or is it stench?) of cronyism from the system and we may well end up with a better honours system as a result.