Fred the Shred has lost his “Sir” as in “Please Sir can I have some more” asked by one of his minions when referring to his expected bonus. Fred would have said, “ Take a run and jump” which is the very, very, very clean version. Fred didn’t take prisoners. He’d taken over quite a bit of Edinburgh and he’d also taken over a large piece of Gogar for his World Headquarters just on the out-skirts of Edinburgh. To that he also added a huge chunk of the multi-storey car park at Edinburgh Airport. That really ticked me off. The lower level was almost all set aside for RBofS staff. The spaces were painted in a fetching blue probably the Banks official colour. They didn’t have to walk far when they flew back into Edinburgh with jet lag and still wearing yesterday’s clothes.
He didn’t always get things all his own way. An adjoining property to his Gogar Headquarters was a local gold club. Fred thought this was ideal. All he needed to do was offer the members a large bung and hey ho it was his. He’d be able to have a game of golf with his chums and clients in complete privacy. The members wouldn’t sell. They just wouldn’t. That really ticked him off.
Loosing his knighthood is neither here nor there. What is more serious is that the great and the good, the hangers on and the politicians mates and of course the establishment took a decision to do it. There are people with Knighthoods who have done worse, much, much worse. Some have had temporary address changes due them being banged up in the pokey. Some took significant funds in the form of expenses and then were maybe less than truthful when accosted by the Polis.
No. Fred was made an example of. Why? Because the press, the government and the establishment set him up as the fall guy for the banking crisis. It was his fault. He did it, the biggest loss in UK corporate history? His entire fault, you fly high, and Fred certainly flew very high indeed, it’s a long way down.
It deflects the truth. The banking crisis was down to two types of people, politicians and you and me, the voters. The politicians dreamed up the scam and reduced significantly the controls placed on banks and we allowed it to happen. No excuses now, we allowed it to happen.
Fred? He did the same as every other bank of any significant size. He squeezed as much money out of the system as he could and then he grew the bank into a world-class organisation. This didn’t happen overnight though. Oh no it took quite a few years during which the shareholders, yes those same people who were whining on TV about how much they’d lost when things went Boom! They’d made loads of money in the previous years.
Fred annoyed the British establishment. He grew the bank way beyond the size of every other bank in the UK. The ABN Amro Bank was bad timing to say the least. Like you buying a house with a fixed high rate of interest mortgage and at the highest price ever for that type of property shortly before interest rates dropped and the bottom fell out of the property market. Negative equity. Big, big, big time negative equity. Over simplification, sure and to be fair Fred made mistakes but don’t we all. Hindsight is a wonderful thing.
We should be asking questions of the previous Labour Government and the opposition parties at the time. Why did no one take the banks to task? The politicians were aware of the American strategy to offer mortgages to huge numbers of people who might not be able to afford them and they must have know this would lead to a property crash at the very least.
The establishment are having a field day at the moment. Ask Rupert Murdoch who has been on the receiving end of a lot of it. The EU stuff is such a blast for them and they have the growing prospect of the Olympics to strut their stuff, at a distance obviously, whilst complaining about the number of oiks everywhere and being swept along in the VIP traffic lane. Then there’s the Scottish Independence fun as well. It’ll never happen, and there’s fun to be had whilst the process persists. Their bank accounts swell directly in proportion to the shrinking amount of money the oiks have. It is such an unfair world when you’re on the outside; but it is character building for the proles don’t you know. No more of that rioting nonsense though. Not that it affects them at all, it’s just it is bad press and bad for business. Short few a few bob? Stick some of those windmill things on your estate; it’s the same as printing your own money.
Loosing the knighthood won’t be the end of Fall guy Fred’s problems. There is still his pension and probably other assets to be considered. He may also find it difficult to move in some of the circles he used to. He is the archetypal pariah at the moment. Slink away Fred, if you can.
Is there a Fred-escape? Not as things stand. Perhaps, come Scottish Independence, he’ll have an easier berth. He may even find useful employment in the banking sector. He’ll be free of the FSA also. How can it be that a useless organisation such as the FSA who were responsible for banking controls and did less than zero, are criticising Fred? They should be taken to task but only if it serves a purpose for the Establishment.