A short diversion from watching what could be either a gentle pas de deux as Mugabe exits Zimbabwe, or something rather bloodier, I was pleased to read that Northern Rock intend to repay me (as a taxpayer).
I was less pleased to learn that they plan to reward Adam Applegarth for having led them into this fix by paying him £785,000. And they trot out the same hoary old excuse - they're legally obliged to, because it's in his contract. Why is it in his contract??? Because they put it there in the first place.
I'd dearly love to be at the meeting where NR or any one of the dozens of other companies is appointing somebody.
Interviewer: "So, we'd love to have you aboard then".
Interviewee; "Usual terms then?"
Interviewer: "Oh yes, of course. Got the rubber stamp here somewhere. "We guarantee to pay you an outrageous sum of money when you leave, even if it's because you've completely screwed the company, and even the taxpayer." Doesn't bother me. I'm on the same terms. Ha ha."
Interviewee: "Ha ha. Ha ha ha. Ha ha ha ha." All the way to the bank.
Applegarth doesn't even need it. He has already been richly rewarded for running Northern Rock. So I assume he's got some money put by - enough for a bit of champagne and caviar for a while. If he's so incompetent that he hasn't, then why on earth was he put in charge of Northern Rock? So why does he need a whacking great pay off for failure, on top of his whacking great salary?
Anybody with any sense of shame would have refused it, particularly when they knew that their actions were going to cause a lot of other people to lose their jobs, and be paid off with a lot less for not failing. But I don't expect Mr Applegarth has any shame at all.