Thursday, February 02, 2012

Fred Goodwin

Whenever there's a political or economic scandal, there's a game I quite like to play called "spot the scapegoat". In general, I've found that the powers-that-be will try really hard to identify a single individual, make them the villain of the piece, shift all of the public's anger onto that one person, and then try to "draw a line under the issue".

With the scandal over MPs expenses, the nominated scapegoat was Jacqui Smith. Because she was already very unpopular, and because her offenses made for a good story, she was thrown to the wolves. And fair enough - I'm not suggesting for a moment that she didn't do wrong. But was she really any worse than any other MP? And yet, can you name any other MP that was named and shamed as a result of this? The guy with the moat? The three MPs who were actually charged?

With the banking crisis, the nominated scapegoat is Fred Goodwin. Again, I'm not in any way defending his actions, or suggesting he should not have been stripped of his knighthood. But when the media is busy reporting on this shocking (and, frankly, irrelevant) event, and when we have another round of "why did he keep his pension" over the next few weeks, I have to ask: what are they using that media storm to conceal?

No comments: