We all know what happened. In the eye of the crisis last October when the banking system was being swept towards an abyss, a morally bankrupt RBS board pulled a fast one when they knew the government wouldn't be looking. They thought Goodwin was been sacrificed to satisfy the government as it poured public money into their ailing company and so did everything they could to feather his nest. The decisions they made were deliberate, calculating and cynical. You cannot blame the government - in particular Lord Myners - for not noticing this at the time. Can you imagine the outrage if government ministers had become so distracted by arguing with the RBS board over Goodwin's pension that RBS or another bank had gone under. Re-arranging deckchairs on the Titanic would have been an under-statement of how that would have looked.
The real anger shouldn't be aimed at the government but at a board who acted so cynically, sadly showing what Barclays has just proved yet again with its gagging of The Guardian - that bankers simply do not understand how they are perceived by the rest of us. What is needed to steer us out of this crisis is a real partnership between government, regulators (here and elsewhere but especially the European Union) and financial institutions. Clearly, too many of the latter are still not working to the same agenda as everyone else. That is the real issue now.
There is no coherent argument that can be offered for defending Sir Fred Goodwin's pension and it was disappointing to see yesterday's hearings of the Treasury Select Committee largely wasted in pursuing the City minister Lord (Paul) Myners over the Goodwin pension.