In any case, there is the question of the market rate. This newspaper revealed last year that 90 executives sacked from British companies in the previous 18 months had received golden handshakes averaging almost pounds 500,000. Last week the travel company, Owners Abroad, paid pounds 1.5m compensation to three directors who quit after last summer's profit warning slashed its share price. So Mr Cahill has merely been paid six times the going rate.
The Prime Minister was asked in the House how Mr Cahill's pay-off could be justified. Mr Major replied: 'It is not a matter for me.' Of course not. This is just the market at work. Kipling enjoined us to treat those two imposters, triumph and disaster, just the same. We should rejoice that, in Britain today, we can do exactly that. Well, chairmen, chief executives and directors can, anyway. The average redundant worker would be lucky to get a few thousand. After Mr Major made his reply, somebody shouted 'You pillock]', but they were clearly being nave, too.
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