The Sketch: This scandal will make revolutionaries of us all

Simon Carr@SimonSketch
Wednesday 18 March 2009 01:00

The most important fact to come out of Lord Myners' testimony was that all charges, accusations, suggestions and imputations against Lord Myners had absolutely no merit. He had done nothing that he wouldn't do again.

"Nothing he wouldn't do again", ladies and gentlemen of the jury.

He'd supervised Sir Fred's golden goodbye because no one dared fire him; he hadn't asked how much the pension was going to be; he hadn't done any due diligence because there hadn't been time, and he hadn't taken a civil servant along with him to record crucial meetings.

So what about the lesson-learning thing that politicians do all the time? "It's all bollocks!" the noble lord said, in his own way. "Total balls!" He did it his way. And when the time comes again, he'll do it again.

There is some merit to the apology seeking that politicians do. It's the first step towards "not doing it again". He'll get off, a bit, because he threw behind him some bloody lumps of meat to detain the beasts. Sir Fred was "deemed to have joined the bank at the age of 20 not 40". He was allowed to pick his highest earning year in a decade to base the pension on. And the taxpayer paid the tax on his recent £3m payout. It's why we're called taxpayers. I advise you not to think about it too much, unless you have a taste for revolutionary politics. It's a red mist that descends, not a blue one.

But there were pleasures and treasures to console us. The moment when Lord M said of his former colleagues "these are distinguished people" will be anthologised, surely. He also told us that a bank director had said they were considering disclosing the pension over a couple of years – to diffuse criticism. Ah, yes that's how they do it. We had a phrase to rank with Hillary Clinton's "misspeaking". Referring to what looks like a semi-criminal conspiracy to beef up Fred's pension in contravention of the "no reward for failure" principle, Lord M said: "The board was misdirecting itself."

And finally, the fabulous pot depended on whether Sir Fred had been "requested" or "required" to leave. It's an £11m distinction. So which was it? Lord M admitted he had been requested to leave. But it was a request he could not have refused, so it was a requirement.

This is the legacy of Tony Blair.

Strong questioning from Michael Fallon; the melancholy Andre Tyrie speared the witness; George Mudie chastised him; John Mann berated him. A clear win for the committee, and nearly worth £250bn to watch.

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