Public anger at banking excess seems to be boiling over into direct action and mob rule. Following the
public hanging of a banking effigy at a rally in Marble Arch and the
bus tours of AIG executive mansions organised by US activist groups, the latest person in the firing line is former RBS boss Sir Fred Goodwin.
Police in Scotland are calling for witnesses to an act of vandalism at Goodwin's Edinburgh home, in which downstairs windows were smashed and a £100,000 Mercedes parked in the drive was damaged.
The perpetrators sent two e-mails to the offices of the Edinburgh Evening News claiming responsibility for the attacks. Sent from an e-mail account called email@example.com, one said: "We are angry that rich people, like him, are paying themselves
a huge amount of money, and living in luxury, while ordinary people are made unemployed, destitute, and homeless.
"This is a crime. Bank bosses should be jailed. This is just the beginning".
The attacks follow lurid tales of extravagant C-suite expenditure at RBS during Goodwin's tenure, belieing Sir Fred's reputation as a savage cost-cutter. An RBS "insider" told
the Times how Goodwin had his office lobby redecorated using wallpaper that cost £1000 per roll and had fruit flown in from Paris every day. The whistleblower also alleged that Goodwin spent £5.3 million lavishly refurbishing a Grade A listed building -
dubbed Sir Fred's Pleasure Dome by staff - that was hardly used.
Goodwin is lying low - reputedly in Spain, a favourite haunt of old-fashioned East End bank robbers - but even he must be shaken by this latest expession of public outrage. He has yet to make any public statement in defence of his record at RBS, preferring
instead to speak through "friends" to the media. This, I think, is polite code for Phil Hall, the former editor of the red-top News of the World, who has been hired as Sir Fred's personal rotweiller and media corner man.
You've got to give Sir Fred top marks for tenacity, but wouldn't it be easier to show some humility and just say sorry?