The whole business of the pension requirements of Bank CEO’s rumble on. When is a contract not a contract? And who approved it? Is this ‘the price of doing business?’ Anyway, before there is too much moral outrage, I suspect that some of how we feel, at a fairly base level, is that we wish we had thought of it. We would all love to be in receipt of the best part of £700k, guaranteed, for life – it would provide us with the lifestyle we all seem to desire. And we wouldn’t be working for it. And we dream of what such money might provide. On the surface, it’s the dream of so many – the Lottery win, the sudden windfall, the thought that deep down money does made the ultimate difference.
I confess to such thoughts. And then I remember that the Kingdom in which I try to life operates and will only flourish on an entirely different set of principles. In the end, such a windfall would actually be the reason why I might not gain access to that Kingdom. Evelyn Waugh places these words in the mouth of St. Helena, mother of the Emperor Constantine:
‘Dear Cousins, pray for me, and for my poor overloaded son. May he, too, before the end find kneeling-space in the straw. Pray for the great, lest they perish utterly…pray for all the learned, the oblique, the delicate. Let them not be quite forgotten at the throne of God when the simple come into their Kingdom.’
For simple, read poor: for learned, read rich. The Beatitudes point us to a way of living which flies in the face of personal wealth. And so I pray for Sir Fred Goodwin, that he has not been given the means whereby he loses his soul.