It is astonishing how British politicians and media have latched on to the pension arrangements of Sir Fred Goodwin, the former chief executive of the Royal Bank of Scotland.
Goodwin does indeed seem ghastly, the sort of domineering boss all too common in commercial life. One can easily imagine the hapless middle managers threatening each other with "Sir Fred said this" as the bank lurched onwards into jeopardy.
But his pension is merely an ugly pebble on a beach of obscenity. Removing or reducing his contractual entitlements will have no real effect on RBS or the taxpayer. It would be nothing more than a gesture, but with a possible implication that the government will be seen to not respect contractual obligations. That is not a wise signal to risk giving.
The current crisis is complex and, to adapt Eliot, politicians and pundits cannot bear very much complexity. So it is personalised, and a scapegoat makes it all so simple.
For the government it is a convenient distraction; for the media it is a good story. Ultimately, however, it is irrelevant to the issues which they should be focusing on.
The hapless conniving RBS middle managers may (hopefully) have now got their desserts. It is sad if they are to be replaced by hapless commentators telling each other that "Sir Fred shouldn't do that" as the wider economy itself lurches onwards into deeper jeopardy.