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It is my personal conviction that Sir Fred Goodwin is a wanker.

Sir Fred "Banker" Goodwin is the former chief executive of a certain financial institution, bailed out by the British government at enormous expense a while ago: consequently he's the recipient of a more-than-abstract amount of money that I paid in tax. He also appears to be somewhat litigious, to the point of having taken out a super-injunction banning news media from describing him as the entity for which the collective noun is a wunch. I would be unaware of the existence of this super-injunction or gagging order if it hadn't been mentioned in Parliament, under Parliamentary Privilege: there's a rather profound freedom of speech issue lurking here, insofar as it appears to be possible for any random scumbag in the UK to pre-emptively ban all news media from describing him as a scumbag.

Meanwhile, purely in the interests of asserting my freedom of expression, I think it would be jolly amusing if as a result of his censorious superinjunction Fred Goodwin somehow became the top google hit for the search term wanker.

(I was going to write something more substantive on another topic, but right now I'm rather tired and I am consequently taking a few days off writing.)



Surely he's an onanist, rather than a w@nker? ;-)


Well, if those allegations are true he clearly isn't a wanker. At least, not entirely. But all the evidence suggests that he is. So they must be false!


We have something similar, and in some ways more evil, here in the United States along the lines of frivolous lawsuits. Basically, rich jerk sues an impoverished reporter into destruction through frivolous lawsuits as an example to all. It's better outlined by Matt Taibbi's Supreme Court of Asshole:

Maybe the UK needs a Court of Wanker?


Well, this is currently at number seven in the google results for "wanker". Pretty good for something just published.

I, not being British, know nothing about this particular wanker. However, it really surprises me that in a country that calls itself democratic there's such thing as these "super-injunctions".


Well - Youtube?



What a wonderful thing the English language is, to be sure - that the mere difference between a bilabial plosive and a labio-velar approximant, not carefully observed in public, could put you in court!

Yes, these gagging orders need to be looked at, and soon. If Goodwin can use them in these circumstances, there is something very wrong indeed.


Super-injunctions appear to be a recent innovation by highly creative lawyers -- injunctions have been around for a long time, but one that includes itself as its own subject matter is somewhat unusual. They are, let's say, Not Popular with legislators or public -- hence this one being blown in Parliament and lots of pressure to ban them as part of the up-coming reform of the English libel law (which is currently being reviewed).


7th on the second page by my count, but hopefully still climbing...


Trying to do a Santorum on the fellow? It's been fairly successful here in the former colonies. Best of luck.


If you merely require people to say that they believe Sir Fred Goodwin to be a wanker then I am more than happy to add a comment to that effect. I am indeed strongly of the opinion that Sir Fred Goodwin is a wanker now and that Sir Fred Goodwin has been a wanker for some time now.


well, the whole country already knows Fred Goodwin is a Wanker. In fact, maybe it's best to have a well-known Wanker like Fred Goodwin taking out this super-injuction in order to prove that super-injuctions can be used by Wankers like Fred Goodwin. In fact, a Wanker like Fred Goodwin, being such a well-known Wanker, taking this action raises awareness of the issue of Wankers (like Fred Goodwin) using super-injunctions to hide their Wanker ways from the public.

Fred Goodwin



There used to be a time when you were rewarded for successes in the corporate world (cash bonuses/stock options) if you were in a non-management position. Well, that appears to have gone the way of the dodo for the now ever replaceable, interchangeable, out-sourced at the whiff of profit worker drone.

However, the disturbing trend to me is that the elite, upper-management (C level positions) are now being rewarded lavishly for abject and epic failures at their positions...

Wanker is too kind, but if that is the term you wish to describe him by, we've got a large number of them here in the colonies that a vast majority of us would be more than happy to ship overseas. Any takers?


Bankers=wankers IMO. We have a ton of them who should be jailed for life. We are part of the millions who are suffering from their destruction of our retirement accounts. If we were ten years younger, we would have just gone back to the drawing board and continued our lives; but, now, we are looking at retirement without the 401ks we had and a fixed income that just allows a budget item for food. We are not amused (plural, not Victoria's quote).

I so agree w/Taibi: why are these people not in jail?


I have given considerable thought to this question, and after close analysis have determined that Fred Goodwin is indeed a wanker.


The term implies that Goodwin can get an erection. I prefer to think that he cannot.


Sorry, still not understand "superinjunction". It like ban on drawing Mohamed (PBUH)? Who issue fatwa to slay offenders? Parliament? Queen? Reward offered?


Superinjunctions are expensive and a privilege of the rich.

Many people would think that it would be wrong for someone on legal aid to try to get one. After all, why should somebody use government money to try to deny the press their right of freedom of expression conferred by Article 10 of the European Convention on Human Rights.


Michael, don't forget to feed the search engines when you mention Santorum. Spreading Santorum hasn't been updated since 2004, but it's still Big G's first result.


I hear that Fred "the Shred" Goodwin is not merely a wanker, but an adult Irish wanker at that.


This is truely scary! BTW the Wanker hasn't made it to yet. That's by itself a rather intersting finding, that also google introduces an additional "language barrier".


Fred the Shred and his ilk are going to get their business dumped out onto the Internet which, by the way, is reachable in the UK. The money they're spending on super-injunctions, they might as well have given it to the KLF to set fire to it.


As an American I will have to take your word that Sir Fred Goodwin is a Wanker.*

Hopefully all this is considered protected speech?

Last spring I attended a talk given by Deborah Lipstadt on David Irving's libel trial brought against her (in which her team kicked his ass). Very interesting, the differences in UK and US libel laws. I once heard that here you can pretty much say anything about anyone as long as you prefix it with "In my opinion." Don't know how true that is.

*everytime I hear that word it makes me think of a dreadful band from Denver in the late 80s, New York Dolls wannabes, called Wanker.


You're on page one of this: but not showing up under Fred Goodwin.

Maybe if you'd put his name in the title text :->


What is this "protected speech" you speak of?

"In my opinion" helps a lot in avoiding libel[*], but it's not a bulletproof defense and, importantly, you still have to pay for a lawyer to represent you. You only get the fees for your defense paid if it goes to a full jury trial and the jury decides to award costs against the complainant. Even if you're right, it's probably cheaper to settle out of court. Which will cost you thousands, at a minimum, in legal fees.

[*] As I understand it (WARNING: I am not a lawyer!) if you say "Joe Schmoe is ugly" Joe can reasonably accuse you of libel and demand that you prove he's ugly in court or shut the fuck up and pay him damages. If you say "I think Joe Schmoe is ugly" you're reporting your own state of mind. But problems arise if you get too cocky and start positioning your opinion too close to a statement of fact ...


A superinjuction is used in circumstances where mentioning the existence of the injunction would frustrate the purpose of the injunction, usually because it would disclose the information which the injunction is intended to prevent the disclosure of.


I would bet that "I wonder if Sir Fred Goodwin is a wanker?" has the desired effect on Google rankings.


Hah! The self-referencing super-injunction is apparently causing a totally normal Streisand effect, so no problems there.


I've added "wanker" to the tagset for my snapshot of his Wanted poster. For the good of the order.


Being an American, I didnt know what a "wanker" was, so I went to Wikipedia. Would you believe it, the article referenced this blog post. Does this mean we have moved past the singularity and didnt even notice it?


What is this "protected speech" you speak of?

That'd be what the US Supreme Court ruled last week that the Westboro Baptist Church (speaking of Wankers) has when picketing at funerals and elsewhere.

The day before that ruling, I read of a British judge ruling that an anti-gay fundie Christian couple couldn't adopt a child. Apparently UK anti-discrimination laws trump religious freedom, somewhat? Doubt that that would happen here.


I suppose if he isn't a banker, and was never a banker, it is not surprising eitehr that he does not wish to be referred to as one, nor how well the bank that he was the chief not-a-banker of did so badly recently and had to be baled out with so much money from the rest of us not-bankers.

(Although if we lent our money to the bank, saved it and end up owning a chunk of it, perhaps we are metabankers).


How did he ever manage to get an injection for that, let alone a super-injunction?

I guess the "I am not a ....... financial-type person" was just an added nicety to the main aim of the injunction - that people shouldn't be able to point out he was untrustworthy with more than just money. Seems the wanker wants to distance himself totally from the past and thinks he can buy it.

The funny thing is, he's called attention to himself (and the evil of the legal profession) by going to court. Overseas news agencies can't be covered, and thanks to that people will find out - probably getting more publicity as the media finds its way around the gag. After all, we assumed he was a low life - it would only have been yet another confirmation, but for this.

What we need is an MP with the guts to break ALL the super-injunctions, and raise the issue of how we get rid of the situation where they can be issued in the first place. They are inherently anti-democratic and unacceptable.

Oh, and the wanker Goodwin needs to lose EVERYTHING. Maybe left as a tramp on the streets he would act as an object lesson to the rest of the ... wunch ... that actions have consequences. If the government won't do that; Mrs Goodwin, you have my permission to take him for the lot.


Calling him a wanker sounds appropriate to me, but I suggest that calling him a "bankster" would work also. And it would also be easier to prove if it turns out he doesn't have hair on his palms.


Let it be known that I intend to pay for another superinjunction to stop all you wankers calling me a wanker


I'm quite prepared to believe that you believe that Sir Fred Godwin is a wanker. I make no assertion as to the accuracy of your belief, though it does seem very plausible that he is indeed a total wanker.


Some arms of government have been using similar tactics for years, viz the Intelligence agencies with D-Notices in the UK and equivalent suppression legislation in the former colonies...


This is also a great example of the Streisand Effect, that is, "a primarily online phenomenon in which an attempt to hide or remove a piece of information has the unintended consequence of publicizing the information more widely." (from the Wikipedia Article about said effect)


Fred Goodwin is definitely a wanker of the first order and I have always said so.


You misread the ruling about the anti-gay Christian couple. They went to court to try and obtain a prior ruling that their religious bigotry would be given priority over the needs of any particular child during adoption hearings. At which point the judges sent them away with a flea in their ear. (The first principle of adoption proceedings in the UK seems to be that the needs of the child come first.)


VERY FORTUNATELY, it would seem, Parliamentary Privilege overrides all the greedy lawywers' and corrupt politicians' and courts' attempts to suppress free speech. And, once it is in "Hansard" - that's it. You say "I'm quoting Hansard" and no-one AT ALL can stop you. Game over.

There has been another case of this recently, where secret courts in the UK have attempted to gag comment, and the rights of suffering individuals. But, an MP has just lost his rag, quite correctly, and invoked PP. For more details, see: Here and Here as well ....


It would be very interesting if a cross-party group of MPs would, as an interim measure pending the review of the English libel law, agree to raise the details of every superinjunction filed in an English or Welsh court with the Prime Minister during Prime Minister's Question Time in order to ask his opinion of the case (or something similar during some similarly inconvenient Q&A session in the Commons).

If they did so, it'd kill the practice of issuing superinjunctions stone dead on the spot (by simultaneously breaking them and, via the Streisand effect, drawing attention to whatever they were filed in order to conceal).


But of course Goodwin can get an erection, Paul! Where do you think the term "money shot" comes from?


I like it.

I suspect a lot of your readers will already be familiar with SEO tactics, but for anyone who might need a few tips to help Charlie in his Googlebomb here:

If you're linking to this article, make sure you link to it either using only the anchor text "wanker" or an anchor text closely related to that word - "total wanker", "complete wanker", etc.

If Google just sees a sea of wankers - insert your favourite "lawyers up to the neck in shit" joke here - it'll assume that we're trying to manipulate the rankings and downgrade this entry. However, a variety of related link texts will look more natural and promote it.

In addition, the latest SEO belief is that Google's looking at social media quite seriously at the moment. Hence, if you have such a thing, link to this post from Twitter, bookmark it on, mention it on Tumblr, etc. Don't bother with Farcebook - Google can't spider non-public pages.

If you REALLY wanted to give this some Google-juice, Charlie, a grep/replace across your entire site linking every instance of the word "wanker" (to the best of my knowledge, you don't need to worry about non-exact anchor text for this) with this article would more or less guarantee a high spot on the Big G.


Not too surprising that what I read was missing something. It was a short paragraph in a side column of my local newspaper, which occasionally edits short items into near incomprehensibility. That, and not remembering it properly and looking it up before mentioning it.


The banks and government here in the UK are a bunch of useless morons who have more money than brain cells.

Recently an MD of a top bank got a bonus of £6.5M and that was after he accepted only a portion of it claiming that he didn't want the bad image to be accentuated. The fact that he got £6.5M as a bonus is bad... but it was this amount after it was reduced???


I'm not even going to read the comments. I just want to put forth that the only solution to problem of the super rich is armed rebellion.


Have you personally been served with the super-injunction? If not, I can't see any possible way it would apply to you and your blog, as you're not a respondent. After all, if it bans those receiving from talking about it, how could anybody not specifically served even know about the gag order?


Would that that were true! Alas far from " The banks and government here in the UK are a bunch of useless morons who have more money than brain cells. " They are actually a very clever bunch who are bent upon using their natural abilities to screw maximum advantage to themselves their family and their financial /political clan as they can comfortably contrive. Now and then they do get to be overwhelmingly arrogant and slip up .. as with the Maxwell Clan ..

"Ian Robert Maxwell MC (10 June 1923 – 5 November 1991) was a Czechoslovakian-born British media proprietor and former Member of Parliament (MP), who rose from poverty to build an extensive publishing empire. His death revealed huge black holes in his companies' finances, including the Mirror Group pension fund which Maxwell had fraudulently misappropriated." ..

But currently there are others of course .. people are still falling for Ponzi Scams ..

In the past month I've had four separate attempts to scam me by a variation of the pishing fraud by fake security software, but in this instance delivered over the land-line phone 'we have been moitoring your broadband line on behalf of your service providor AND ' ... clearly my address is in play on the scammers network.In each instance the Attempt sounded as if it originated in an Asian Call Center. Gods even the Crooks are running call centers in Bangalore these days!

And don't ask me about the UK Government Scam that 'persuaded ' the executives of the UK Bank Lloyd's that it, as a really dull staid and un-adventurous High Street Bank that had rejected all efforts to persuade them to be more like Northern Rock had, as last bank standing with money be Really, Really, well advised to take over a deeply troubled Adventurous Bank in the National interest.

" Recently an MD of a top bank got a bonus of £6.5M and that was after he accepted only a portion of it claiming that he didn't want the bad image to be accentuated. The fact that he got £6.5M as a bonus is bad... but it was this amount after it was reduced??? "

No.. that doesn't mean that he is deficient in the Brain Cells Dept it means that WE who hold shares in our now depleted pension funds in such banks are stupid and, whats worse, Gullible Lazy and Ignorent.


A P.S on my @50 ..if our host will permit a link to a fellow Pro ..../do please read ...

" On being sold financial products by the financially clueless .....

I do recommend Patricia Finneys books, particularly her espionage trilogy set in the time of Queen Elizabeth the First and her series set in the wild west, wild north of england during the border wars .. and featuring a very unusual approach to the Police Procedural detective novel and written under her secret identity P. F. Chisholm. Her website is a bit out of date and she does have a bit to learn from Our Hosts business acumen, but here is HER web site ...


This suggests Goodwin's (Fred) Corollary to Godwin's (Mike) Law:

"The only thing worse than being called a Nazi is being called a Banker"


Ok, I've now had a chance to read some news articles on the subject, and I now believe that the trouble is not just that Sir Fred is not a banker, but that he was appointed to lead a bank despite his manifest lack of relevant qualifications and experience for the role!


Holy Crap...that guy's just unbelievable. Must be verrry nice to have friends in high places.



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This page contains a single entry by Charlie Stross published on March 11, 2011 12:20 PM.

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