THE government should call in a good graphologist to study Sir Fred Goodwin's signature. It was reproduced yesterday at the foot of the letter he wrote to Lord Myners, the government minister who handled the negotiations with the Royal Bank of Scotland that included Sir Fred's highly controversial pension. The signature is very interesting: a very high and deep “F” dominating all the rest and the “win” part of Goodwin non-existent.

Did Lord Myners know that the former boss of RBOS would be entitled to a pension of 693'000 pounds a year from the age of 50 when he closed the deal to rescue the bank which many believe Goodwin had brought to the verge of collapse? Lord Myners says he understood that the pension was “discretional” and could have been amended by the board of the bank. Sir Fred says it was “contractual” and could not be varied. The truth may also be that Lord Myners was negotiating against the clock to save a large part of the British banking industry from extinction and had little or no time to worry about one person's pension. As always in these matters it pays to heed Vince Cable, the LibDem's financial guru. Yesterday he advised the government to remind Sir Fred that if RBOS had gone bust he would have been entitled to no more than 27'000 pounds a year, a sum it should offer him and invite him to sue if he did not like it.