This week’s good cause is an immigrant from a poor country who has struggled to make his way in an alien land, while supporting his wife and four children. Now 41, John has stuck with the same employer for nearly 15 years, often working long hours in a country where his native tongue was not that of the locals. During that time he oversaw the grisly task of dismembering the carcase of a monstrous corporation after a takeover disaster. He saw many of his colleagues fall by the wayside, and only this week has had to preside over a terrible slaughter of jobs. He has borne these misfortunes without ever complaining to the authorities. Throughout, John has thought only of maximising reported profits for his employer, sometimes using remarkable ingenuity.

That employer is now a state pensioner, having been rescued at great cost by the taxpayer. As a sign of its gratitude for his long(ish) service, the bank where he works presented him with a pre-retirement present, a gift-wrapped package of shares and options. Tragically, thanks to circumstances quite beyond the management’s control, some of those options are worthless today. The shares in John’s little package are only worth a pitiful £4.3 million, so please give generously. Oh, I see we already have.

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