If there’s one thing that unites the modern, on-message politician with his opponents it’s condemnation of the “reward for failure.” This is always a Bad Thing, and must be stamped out, especially when hard-working families (they always are) struggle to make ends meet.

Please don’t call the pay-off to Axel Muller for leaving Skyepharma a reward for failure. His goodbye, £350,000 according to The Times, is more silver-gilt than golden by today’s standards, but he hasn’t been a shining success in the 18 months since he was recruited as chief executive. Skye is a drug delivery specialist but the shares have delivered only disappointment. That’s hardly Muller’s fault, since the price was deep in depression before he arrived.

He wasn’t the cure, and the mood was hardly helped by the failure, last month, to win approval for an asthma drug. That was, apparently, nothing to do with Muller’s sudden departure. Frank Condella, Skye’s chairman (and former ceo) managed a perfunctory expression of thanks, while new ceo Peter Grant said there was a “need for a change of style and focus”, which sounds like the usual business hocus-pocus when the truth is too painful for public consumption. But a reward for failure? Definitely not.

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