Britain's newspapers were split Wednesday over the stripping of former RBS chief executive Fred Goodwin's knighthood, with broadsheets critical and tabloids cheering his humiliation.
Goodwin had his knighthood stripped by Queen Elizabeth II on the advice of her ministers over his role in the Royal Bank of Scotland's near-collapse in 2008.
It was deemed he had brought the honours system into disrepute.
There had been growing calls for Goodwin, nicknamed "Fred the Shred", to lose his Sir prefix after the bank required a massive government bailout and had to shed thousands of jobs.
Others to have been stripped of their British knighthoods include Zimbabwean President Robert Mugabe and former Romanian dictator Nicolae Ceausescu.
The Daily Telegraph said the criteria in those cases had been exceptional; "treason, criminality and brutal, despotic governance.
"Where, in this scale of enormity, does Fred Goodwin -- as we must now call him -- appear?
"The decision to strip him of his knighthood sets a new benchmark, whereby anyone identified as a convenient scapegoat for the country's woes can be similarly disparaged."
Prime Minister David Cameron "and the other leading politicians who have encouraged this populist bloodlust should be ashamed of themselves.
"Now that the precedent has been set, the mob will want more."
The Times said Goodwin should not have been given a knighthood in the first place but stripping him of the honour "says more about us than it does about him".
Goodwin had been singled out for "public humiliation", it said, in a "vindictive" atmosphere pervading in Britain.
Writing in The Times, former finance minister Alistair Darling criticised Goodwin's treatment.
Darling, who as chancellor led negotiations over the RBS bailout, insisted: "There is something tawdry about the Government directing its fire at Fred Goodwin alone; if it's right to annul his knighthood, what about the honours of others who were involved in RBS and HBoS (Halifax Bank of Scotland)?"
The Independent said Goodwin was only exceptional "in his totemic value to a mob baying for vengeance."
"The gongs of a multitude of others at least (as) -- if not more -- responsible for the financial crisis remain untarnished."
Goodwin came to symbolise the financial crisis in Britain after he oversaw the disastrous multi-billion-pound deal to buy Dutch rival ABN Amro at the height of the crisis in 2007, which led to RBS having to be bailed out.
Among the tabloids, the Daily Mail hoped "the humbling of Mr Goodwin will send a clear signal to bankers that they cannot go on as they have done, without bringing shame and opprobrium on themselves."
The Sun said the "poster boy for reckless, greedy gamblers" was still laughing all the way to the bank thanks to a £6,500-a-week pension.