One of my favourite Brits is actor/writer/comedian/social commentator David Mitchell. He’s been mentioned here before probably because, while I may not share his rapier wit, I do share his cynical disposition and contempt for pomposity, even while occasionally displaying touchs of that quality.
In his weekly Guardian column, Mitchell takes on bankers:
“Last week, the Financial Services Authority finally offered its considered opinion that the collapse of RBS in 2008 was caused by “underlying deficiencies in RBS management, governance and culture, which made it prone to make poor decisions”. It’s easy to take the piss out of this because it’s a bland statement of such a self-evident fact; but it’s like when a mishit at Wimbledon flies off into the crowd – a linesman still has to call “Out!” when it finally hits the ground.
“So it’s clear that, while other factors must be borne in mind, such as feckless midwestern property developers, consumers spending beyond their means, Greek fiscal imprudence, [Chancellor of the Exchequer / Finance Minister] George Osborne’s point about the snow and George Osborne, we’d be in shallower shit now if more bankers had got theirs together. This is why I’m worried about Bob Diamond.
“Barclays’ new boss first came to my attention in January when he told MPs that the “period of remorse and apology for banks … needs to be over”. I didn’t like that, partly because I hadn’t really noticed any period of remorse and apology, unless you count “I’m sorry our various scams didn’t work” as an apology; and partly because it’s not for him to say. If you’re really sorry for something, you should just keep being sorry. It’s for others to decide when you can be let off the hook. If you’re the first to be asking whether you’ve apologised enough, then you haven’t…”