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February 28, 2009

Blame games

It's interesting watching Whitehall (That centre of ultimate incompetence) and Westminster's denizens (The Centre of ultimate freeloading) accusing the banks and bankers of greed and incompetence. Firstly, the rogues among the banking community got away with it because the Regulatory body was being run on minimum intervention on the orders of Westminster/Downing Street and Civil Servants staff it. Not a Banking qualification or experience between either body as far as I can see.

Then when you look at the Boardrooms themselves you rapidly discover that these are also filled with parachutists - no Banking Qualifications there either, much less actual experience at Branch level.

Many more years ago than the Monk likes to remember he joined the staff of one of the then largest banks in the world. It didn't last, the Monk was not meant to be in banking and he moved on after a few years, but the interesting thing is this, at that time the Chairman of the Bank (Logo: Black Spread Eagle with coronets on each wing and its chest and the initials DCO under it) had worked in a Branch and actually knew what we, the numerous clerks actually did in the "Waste Department", in "Clearances" , "Remittances", "Bills" or "Securities". The likes of the gent now under scrutiny for his part in the failure of the Royal Bank of Scotland and his £650k pension, have probably never heard these terms and wouldn't know how anyone actually did the work it involved anyway. In fact I doubt if any of them have any acquaintance at all with the operational side of any branch of any bank, let alone the ones they supposedly managed.

What Whitehall is eager to hide in all of this, and to an extent Westminster as well, is that the Cult of Management is at the root cause of this collapse. Gone are the days when, in order to be a "Manager" you had first to work your way up the particular branch of the particular profession to become one. Now any over qualified filing clerk waving an MBA can parachute into any profession and "Manage" the professionals. What rapidly happens of course is that the professionals very quickly find that their time is increasingly spent writing "Business Cases" or filling in forms for an ever increasing army of paper shufflers to discuss in meetings from which the professionals are excluded and never actually action. Westminster used to be filled with people who were bankers, industrialists, ex-military, police or fire fighters, doctors etc. Now it is stuffed with professional politicians who have never done a day's work in their lives and haven't got even the vaguest idea how the people they claim to be "serving" with their ill-judged and ill-written legislation are affected. Why? Because they are advised by Civil Servants and Trade Unionists, neither of whom would qualify as knowing anything about the reality of the work either......

So, as I said, its interesting watching Parliament, the Civil Service and their "advisers" and cronies blaming the banks. It distracts attention from the fact that they haven't got a clue on what they are talking about, can't do anything to fix it anyway because they broke it in the first place, and don't give a damn about the rest of us - because, boy, have they got the pension stitched up a treat! They daren't touch the big pensions the Boards are getting lined up for because that exposes their own scam. A full pension after only two terms in Parliament? A gold plated pension, medals and knighthoods after 40 years screwing the public as a Civil Servants? That's where we should be looking for a bit of "claw back" after all, its our money that pays for it and that is where the blame really rests.

Management is NOT an independent "profession" it is a function of professional activity. We would do well to re-establish that principle in all corporate activity, commercial, industrial and perhaps most importantly, in government at all levels.

Posted by The Gray Monk at February 28, 2009 07:18 AM

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Posted by: Peter Horne at March 1, 2009 08:59 AM

What you have described is the 'Peter Principle' in action. Or the lunatics have taken over the asylum if you prefer. Do you remember 'Total Quality Management' and its brief incursion in the Fire Service? That philosophy was about managers understanding everything about the process/product/people that was being managed. As far as I know, it never was put into practice!

Posted by: Slim Jim at March 1, 2009 11:07 AM

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