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Tuesday 12 December 2017

MOD: You know things are bad if Nick Leeson is giving you advice

Nick Leeson
Nick Leeson
David Drumm
Grainne Seoige and Philip Boucher Hayes present Crimecall each month on RTE One.
Nuala Carey

You almost feel sorry for ex-Anglo Irish Bank boss, David Drumm.

Currently in the wars in the US as he tries to have the court ruling which made him personally liable for debts of €10m overturned, all the while facing the threat of deportation to Ireland, a country in which his reputation is in tatters.

He is also married to a woman whose reaction, when faced with the prospect of David having a stress-induced heart attack, was to demand €1m for herself and their children.

Just when you thought things couldn't get any worse, David wakes up and discovers that he's being given career advice by Nick Leeson.

"The Anglo Tapes won't have done him any favours, but for me he should get on the plane," said Nick, offering his opinion as to how Drumm should deal with the situation. "Come back and get it over and done with."

This is perhaps a good time to inject some context on the man who is volunteering these sage words.

Last Monday marked the 20th anniversary of the most famous bank collapse in modern times, when Leeson, a financial trader in the Singapore branch of Barings Bank (at the time the oldest merchant bank in the world), lost stg£827m of his employers' money in a series of catastrophic bets.

Not only, you might argue, is it a bit rich for someone who bankrupted his company to be commenting on others, there is also a significant difference in the two tales.

David Drumm was simply part of a large team of incompetent, jumped up salesmen who ran Anglo Irish and lent millions with seemingly little appreciation of their chances of having it repaid.

Leeson, on the other hand, worked alone, and all by himself lost stg£827m of Barings' money, a fact which resulted in the bank going out of business, and most of its staff losing their jobs.

notoriety

While Drumm will surely never again earn the type of money that he was paid in Anglo Irish, Leeson continues to thrive not only despite his Barings' debacle, but ironically because of it.

He's a regular on the after dinner speaking circuit, not because of any great business acumen he has shown in the past 20 years, but based squarely on the notoriety created his being "the man who broke Barings Bank".

Forced to choose for financial advice between bald, bespectacled, inept Drumm, and bald, bespectacled, smug Leeson, it would be hard to pick. But one thing is sure - with Nick Leeson as a mentor, things have got even worse for David Drumm.

 

Can someone investigate why our cash was wasted on Crimecall gag?

CrimeCall presenter Philip Boucher-Hayes was the subject of an inside joke by his production crew, who recently staged a fake robbery in his presence.

They then watched him chase down a "mugger" and be interviewed by the gardai, all in an effort to test a new facial recognition system that they are introducing for identifying suspects.

They all had a good laugh at how Philip was 'punked', and that this harmless prank was all in a good cause. However, there is another way of looking at it...

Consider Boucher-Hayes' description of the incident. "I'm standing there being filmed looking at the sunrise," he said.

"I see this guy out of the corner of my eye reef a bag off a girl's shoulder and run off...I just legged it after him to grab the bag.

"You can see it on YouTube and you can have a laugh yourself because what I didn't see out of the other corner of my eye was the entire CrimeCall production team and two plain clothes guards all standing there with their arms folded."

So rather than test the new equipment on a real-life case, in which the system would be put to good use, RTE and the gardai decided to set up a fake crime, involving paying actors to perform the stunt, a TV crew to attend, and two gardai to be present when, at least as concerns the last of these, you would have thought they had better things to do.

I'm glad they had a good laugh. I'm also glad that they don't consider setting up expensive, pointless in-jokes involving presenters, crews and gardai, all so that the staff of CrimeCall can slap themselves on the back for how funny they are, to be in any way a waste of licence fee money.

After all, that kind of utter waste, simply for the amusement of already well-paid RTE staff, would really a real crime worth investigating.

There's much more to Nuala than €2 cream

I'm delighted that weather presenter Nuala Carey has debunked the stereotype of her job as one performed by people whose only concern is their appearance, with no formal training for their roles.     

"I think sometimes movies have stereotypes of weather girls which maybe focus on how the presenter looks and kind of forget the fact that we have a great education," she revealed. I'm delighted that Woman's Way, the magazine which interviewed Nuala, went out of its way to accentuate this and not focus on the superficial.      

After all, the front page headline announced: "Nuala Carey - her savvy secrets, and her €2 face cream." Oh, hang on...

 

Typical. You wait ages to hear anything about FG TD Ray Butler, then two stories come along at once. In December, Ray grabbed the headlines by raging at the €500k reportedly paid by RTE to lure Ray D'Arcy, describing the sum as "ludicrous".

This week, however, he was himself the victim of unwanted harassment, when his family home was picketed by anti-water charges protesters, who then turned up to a constituency meeting he was having, where an incident took place.

While not condoning the harassment of the TD in any way, perhaps Mr Butler now realises how uncomfortable it is to be picked on simply because you're an easy target. The way Butler himself did with Ray D'Arcy...

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