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Tuesday, 30 August 2011

French perv turns up at IMF; gets clap

As any hotel room occupant, business class or otherwise, will know, humping room service isn't funny and it isn't clever, and for people in positions of power and/or authority, it is quite frankly inexcusable.

Which makes it all the more remarkable that when DS-K turned up at the IMF, some of its staffers were prepared to offer him a round of applause.

Sunday, 28 August 2011

Send the bill to Tessa Jowell

Tickets to the mens' 100m Olympic final cost up to £725 and the games will cost £9,375,000,000 to stage.

So imagine the riot when Usain Bolt is disqualified for a false start.

Media 24/7 non-events of the weekend

Hurricane Irene
Usain Bolt
Tropical rainstorm Irene
Christine Ohuruogu
Post-tropical storm Irene
The Notting Hill riot ... I mean Carnival
High wind Irene
Dwain Chambers
Tropical rain shower Irene
New York City cleanup Irene

While all the hacks were out tracking down the 10 US citizens killed by the bad weather (and ignoring the same number similarly killed by seasonal storms in the Philippines, they conveniently forgot the 35 Iraqis killed by suicide attacks, which probably wouldn't have happened but for the US/UK invasion in 2003.

Thursday, 25 August 2011

I could do that job #94

KPMG are looking for a salaried tax partner for Qatar.

Our client is a globally networked professional services firm that provides Audit, Tax and Advisory services to some of the largest multi-nationals in the region.
Due to the rapid internationalisation and sophistication of business in Qatar, there is a pressing need for a Tax Partner to lead and execute taxation practices in the region.

The key to the simplicity of this role is in the package £150k tax free. That's right, it's tax free because there is presently no personal taxation levied in Qatar. There is also no sales tax or value added tax levied in Qatar and there are presently no estate or gift taxes levied in Qatar.

There is a 35% tax on company profits (although that rate is coming down), but which local businessman is going to keep cash and profits in a business when he can pay all the profits to himself as a tax-free salary plus bonus and reinvest the money next year if needed?

Being paid £150k after tax for saying "There is no tax here" sounds to me like money for old rope.

Wednesday, 24 August 2011

Justice at last?

Omar Ahmed Sodani was being held in custody in rebel-controlled Benghazi.  He is now being held in the city of Benghazi which is under the control of our good friend and ally, the new state of Libya.  It seems that we should soon have someone to extradite for the murder of PC Yvonne Fletcher.

Of course we may find out the true nature of any agreement between previous UK and Libyan governments to drop the investigation.  Could this be the key to understanding the Mandelslime real estate holdings?

Err, allegedly.

Tuesday, 23 August 2011

A big boy did it and he ran away

The Australian government is likely to go under due to a sex scandal.  Well, not so much a sex scandal, as embezzlement, or maybe fraud.  Apparently union officials are given credit cards by their unions, and we all know what happens when socialists get their hands on the cheque book, don't we boys and girls?

Yes, that's right Gordon.  Splurge, splurge, splurge.  Only this union official, who is now an MP in a government with a majority of 1, spent it on fast women and loose cars, and all the cash you can eat, allegedly.

Only the best bit comes in his excuse.  Apparently it wasn't him, although he had the card throughout.  It was a friend who forged his signature and seemed to get away with the same trick many times. Either the MP never realised, or he just couldn't stop his mystery friend from pulling the same stunt again and again.

Well it's not my union (or union subs), he's not my MP and its not my country, so I can't help laughing.

Monday, 22 August 2011

Never knowingly underpaid

An analysis of the accounts published by 128 of the largest councils in England and Wales has found that almost 70 per cent of town hall bosses earned more than David Cameron's £142,000 salary last year, while nearly half of them took home more than £200,000.

Of the 25 highest paid council chiefs, 16 were given pay rises. The highest paid is Joanna Killian, joint chief executive of Essex and Brentwood councils, who received £289,143, an increase of £4,000.

She previously promised to cut her pay by 5 per cent.

Essex county council's draft accounts for 2010-11 disclose that while Miss Killian's basic salary fell by £4,000, she received a £6,900 bonus payment, £815 in expenses and a £4,021 pension contribution.
Her pay package rose as Tory-led Essex council announced that 450 jobs were to be cut as it struggled to find savings of £98 million.

The council has faced controversy after announcing plans to close 12 youth centres and cut library hours.
A spokesman said that by acting as chief executive of two councils Miss Killian ultimately saved taxpayers money.

The second highest-paid council boss in Britain last year was Geoff Alltimes, who received a total of £281,666 for his role as the chief executive of Hammersmith and Fulham borough council and the local primary care trust, according to the draft accounts.

Despite a pay freeze across the council, Mr Alltimes took home £11,193 more last year than he earned in 2009 after receiving a supplementary payment for acting as returning officer in the local and general elections. Not in his own time, but in the working hours for which he was already being paid.

Mandelslime: the saga continues

So a man who little more than 10 years ago was living in a £250,000 flat, who secured an inheritance of £450,000 and a windfall from some shares of about the same, who has never been paid more than £150,000 in the last 10 years (anything else would have to be registered), on which one would presume tax would be payable and living costs deducted, is somehow able to buy an £8 million house.

In 2005, Corporate Europe Observatory, a pressure group funded by Sigrid Rausing, a member of the billionaire Tetra Pak dynasty, Christian Aid and the Joseph Rowntree Charitable Trust, requested details of Mandelson’s meetings with industry lobbyists representing the financial services industry and transatlantic multinational firms. The group was concerned about the lobbyists’ influence over European trade policy that it had been studying.

At the time Mandelson was regarded as being close to the financial services lobbyists who are pushing for the liberalisation of rules around the world.

Mandelson released documents about the meetings that he had held in Brussels and at the World Economic Forum in Davos, Switzerland. However, substantial passages and the names of lobbyists were blacked out. Other commissioners have released similar information in full. After the ombudsman’s investigation began, Mandelson’s office claimed that it was protecting the “privacy” of individuals and the commission’s decision-making process.

The ombudsman’s report states: “The commission took the view that there is no added value from a transparency point of view in disclosing the names of these [lobbyists]. The reality is, however, that there is a very significant added value in disclosing the names of individual lobbyists, both in general and in this specific case.”

It added: “The blanking out of names also contradicts the commission’s proposal in the green paper on the European Transparency Initiative.”

In 2010 an investigation by the Daily Telegraph uncovered a dubious oil connection and the apparent concealment of financial interests in breach of Parliamentary rules. It starts in one of London's most expensive streets, at the heart of the Nash terraces around Regent's Park. On it lies a beautiful peach-stucco villa, and a long-standing mystery. There is no puzzle about the owner of the house: Lord Mandelson. There is no secret about its value: Land Registry records show that in 2006 he bought it for £2.5 million, including stamp duty.

The mystery has always been how he could possibly have afforded it. The price was around 16 times his then-income as a European Commissioner, a mortgage which, even in pre-credit crunch days, no lender would have contemplated. Sources close to the then Mr Mandelson suggested at the time that he used a bequest from his late mother, Mary, and sold his shares in an advertising agency.

But probate files show he received only £452,000 from his mother's estate; a search at Companies House disclosed he sold the shares a year after buying the house; and Land Registry records of his previous property dealings in London and his former constituency of Hartlepool show that he could have amassed no more than around £1.15 million in equity to put towards the purchase.

Added together, all that would still have left Mr Mandelson at least £1 million short. He did take out a mortgage – reportedly for £750,000 – to cover most of the gap. But in a 2009 interview he let slip that he had paid it off completely after just one year. The normal place to look for politicians' earnings is the declarations of interests they are obliged, under the rules, to make.

Mr Mandelson's declarations list only modestly-paid work for newspapers and magazines, and a number of speaking engagements. So to ask again, how does a man who 15 years ago owned a £250,000 flat, who has never worked outside government, get to buy a flat that costs 50 times the highest post tax salary he has ever earned?

Stupid story of the week

Was last week's story from NASA that rising CO2 levels could alert alien life forms to human activity and cause us all to be wiped out, the issue being that increasing blocking of radiation by CO2 would indicate the presence of growing carbon based life forms, and so we should stop emitting CO2

This is wrong on so many levels:

1.  The natural state of this planet, absent any plant or animal life is a much higher level of CO2.  Hence the relatively low value of CO2 indicates carbon based life.

2.  It has already been taking place, so if it was going to happen, why hasn't it happened already.

3.  The reality is that no alien is going to wait for years to detect 1% changes in the level of CO2 in a planet millions of light years away.  they have better things to do.

4.  While the light takes million of light years to reach the alien's monitoring stations, it takes even longer to lug the weaponry big enough to blast us out of existence halfway across the universe. By which time we will be long gone.

If I were more cynical I would say this was a kite flying exercise to find a new idiom to take over when global warming falls apart.  Scientists often have a hard time trying to gauge the stupidity of the public moron.

Moral crisis, what moral crisis?

Well, he would say that wouldn't he?

Sunday, 21 August 2011

Motes, planks, pots, kettles etc

According to the Observer, "Tony Blair has launched a fierce attack on widespread claims that this summer's riots showed that British society is in 'moral decline'. The former prime minister warns that rash talk of a broken society threatens to harm the country's reputation abroad."

Really? You cannot be serious. The damage to the country's reputation come from the fact that police are investigating almost 3,300 offences following the riots and looting in London. More than 1,800 people have been arrested and nearly 1,050 charged in connection with the disorder between 6 and 9 August. The most common crimes were burglary (1,101), damage to vehicles (399), theft (310) and arson (162). There are more than 1,100 crime scenes in 22 boroughs, and the Met are reviewing 20,000 hours of CCTV footage.

Still, reality was never Blair's strong point and he was always of the view that in power you could do whatever you like, and if it looked like it was going to be unpopular (note, not right or wrong), you could always turn on the spin machine and hose down the populace with lashings of propaganda.

The riots are undoubtedly due to a breakdown in society, and just as a fish rots from its head so does the morality of this country.  Blair is not the only one to blame, but he has a larger share of the responsibility than most.

Friday, 19 August 2011

Bye, bye, bye, PFI

THe next big blow as the next recession bites will be in the pocket books of the PFI Conference organisers, lawyers, accountants and manageent consultants who masquerade as financial advisers while in reality doing little more than filching from the public purse.

Treasury Select Committee chairman Andrew Tyrie has told minitesrs that they should limiti the use of PFI deals until new rules were in place.

‘PFI means getting something now and paying later. Any Whitehall department could be excused for becoming addicted to that. We can’t carry on as we are, expecting the next generation of taxpayers to pick up the tab. PFI should only be used where we can show clear benefits for the taxpayer.’

His committee's report added ‘The incentive for government departments to use PFI to leverage up their budgets, and to some extent for the Treasury to use PFI to conceal debt, has resulted in neglecting the long-term value-for-money implications. We do not believe that PFI can be relied upon to provide good value for money without substantial reform.’

While PFI had always been more expensive than traditional government borrowing, the gap has widened ‘significantly’ since the financial crisis.

‘We believe a financial model that routinely finds in favour of the PFI route, after the significant increases in finance costs in the wake of the financial crisis, is unlikely to be fundamentally sound. Continuing to use an inefficient funding system such as PFI is likely in many cases to increase the overall burden on taxpayers for the provision of public sector capital projects.’

Thursday, 18 August 2011

Status creep

Back when I took my A-levels, barely 8% of candidates achieved an A-Grade, whereas now 26.9% of a much larger percentage of the population achieve the same score.  Do they really expect us to believe that there has been no title creep?

If you think not, think a little harder.  In the 1970's only 14% of the population took A-levels.  The 8% who scored an A thus represented about 1.12% of the entire age group in the country. Today 33% of the population take A-levels, so those 26.9% actually represent 9% of their entire age group, rather than the 1.12% of 40 years ago, which is why last year researchers at Durham University decided that a candidate who would have got a C two decades ago would get an A now.

I would add that I was in that 8% in each of my 4 subjects, also scored 1's on 2 S-level papers, took the exams when I was barely 17 and walked out of both my maths papers less than half way through because I didn't see much point in hanging around after I had finished and I didn't want to distract the other candidates.

And to prove the point, last night I whipped an A-level Pure Maths sample paper off the web.  10 questions, supposedly taking 1 hour 20 minutes.  Had it finished in 15 minutes and without a calculator.while eating my supper.

Exposition development recapitulation coda

One of my favourite pieces of rock music is a 1971 piece of American blues rock featuring the talents of Tim Bogert and Carmine Appice and the underrated Jim McCarty on guitar.  Simply a cover of Long Tall Sally, but somehow it seems strangely complete.  And after 40 years I have figured out why.

It is in Sonata Form. Hear for yourself.

Wednesday, 17 August 2011

Hey, I could do that job

2 years ago BarCap hired a team of gold traders from JP Morgan, offering them £30 million in cash and shares.  Now we hear that Todd Edgar and his team of nearly a dozen commodities traders are to leave "as part of a stream of cuts designed to shed overheads and put the UK bank on target to hit profit targets".

Well it's hard to see how anybody lost money while trading in gold for the last 2 years.  At JPM Edgar's team turned in a profit of $250 million in one year on a risk limit of $2 billion, an apparent return of 12.5%. Not bad.

But 2 years ago, I could have bought gold at $900/oz, which today would be worth $1800/oz, which would have been a return of 42% compounded for 2 years.  Is there really more than $30 million of value addded in the team?

Tuesday, 16 August 2011

I must be turning into a grumpy old man

But I fail to understand this upgrade.  I went to the BT Broadband Availability Checker website and typed in my home telephone number, and I got the following:
Your exchange is ADSL enabled, and our initial test on your line indicates that your line should be able to have an ADSL broadband service that provides a fixed line speed up to 2Mbps.
Well actually, I usually do considerably better than that, at least 5Mbps and as high as 8 at times
Our test also indicates that your line currently supports an estimated ADSL Max broadband line speed of 2.5Mbps; typically the line speed would range between 1.5Mbps and 5Mbps.
OK, but as I said already, I am doing better than that, although I would think it could hardly get worse. ADSL Max simply reduces the amount of attenuation.
Your cabinet is planned to have WBC FTTC by 31st December 2011. Our test also indicates that your line currently supports a fibre technology with an estimated WBC FTTC Broadband where consumers have received downstream line speed of 500Kbps and upstream line speed of 100Kbps.
Excuse me, but I am less than 300m from the nearest BT cabinet and they are telling me that the most I can expect to get is a tenth of the speed I currently get from an exchange that is nearly 3 miles away? Not exactly worth the 50% extra monthly subscription, is it?

Monday, 15 August 2011

Next year it may be a collectors' item

Another weird experience.  This evening, and I am not really sure how it happened, I cam across this item on Amazon.

"The 2007-2012 World Outlook for Flat Canvas Tarpaulins, Truck and Boat Covers, and Other Covers".

Not surprisingly, nobody in this household felt like shelling out the £755.25 asking price, despite the free delivery.  That's a £39.75 discount off the list price and it still has a year and a half until it is out of date. If they stop printing it next year it may have some rarity value.

Sunday, 14 August 2011

Weird experience of the week

I was caught by a display in my local Tesco (there is probably one in yours too) in the electronics/gadgets section.  It's not where I would usually go to find such things but always worth a look because, you never know, you might pick up a bargain.

Anyway, the display said that the supermarket would help me choose the "USB memory stick that is right for you".

"Right for you"?  What do they mean by that?  Raspberry flavoured? Or sandalwood?  Pleasantly sweet with a hint of fruitiness? Businessman, tall, non-smoker, gsoh, likes concerts, theatre, walking?

The only USB stick that is right for me is one that stores bits in all the right places and hands them back in the same order.

Tesco, the sign appears to suggest, may have other varieties.

Completely out of Orde

So Hugh Orde, the Chairman of ACPO, doesn't like the fact that the Prime Minister is taking advice from someone in the US about combatting gangs.

Orde thinks that the fact that there are 400 gangs in Los Angeles makes the advice invalid.  One could easily run the same argument to say that the 1,600 arrests for looting show that the UK police aren't doing there job, not that I think that is a calid argument.

More importantly, Orde should recognise that the police are an arm of the executive (not the judiciary), the head of which is the Prime Minister. The executive should look at the performance of senior police officers and in particular the malign consequences of the streams of income that ACPO has accumulated at the expense of the nation. Not content with the £15 million a year paid to the organisation by the Treasury, the public limited company run by senior police officers for the benefit of senior police officers derives income from certifying alarm systems as kosher (for a fee) and from issuing police certificates for emigrants (using data supplied for free but collected at the taxpayers' expense).

Orde's dismissal of an experienced police officer with a record of achievement should be seen in the light of the tawdrily corrupt vested interest that is ACPO .

Tuesday, 9 August 2011

How hard can it be?

To use social networking media to lure all the chavs in London to a mobile phone and 42" TV discount warehouse in Penge, inside where a battalion of Plod awaits?

Sunday, 7 August 2011

Global Warming update: Arctic 'tipping point' may not be reached

OK, let's not beat about the bush, won't be reached. Danish scientists writing in Science magazine report that the extent of sea ice around Greenland was far less 5,000 years ago than it is today, and we didn't reach a tipping point whereby the absence of ice caused a loss of albedo and runaway climate conditions.

So if there was no runaway positive feedback 5,000 years ago, why should there be any runaway positive feedback now?  The simple answer is that there won't be.

The longer answer is that the amount of energy reaching the Arctic region is so small that it the loss of albedo from the melting of the ice is extremely unlikely to have any effect on global temperatures.  Think about it.  Any light (solar radiation) reaching the polar regions is coming in at a very shallow angle relative to the horizon and is thus relatively weak compared to the light at the equator.  Also it has to come through more atmosphere, so the amount of heating effect is very small.  That figures that is why it is so cold.

Also a lot of the heating effect at the North Pole is not due to solar effects.  The temperature at the poles is driven by the amount of radiant and convected energy lost into space less the amount of incoming radiation and the heating effect from below the surface.  Have you ever wondered why temperatures at the North Pole are higher than those at the South Pole?  Or why the North Pole can be ice free, but the South Pole never has bare rock?  Simple.  The North Pole lies in the Arctic Ocean where sea currents can transport heat faster than it travels through the geology of the South Pole.  So if we ignore the heating effect of Arctic Ocean currents we can hypothesize that the temperature at the North Pole would be about the same as the South Pole, which implies that the insolation has very little heating effect, so the effect of a little less albedo would be peanuts.

In other words, the temperature of  the North Pole is dominated by the temperature of sea currents not solar effects and the likelihood of any positive feedback is limited. And that is just common sense.

Friday, 5 August 2011

Phone hacking admitted by Guardian journalist

Scandal on tap

Clive Goodman's guilty plea sent shock waves around the industry. Investigations specialist David Leigh says that many journalists are guilty of using deception
The phone-tapping admission of Clive Goodman, royal editor of the News of the World, has not done much for the image of investigative journalism. His downfall follows repeated exposures of the murky ways in which Goodman's NoW colleague, the "fake sheikh" Mazher Mahmood, sets out to entrap his victims, such as those behind the so-called plot to kidnap Victoria Beckham. Rebekah Wade, editor of the Sun, also once famously admitted paying police officers for information. The Sunday Times, too, has been accused of using illegally obtained tax records for a story about Tory treasurer Michael Ashcroft, and of making off with sheaves of Cabinet Office correspondence purloined by a temporary secretary.
All these newspapers belong to Rupert Murdoch, whose editors seem to play dirtier than most. But there is not a newspaper or TV channel in the country that has not, on occasion, got down in the gutter and used questionable methods.
Investigative journalism is not a dinner party, particularly in a secretive country like ours where the privacy cards are stacked in favour of the rich and powerful. But it all depends on what the target is.
I've used some of those questionable methods myself over the years. I, too, once listened to the mobile phone messages of a corrupt arms company executive - the crime similar to that for which Goodman now faces the prospect of jail. The trick was a simple one: the businessman in question had inadvertently left his pin code on a print-out and all that was needed was to dial straight into his voicemail.
There is certainly a voyeuristic thrill in hearing another person's private messages. But unlike Goodman, I was not interested in witless tittle-tattle about the royal family. I was looking for evidence of bribery and corruption. And unlike the News of the World, I was not paying a private detective to routinely help me with circulation-boosting snippets. That is my defence, when I try to explain newspaper methods to my current university journalism students, and some of whom are rather shocked. There are other techniques I have used, along with the rest of Fleet Street. I did not turn up my nose when the notorious Benjy the Binman emptied a bag of stinking rubbish on to my carpet. He wanted to show me incriminating statements about Saudi arms deals, which a City law firm had been too idle to shred before putting out on the street for collection. I read the information with interest. I did, however, refuse to pick up the other gossipy documents about celebrities that Benjy was also peddling. And when he wanted large amounts of cash for copies of those documents he had that were rather more in the public interest, I sent him off to the Sunday Times.
Then there is the question of "stings". Hidden cameras have developed technically at great speed in recent years. They have changed from bulky items toted around in hold-alls, to tiny implants in spectacle-frames. As a result, undercover investigations became fashionable. Too fashionable, I think. The original "undesirable journalist", the German reporter Günter Wallraff, disguised himself as a Turkish guest-worker in the 1980s, to expose real discrimination and exploitation. More recently, it seems as though the telegenic Donal MacIntyre started a trend for going undercover to expose such predictable targets as football hooligans, the fashion industry and the BNP, just because he could.
But we all use deception. I still treasure the moment when I rang up Mark Thatcher in Downing Street. Thatcher was secretly on the payroll of a firm trying to get a construction deal in Oman. But at the time, we could not yet prove a link between him and the Middle East fixer concerned, whose name was Jamil Amyuni. "Who's calling?" said the Downing Street switchboard. I said "Tell him it's Jamil Amyuni". In two seconds flat, Mark came on the line, and shouted cheerily "Hi, Jamil!" We had our story. Was I wrong to do that? Surely not. We were successfully exposing what many people thought was misbehaviour by the then prime minister's son, who was shamelessly exploiting his position.
I think the rule should be that deceptions, lies and stings should only be used as a last resort, and only when it is clearly in the public interest. And, as for actually breaking the law? Well, it is hard to keep on the right side of legality on all occasions. Like most investigative journalists, I have had my share of confidence injunctions, lost libel actions and threats of prosecutions under the Official Secrets Act.
These tend to breed disrespect for the law, and a nonchalant attitude to these billionaires and cabinet ministers who wheel in solicitors when it suits them, to try to conceal their own crimes and misdemeanours. When we revealed the truth about corrupt Conservative minister Jonathan Aitken, he called a televised press conference to issue a writ and describe me as a cancer cell, practising "bent and twisted journalism". That sort of experience gives an investigative reporter a thick skin.
But clearly the present black market in what privacy campaigners call "data rape" has got out of hand. Goodman's conviction comes at a pivotal moment. What he did has turned out already to be a serious crime under the Regulation of Investigatory Powers Act.
But Richard Thomas, the information commissioner, is lobbying for deterrent jail sentences, for the related, and widespread, technique of "blagging". He is bringing a spate of prosecutions against the private eyes who some journalists regularly use as cut-outs to make pretext phone calls to banks, tax authorities and call-centres.
Thomas says there is a public interest defence available under the Data Protection Act and honest journalists have nothing to fear. We shall have to see about that. Personally, I am resigned to seeing the tabloid cockroaches doused with a spot of legal insecticide. Driven by greedy and cynical proprietors, and making no distinction between gossipy intrusions and genuine public interest investigations, they are bringing our trade into disrepute.
· David Leigh is the Guardian's investigations editor and professor of reporting at City University
• This article was amended on 5 August 2011. The original – while attributed in the newspaper and online to David Leigh – also carried an online credit for Ian Reeves. This has been corrected.

Thursday, 4 August 2011

I may be able to help

Si le gentilhomme français de la Direction Générale des Impôts à Paris, Ile-de-France, France qui est arrivé ici à partir de Google (sur l'adresse IP en utilisant un navigateur Firefox 3.6) à la recherche de "Shahram Shirkhani" aimerait entrer en contact par e-mail, je pourrais être en mesure de lui aider - même en français

Do as I say not as I do

European Commission President Jose Manuel Barroso has warned that the sovereign debt crisis is spreading beyond the periphery of the eurozone. In a letter to European governments, he called on them to give their "full backing" to the euro currency zone. He also says governments should rapidly re-assess the European Financial Stability Fund to reduce the risk of contagion in the eurozone.

He doesn't go to the real heart of the matter and tell European governments to slow down their spending.  In factthe European politicans look more like Bernard Madoff every day - cracks are appearing in their financial structures, but so long as they can find another sucker to bail them out they can keep in business for another day without being found out.

The proper solution, and its only a start is to cut public expenditure, and we can start with the ridiculous amounts currently paid to public sector workers, such as Mr Barroso.

Rogue traders

Th BBC is dragging up the story of Nick Leeson once again in order to portray the City in a bad light.  Actually all it shows is the lax controls and one bank and the stupidity of the management at Barings.

But it is surprising that they still think that there is any interest in this story given what has happened since.  Leeson got away with his dodgy dealing by false accounting. Every time he lost money, he booked the money spent as an investment rather than as an expense.

The lesson was obviously learnt by the Labour government who were apt to call every crackpot waste of money an investment as though it was going to produce a return, which they never did.  But Leeson's folly only every ran to £1 billion, enough to bring down Barings but peanuts compared to Brown/Balls' epic £170 billion a year.

That was nearly 3.4 Leesons every week ad infinitum if they got the chance.  Why then does the BBC go on about Lesson and not about Brown?