BARCLAYS BEFORE A BRITISH PARLIAMENTARY SELECT COMMITTEE

Translated from the French by Tim Gupwell

I watched the hearing of Bob Diamond live, who had resigned the day before from his post as Chief Executive of the British bank Barclays.

Diamond was extremely polite but his tactics in response to the questions posed him were very skilful: the more brutally a British parliamentarian interrogated him, the more he highlighted in his answer the complicity that had previously bound them together, frequently resorting to the use of his interrogators’ first names in the answers he gave (playing on the fact that they would  be forced to pass this familiarity off as being some sort of ‘Americanism’, forgivable in the name of good international relations), or saying for example, “John, that’s a subject which, as you know, we have already discussed in the past, you and me, on many occasions…”, etc.

Obviously Diamond’s intention is to save his reputation and his past bonuses (for which he maintains that it is Barclays which is responsible rather than him). But for you and me, who don’t know him or the others personally, the impression given out was that all these respectable people, the  accusers just as much as the accused, are in reality best of friends and are essentially indulging in a spot of theatre for PR reasons; a staged hostility, a pure façade of antagonism.