TODAY’S FAYRE – Thursday, 16th June 2016
“I haf von funny leedle poy,
Vot gomes schust to mine knee;
Der queerst schap, der queerest rogue,
As efer you did see.
He runs, and chumps, and schmaches dings
In all barts of der house;
But vot off dat? He vas mine son,
Mine leedle Yawcob Strauss.
He get der measles and der mumbs,
Und eferyding dot’s out;
He sbills mine glass oof lager bier,
Poots schnuff indo mine kraut.
He fills mine pipe with Limburg cheese-
Dat vas der roughtest choice;
I’d take dat vrom no oder poy
But leedle Yawcob Strauss.
He asks me questions, sooch as dese;
Who baints my nose so red?
Who vas it cuts der schmoodth blace oudt
Vrom der hair ubon mine head?
Und uhere der blaze goes vrom der lamp
Vene’er der glim I douse
How gan I all dose dings eggsplain
To dot schmall Yawcob Strauss.
I sometimes dink I schall go vild
Mit sooch a grazy poy,
Und vish vonce more I gould haf rest
Und beauceful dimes enshoy;
But ven he vash asleep in ped,
So guiet as a mouse,
I prays der lord,” Dake anyding,
But leaf dot Yawcob Strauss.”
Charle Follen Adams – poet – 1842-1918
PORTCULLIS HOUSE – WEDNESDAY 15th JUNE 2016 – THIS WAS THEATRE!
I have no idea what fees Sir Philip Green paid Maitland’s Neil Bennet for his professional PR services. Whatever the amount, it was richly deserved. In terms of behaviour Sir Philip was more or less kept on the bridle for nearly 4 hours and never visibly lost his temper during the Select Committee hearings chaired by Frank Field and Ian Wright Yesterday, though he was churlish on many occasions – you could see he lives on a short fuse.
He attempted to run green from time with his brash, contemptuous and marginally rude demeanour – “Sir, do you mind not looking at me like that all the time, it’s really disturbing” he remonstrated with Tory MP Richard Fuller. I loved the way Sir Philip was so repetitive – ‘I’m not trying to run away! I suppose that is his new catch phrase. I thought Frank Field and Ian Wright played their cards brilliantly. They were more than accommodating and very deferential to the former BHS retail tycoon, considering the severity of the problem. Sir Philip constantly tried to change the agenda to what he wanted to talk about rather than ask the Committees’ searching questions. He also repeatedly said ‘I’m not in the mood to blame anyone. Mistakes were made and I’m very sorry what happened to the excellent 11k employees!”
There were three main issues. Firstly the money that was squirreled away as a dividend to Lady Tina’s account in Monaco (circa £400 million). I think ‘Her Ladyship’ is going to be summoned on this issue by these select committees.
The Committee was desperate to find out why Sir Philip’s advisors had allowed the sale of BHS to go through to Dominic Chappell’s Retail Acquisitions. Goldman Sachs, who had not been paid for their advice, will need to explain the reasons. Sir Philip acknowledged that the deal was a ‘wrong-un’ and in hindsight that Chappell lacked the experience. Sir Philip said that given his time again “I wouldn’t do the deal again.” What many found bewildering was there was no question of much in the way of remorse and culpability is not a word Sir Philip would often be associated with.
Sir Philip insisted that had everything come out in the open as regards the pension deficit of £571 million, it could have been fixed. I must confess that with 11000 employees earning an average £17k each with pension rights of roughly £8000 per annum on retirement, one would be forgiven for thinking that Sir Philip would have more than 3-4 meetings with the trustees. We are talking about a gargantuan sum of money I know the art of good management is delegation without losing control; it is essential, but there seems to have been little evidence of it. Sir Philip’s relationship with Margaret Downs the pensions’ regulator seems to have been all but not existent. Sir Philip kept droning on about the fees made by pensions’ advisors – £600k up to £1.5 million.
Anyway cutting through all the waffle and separating the wheat from the chaff, it appears that meetings will be taking place to see what can be done to find an acceptable solution to the pension deficit with the regulator and trustees. No assumption, I assume, will be taken in to account as to whether Mike Ashley is capable of saving 60-80 outlets. To date no one has yet made any demands on Sir Philip. However he is a very intelligent and savvy business man. He knows only too well that either a substantial annual payment needs to be made to the pension trustees or a very large amount must be contributed from his personal coffers to placate an extremely irate number of MPS, not forgetting the press, who will be unforgiving in the event of an unsatisfactory outcome. Also I think Sir Philip loves his gong! This saga could put “Eastenders” in the shade!
UK companies posting numbers – Thursday – Charles Stanley, Caretech, Poundland, Consort Medical
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