Tuesday, July 17, 2018

Art Of Blunder, Or How To Be A Failure And Still Get Rewards

by J.N. PAQUET (writer), London, UK, April 11, 2009


No one would ever imagine that the UK terror chief could show off an ultra-confidential and ultra-sensitive piece of information to the press about a current anti-terrorist operation...

No one would ever imagine that the UK terror chief could, deliberately or not, show off an ultra-confidential and ultra-sensitive piece of information to the press about a current anti-terrorist operation, which, if disclosed, could actually jeopardise the whole of the operation and put at risk the agents involved. Even in a James Bond film…


Unfortunately sometimes real life goes far beyond the fiction! Unbelievable yet true, last Wednesday, Bob Quick, the most senior counter-terrorism officer in the United Kingdom, was photographed in Downing Street carrying two folders and a briefing paper for the Prime Minister, Gordon Brown. Nothing less ordinary except that the document was giving away information about “Operation Pathway” and clearly displaying intelligence about “suspected AQ (al Qaeda) driven attack”, the immigration status of the eleven suspects and the location of the targets to be raided, seven addresses in Manchester, Merseyside and Lancashire.

Within a few minutes, the picture of Bob Quick carrying the secret document was available around the world and inevitably displayed online. The document was no longer secret! John O’Connor, the former commander of Scotland Yard, has said that “you could not get a more serious breach of security”.


Bob Quick, 49, lost the confidence of the Home Secretary, Jacqui Smith, and had no choice on Thursday but to resign from his £110,000 a year job. And expressing his “deep regret” for what happened (police raids originally planned for 2.00am on Thursday morning, had to be carried out 24 hours ahead of schedule and in some cases in public places, putting people at risk…), he walks away with an “index-linked police pension” worth £110,000 a year! (or £85,000 a year plus a lump sum of about £520,000)

That’s an interesting six-figure pension deal, especially for someone who has quite miserably failed in doing his job, i.e. protect the public by keeping a secret… secret! And Prime Minister Brown went on saying: “I have spoken to Bob Quick this morning and I have thanked him for his years of service. He has apologised for what went wrong yesterday.”

Maybe Gordon Brown should have simply said: “No, you will not receive any monies! Look, you have put the officers’ teams at risk, you have put the public at risk, and finally you have put the United Kingdom at risk… So I am opposed to you receiving this pension as you leave!” But would he dare?


Basically, in the world of the “powerful people” (that includes bankers, NHS and Councils executives, CEOs, etc.), if one fails lamentably in doing their job, they get paid an extra cash or shares, to thank them for their… failure! That’s an odd and immoral way to award people, isn’t it?

What about role models then? What will Chris (who has recently been told by his bosses at Visteon that the car component plant in Enfield, north London, is about to close with the loss of all jobs) think of it? What will children (hearing that in our society the bad guys always deserve awards…) think of it?

These so-called “powerful people” are the drug dealers of the modern world. And in most cases, their drug is the Tax Man’s money since the Government has decided to save the banks (Northern Rock was for example taken into “temporary” public ownership, as HM Treasury said), the car industry, etc. with the money coming from the financial income of people every month. They are failures, but still they get the cash!


London, where bonuses dropped 62%, is the worst-hit main financial centre for banking compensation this year. And it is no surprise that bankers and hedge fund managers call a “witch hunt” the attempt by the world leaders of the G20 to scrap their bonuses and regulate them for the first time.

So, the G20 has ended, everybody was happy, full of hopes and… and… we come back to the old ways! For the last few days, we heard in the news that Bob Diamond, Barclays’ highest paid executive, is to receive about £5million after the bank sold one of its most profitable divisions. Eric Daniels, chief executive of Lloyds Banking Group has been given bonus shares worth around £2m. Last year, the life insurer Standard Life has awarded its directors with bonuses (between £380,000 and £879,000) despite profits collapsing and a £25bn decline in its investments from 2007. Bonuses given by Councils around Britain to their staff amounted to £63 million, last year, with individual sums paid out as high as £45,000 to the chief executive of Westminster Council… etc.


Fortunately, there are cases when the public debate (with the involvement of everyone, MPs, companies, trade unions, Government, etc.) can bring companies to rethink their strategy over Bonuses. A few days ago, Heineken NV, the world’s third-largest brewer, withdrew a proposal which could have seen an increase in the bonuses of its top executives. Let’s just hope this is not an isolated case and that other companies will understand how unethical and wrong the method is.

[article first published at: ]

About the Writer

J.N. PAQUET is a writer for BrooWaha. For more information, visit the writer's website.
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