When Bob Diamond appeared in Parliament on Thursady to explain how Barclays had managed to manipulate LIBOR rates for fice or so years without the person in charge of the part of the bank that was doing the manipulation (Mr Diamond himself) or subsequently the chap in charge of the bank (also one R Diamond) noticing he stonewalled in a style worthy of General Jackson at the first battle of Bull Run. He stood his ground without conceding an inch and without explaining a jot or tittle or iota. Presumably his arrogance is such that he felt that Parliament (elected by the people) is not worthy of an explanation.
His performance was compared to Geoffrey Boycott’s batting but I think that comparison was unfair. Boycott may have put his wicket as a wicket to be defended at all costs, but he was right so to do and he did defend his position. Mr Diamond did not defend his position but resorted to phrases which sought to conceal rather than defend. He also tried to diffuse the seriousness of the case he was called to answer by familiarity with his questioners, using their first names.
I regret that none of his questioners felt it right to pull him up on this. Perhaps they thought that they would sound self important and pompous, but if a witness is resorting to devices to enable him to create a false impression then the questioner is entitled to respond in kind. For the next occasion I suggest that they could respond thus:-
“Mr Diamond, I would appreciate if you did not use my first name. I am not being pompous but you are giving evidence to a select committee of Parliament, not chatting to me, and your familiarity is disrespectful to Parliament.”
It is a small point but an important one. Clearly Mt Diamond had prepared (or was coached) in what to say and how to say it before he went to give evidence. In those circumstances questioners have a duty to get answers which they can only get by deflecting the witness from his or her script and getting the witness to answer the questions, not create a show which gives an impression rather than giving facts.
For example, Mr diamond repeatedly professed his love for Barclays. That was a deflection. No one asked him if he loved Barclays. I am sure that he does not love Barclays at all. i am sure that Mr Diamond does love money and that love is the root of the evil that Barclays did.