Andrew, a newly retired ex-shark of capitalism, doesn’t agree that Bob Diamond deserves any credit (see last post).

“I met the ****** – he’s a real insufferable ****, arrogant **** who really believes he deserves all that money,” he said, or words to that effect. I can’t do his speech justice, with my limited English, but they were beautiful, inspired, heartfelt words of somebody who believes in integrity, even in the City.

Andrew has had enough of the City. “I might sound naive to you, Sveta, but I really think people should be trying to do the right thing. I remember times when that was the case. If, while doing the right thing, you also maximise your profit, that’s fine. But now people are only concerned with what they can get away with. How is Bob Diamond different from your oligarchs? They are exactly the same”.

My own experience of the City is limited, so I tried to remember works of art that described bankers doing the right thing, and failed. The film “It’s A Beautiful Life” came to mind – its protagonist, a mortgage provider, nearly lost his life for doing the right thing. He triumphed in the end; but that’s what made it an unusual story. We all have this idea about doing the right thing and not hurting others, but the reality demonstrates time and again something quite different: that the wrong thing is a much better thing.

Bob Diamond doesn’t give a toss what Andrew and I think about him. And there probably is an honest Barclays Capital executive who has always done the right thing and has been respected and successful. But I doubt the papers will lead with that story any time soon.

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