Friday, March 13, 2009

Do I Entirely Believe This?

I have no real insight into Binyam Mohamed's detention and suffering in Guantanamo but:

In the interview, extracts of which were broadcast on Radio 4's Today programme, he said he was questioned by a middle-aged man with a ponytail claiming to be "Jim from the FBI".

Jim reportedly said he was a special agent sent from Washington to ask questions on behalf of the White House.

Now the pony tail doesn't fit with any of the FBI Special Agents I have ever met - even the female ones. (US) Special Forces, wannabee "Military Contractors", possibly the CIA (although if I had ever met any of them I wouldn't be allowed to talk about it even if I knew) but not the FBI. They are the definition of "square" as it applies to dress and demeanour.

Thursday, March 12, 2009

I just wish

Lord Ahmed's barrister, Jeremy Baker QC, had argued the jail sentence could "irreparably and permanently" damage Lord Ahmed's ability to carry out community work in the future.

Oh, please. Anything to stop what that egregious fool considers "community work".

And more of the similar

Thanks to Steven at the Unspeak blog (I haven't read his book but it is now on the Amazon wish-list), I discovered the GSAT (Geek Social Aptitude Test). I got a measly 13 (out of 50).

Which, if you remember my 98% on the Geek Test, is somewhat worrying. Am I an amazingly social (Ed notes: no, not that) uber-geek? Or just a miserable wannabe with an abiding interest in trivia?

Oh, dear.

According to this test, I am apparently channelling Wesley Crusher. I am so disappointed I am not going to post the html.

By blog-iquette, a hat tip should go to Roger but I think a hat-pin may be more suitable.

Tuesday, March 10, 2009

A bunch of wibble dropped from a great height.

Thanks to somebody else and I am afraid I've forgotten who (sorry), this blog, via "Wordle":

Wordle: Surreptitious Evil

Click to enlarge ...

Repeat 100 times: I must stop talking about bankers ...

Sunday, March 08, 2009

Actions may speak louder but ...

There are no words of condemnation, as of 08:40 Sunday 8th March, of last night's murder of soldiers from 38 Engineer Regiment, from the political wing of the IRA via websites (main or Assembly), twitter feed or MSM.

Nor anything from Her Majesty's Deputy First Minister for the Province.

Though I did spot this and this.

I just don't have the words for it.

Wednesday, March 04, 2009

When "In-Band" isn't the best idea.

I got a brace of notes yesterday from an official (EU) mailing list I receive, telling me that I had been removed from the list, for 44969, 58107 and finally 63623 delivery errors.  By email.

Tuesday, March 03, 2009

The Myth of "Banking Qualifications"

It's a great rallying call for modern credentialism, isn't it, from last week's Private Eye:

Q: Who is the odd man out from the following list?

Lord Stevenson, HBOS; Andy Hornby, HBOS; Sir Fred, RBS; Sir Tom McKillop, RBS; John McFall, MP; A strategically shaved badger, MP & Treasury; Sir Terry Wogan, everywhere.

A: Terry - has a banking qualification.

Well, well.  The great and the good.  Unqualified for the positions they find themselves in.  And I sure Sir Terry doesn't even have a BA in Radio Presenting, or even an NVQ2 in Modern Music Analysis.  Edited to add: And, of course, Ian Hislop's degree is in English Lit, not in Journalism, so he is clearly unqualified to be the editor of a satirical news magazine and should quit with immediate effect.

What a load of fatuous bollocks.

Back in ancient times, when I ran a banking team, it was very highly qualified, had an extensive training budget, and everyone was a full member of at least one professional body (normally the BCS).  None of us had a "banking qualification".  

Q: Why ever not, you complete fraud?

A: Because we weren't providing banking advice to customers, numbskull.

In fact, we once sent back a whole bunch of business cards because they had the "will only give advice on our own products" FSA disclaimer on the back - and we pointed out that if we were giving advice on any financial products, we were so far outside the rules, the disclaimer wasn't going to help.

There is nothing wrong with banking qualifications and for the people at the customer-interacting level, they are to be encouraged.  There is nothing wrong with working your way up within a business - from the shop-floor to the boardroom.  Equally, there is nothing wrong with being in a more specialist area - law, accountancy, IT - or being a generic business manager - and getting to board level.

Let's just look at the Chartered Institute of Banking in Scotland and their "Chartered Banker" Qualification:

  • Professionalism and Ethics
SECTION A - CORE SUBJECTS (Candidates must complete at least one credit from this section)
  • Retail Banking
  • Business Banking
  • Building Society Operations
  • UK Financial Services
SECTION B - CORE SUBJECTS (Candidates must complete at least three credits from this section)  
  • Financial Management 
  • Business Law
  • Financial Economics
  • Management Strategy and Leadership 
In addition to the 5 credits achieved by completing the compulsory elements, candidates must complete a further 6 credits from Sections A, B and C.

Half Credits
  • The Compliant Person and Regulatory Risk
  • Credit Risk Practice 
  • Private Banking and Wealth Management
  • International Business 
  • Customer Relationship Management
  • Operational Risk Management 
  • Project Management
  • Money Laundering 
  • Financial Crime 
Full Credits
  • Corporate Finance
  • Managing People 
  • Marketing and Selling Financial Services
  • Call Centre Management
  • Investment 

Now, is this really the level of qualification you would require in somebody at board level?  I am not saying that none of the modules would help but, compared to, say, an MBA and appropriate experience?  Just what in this would have given Sir Fred, or whoever, the insight into international interconnectivity to predict the US mortgage security debacle?  Why is it now considered necessary for you to have a qualification for everything?

I mean, the only qualification necessary to be an MP is that you wore the right colour rosette?

Sunday, March 01, 2009

Illiberal & Undemocratic

While reviewing the latest effluvia from the odious Harman, I saw:

"Nobody disputes that Sir Fred should be deprived of his pension," said its Treasury spokesman Vince Cable.

Nobody?  Are you entirely sure, Vince?  There are quite a few people speaking up for the rule of law and holding to contracts voluntarily engaged in.  You're clearly not listening to them, mind, but people like you never do.

Class War!

One of the things my English colleagues fail to understand about Scottish politicians is that you actually have the good ones in UK Cabinet positions.  When you consider that means I am talking about such luminaries of the current or recent world stage as Broon, Broone, Darling and Reid (although Bliar is Scottish, true, he was never a "Scottish policitian" per se), just think what that says about those left behind or on the back benches?

Now, Jim Sheridan, true light of the radical commune, sits in Westminster, and you are welcome to him!
Jim Sheridan, Labour MP for Paisley and Renfrewshire North, has also asked the Metropolitan Police to investigate the activities of senior bankers.

Has this bigoted moron got no idea of the difference between crime and incompetence? With his colleagues in the nU-Lab conspiracy desperately moving us to le Code Napoleon, he is demanding:
I think it's only right and proper that the police has access to all the transactions to make sure what has happened is either down to bad judgement or incompetence.

Neither bad judgement nor incompetence are police matters. They may be civilly actionable, if they amount to negligence or breach of contract but for fuck's sake.  What an utter cunt.  He is so appalling, I wondering why he isn't a list MSP.

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