In an excoriating attack on the UK’s “dog of a Coalition government”, Lord Tebbit argued that the public perception of toffs at the top is largely a result of poor leadership by prime minister David Cameron. “He can overcome that by imposing some managerial discipline not just on his colleagues but on himself,” Tebbit argued. “Had Ed Miliband concentrated his [Labour conference] fire on a long list of muddles, from the proposed sale of our national forests to the BAE and energy-policy muddles of recent days, it would have been far worse.”
Tebbit advised Cameron to look towards leading lights of the Tories’ halcyon days for guidance. “The prime minister should ask Thatcher’s experienced business managers in the Lords how she avoided the sort of cock-ups that have beset his government,” he wrote. “The most popular senior officer under whom I served was Air Chief Marshal the Earl of Bandon, not because he was a toff, but because we all knew he was a brave and competent leader.”
High Street lender Halifax has been fined £4.2m for overpaying compensation to around 23,000 customers, thanks to an IT glitch. The payments were made after Halifax bosses became aware of potentially confusing information in some of its mortgage literature. However, the goodwill sums it issued ended up with customers who did not need to be compensated. After settling up with the right people, the building society was £500m out of pocket.
Tracey McDermott, director of enforcement and financial crime at the Financial Services Authority (FSA) said: “This breach is particularly serious because the inaccuracies built up over a period of seven years. There was no structure in place to identify errors as they occurred and no checking procedures thereafter.”
Ecclesiastical management has come under the spotlight with news that the 16-strong Anglican Church panel responsible for choosing Dr Rowan Williams’ replacement as Archbishop of Canterbury has collapsed into dithering. Neither of the three most-favoured candidates has been able to attract enough votes to nudge across the finish line, and a “church source” is quoted as saying that the process has become a “farce”.
NHS bosses were criticised for spending “£1billion of patients’ money” on staff redundancies at management level. According to the latest fiscal accounts from the Department of Health, £946million has been spent on severance packages for around 19,800 managers, with each package worth an average £47,500. Some 173 senior managers, meanwhile, have drawn “golden goodbyes” worth more than £200,000 each.
Following last week’s furore over the discovery of chancellor George Osborne in a first-class train carriage with just a standard ticket, the Telegraph has found that 185 other MPs have been doing pretty much the same thing. According to the paper, the Parliamentarians have been exploiting a loophole in the expenses-claims system that allows them to hop out of the cheap seats under “special circumstances”.
Leadership towards the Final Frontier warped into disunity at a London Star Trek convention, when actor Patrick Stewart refused to join the show’s other starship captains in a photo call. In the end, William Shatner (James T Kirk), Kate Mulgrew (Kathryn Janeway), Avery Brooks (Benjamin Sisko) and Scott Bakula (Jonathan Archer) had to make do with each other’s company. According to publicists for Stewart – who played Next Generation honcho Jean-Luc Picard – the thesp did not feel “prepared” for a group snap. Whatever happened to “Make it so”?