From the archive:-
These days Select Committee hearings focus mainly on policing and the behaviour of the tabloid press (the televised ones do, at least.) But not that long ago it was bankers who were in the spotlight.
On one occasion back in early 2010, the boss of RBS, Stephen Hester, tried to laugh off his exorbitant pay packet. Here's how this blog viewed his performance back then. (How times have changed...):-
MONDAY, 11 JANUARY 2010 - "10 million pound RBS Boss: Even my parents think I'm a greedy bastard."
RBS boss Stephen Hester gave evidence to the Treasury select committee yesterday afternoon. This is the "transcript" of that evidence.
John McFall, MP: May I ask, what do your parents think of you, Mr Hester?
Hester: They think I'm a greedy bastard.
(Roars of laughter in the committee room)
McFall: (Wiping tears from his eyes) Very good, Mr Hester. If I may say, that is an excellent joke. And one that I would expect from someone of your great stature. Now moving on, what does your wife think of you?
Hester: She thinks I'm a greedy bastard, but she likes the new kitchen.
(Derision throughout the chamber. Sound of MPs and journalists falling off their chairs)
McFall: You're in the wrong job, Mr Hester. You're a regular comedian, are you not? Were I head of light entertainment at the BBC I would pay you at least twenty million.
Hester: Indeed you would Mr McFall. Indeed you would.
(More laughter and derision.)
McFall: (Fighting to hold back the tears) Too much, too much, Mr Hester... Now, Mr H. What do your children think of you? And please, please take your time. I haven't yet wiped away all of those tears that your last joke caused.
Hester: What do my children think? Well, Tom loved the Porsche. Tallulah adored the new pony and paddock, whilst Ed thinks I'm God after I bought him the recording studio.
(The chamber descends into chaos)
McFall: I have never come across such flair, such elegant wit. I am lucky to be here at this moment in time. Indeed, very lucky. Now, Mr Hester, what do your neighbours make of you?
Hester: My neighbours think I'm a greedy bastard. That's because they are envious. They tell people in our local village that I am a tosser. But they have to be nice to my face. You see, each year my family throws the most lavish summer ball in the county. If neighbours Ron and Val don't show due deference whenever they are in my company then they will find themselves very much uninvited. So, Ron and Val... who are the tossers now, eh? Eh?
(Howls of laughter around the chamber)
McFall: (Trying to compose himself) We are witnessing pure genius. None could ever possibly question your salary, however high it might be, Mr Hester. You are indeed a man who is not simply rich in monetary terms, but also in terms of your character, your spirit and your charming humour. Now, Mr Hester. One final question: What does the taxpayer think of you, do you reckon?
Hester: The taxpayer? Who gives a fuck about them?