Astonishing, punishment comes after proof of guilt

The decision on whether Sir Philip Green is stripped of his knighthood could be delayed for years after the forfeiture committee chairman said they will wait for BHS probes to end.

But how can we do populism with this sort of attitude?

18 comments on “Astonishing, punishment comes after proof of guilt

  1. An outrageous slur. People on twitter baying for the punishment of an individual for reasons they don’t fully comprehend isn’t populism. Populism is when you grudgingly consult the electorate on the direction of their country for the foreseeable future and they come up with an answer you dislike.

    Delete this horrid post.

  2. Actually you do Alice’s Queen an injustice. While she insisted on the sentence before the verdict, she did actually listen to the evidence before either.

  3. kicked into the long grass, so that the Twitter Mongocracy find a new Emmanuel Goldstein to have their 2 minute hate at.

  4. He shouldn’t have been given a Knighthood in the first place and Brenda should really clamp down on this sort of thing.
    I mean did he slay a dragon, discover a new continent or sink an Armada ?

  5. But surely, knighthoods are populism made official, in today’s age. Awarded in accordance with presumed public acclaim. So they’re removal by public disdain would be entirely appropriate.

  6. I’m just waiting for the result of whatever deal. And the deals then that hundreds of other pension funds in deficit will then try and do with people who aren’t involved with them.

  7. What exactly is PG guilty of? Owning a failing business in a declining sector (high street retail) at the same time the State decides to artificially reduce interest rates to unprecedentedly low levels by printing billions of new pounds?

  8. Didn’t Sir Phil sell off BHS before the interest rates tanked?

    So he would be guilty of selling a failing business which subsequently found itself with a large pension fund deficit due to the State deciding to artificially reduce interest rates to unprecedentedly low levels by printing billions of new pounds

  9. BiW

    Not really. He sold it in 2014.

    But we do know (from Companies House accounts filed) that there was no very material difference between BHS’s financial position at the time of purchase (in 2000 or so) and that at the crash in 2008.

    In that dividends extracted didn’t overwhelm profits earned after tax for that period, and the BHS balance sheet was perfectly sound at 2008.

    Then recession (hits underlying store profitability) and interest rate falls / QE (causes anticipated pension liabilities to increase more than its comparable pension assets, creating a defciit).

    By the time of sale in 2014, the pension deficit wasn’t hugely south of £100m (if my memory is right, might need to check), which is far less than some of the current numbers being bandied around or the current deficit (the increase in which arguably has mostly been caused by current gov’t policy).

    Isn’t the real issue whether the sale of BHS for £1 in 2014 to an ex bankrupt was contrived in some way (ie a way for the group to avoid liability knowing that the sale might not succeed)? If yes, then that would be a more valid cause for complaint?

    Separately, I’ll never understand why someone like that gets given a gong in the first place…

  10. And (for clarity) not only was the NHS balance sheet sound at 2008, there was also no pension deficit recorded in that year’s accounts. Ie, the pension deficit arose from 2008 onwards.

  11. To be honest, I think it is marginally better to knight CEOs than chaps who run fast and live in Oregon. However, it is like getting the Queen’s Award for Industry: once you get it, everything you touch turns to dust

  12. PF – “But we do know (from Companies House accounts filed) that there was no very material difference between BHS’s financial position at the time of purchase (in 2000 or so) and that at the crash in 2008.”

    I don’t think we do know that. We know that Green bought it in 2000 for £200 million. We know that Green tried to sell it in 2005 and 2006. In 2007 he was said to be asking £450 million for it.

    We do know that in 2015 he sold it to some chancer for all of £1.

    This is where the underpants gnomes come in with their missing second step. Where were all the other bidders? What did the market know in 2015 that they did not know in 2000? Why do no respectable firm touch BHS with a ten foot barge pole? Even at the knock down price of £1.50?

    Even in 2005 he could not get anyone to take him seriously. Well before the Crash. But interestingly enough around that time he transferred £1.2 billion to the wife as a dividend payment.

  13. ” In 2007 he was said to be asking £450 million for it.

    We do know that in 2015 he sold it to some chancer for all of £1.

    This is where the underpants gnomes come in with their missing second step. Where were all the other bidders? What did the market know in 2015 that they did not know in 2000? ”

    You’ve obviously not been paying attention if you can’t think of one thing that might conceivably have seriously negatively impacted the profitability of a High Street retail chain between 2000 and 2015. And that might have created a massive pension deficit between 2007 and 2015.

  14. SMFS

    PF – “But we do know (from Companies House accounts filed) that there was no very material difference between BHS’s financial position at the time of purchase (in 2000 or so) and that at the crash in 2008.”

    I don’t think we do know that.

    Err, actually, yes we do, it’s on public record:

    https://beta.companieshouse.gov.uk/company/00229606

    What did the market know in 2015 that they did not know in 2000?

    That’s not a serious question (Jim’s beaten me to it).

    Even in 2005 he could not get anyone to take him seriously.

    I am presuming that you are trying to say that he was asking too much for it.

    But interestingly enough around that time he transferred £1.2 billion to the wife as a dividend payment.

    £1.2 million from the whole Arcadia group – of which £420m (roughly if memory is correct) fed up from BHS (to the Group holding co).

    btw, any price paid (had there been a sale) would have increased / decreased according to excess reserves / free cash / debt in the company at the time of sale. Hence, taking dividends would have had little impact on Green’s cumulative profit or loss from any such sale at that time had he found a buyer.

    To repeat, the financial position (and I mean its balance sheet, which you can easily check at Companies House) was perfectly sound and robust in 2008 (look at the accounts for March 2008, latest in effect prior to the crash) and not materially different (in scale terms) from that at 2000.

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