The article in question was unfair and vindictive. Although normally a sort of live and let live, what’s for lunch and is there wine sort of fellow, I let things pass, but this one really made my English middle class blood boil. I was so miffed I had a mind to write a very stern letter to the editor. That would show them eh? But then I remembered I got this blog thingy going and it’s my own little universe and I can yell from my little pulpit here in my own corner of the blogosphere to my heart’s content. So here I go.
The article was about Nick Leeson and his comments about the world of finance. I was just getting into finance when the Barings bank thing exploded or imploded (however you want to see it) so I have always been fascinated by the story. As financial collapses go, due to the enormity of the collapse caused by Mr. Leeson’s actions, he became a household name as the biggest investment scandal of a generation captured the world’s attention.
I’m sure the journalist meant her comments to be funny, but then again a bully putting the head of a smaller weaker kid in a toilet bowl and flushing probably thinks it’s funny too… at the time.
The article implied that since Nick Leeson committed a crime, if his child got into finance then they’d be liable to commit one as well.
“Somebody call the Financial Conduct Authority – and fast.
But before FCA boss Martin Wheatley and his City cops open a new file labelled “Leeson”, be reassured that the man who manipulated Barings’ management accounts and the trade data feed – “ as heinous as it could get” – tells me his eldest child, a daughter aged 19, has no plans to follow in his footsteps.”
Mr. Leeson was convicted of a crime for which he has served his sentence. That should be the end of it. (He hasn’t exactly paid for his crime, obviously, as the bill was a few hundred million) But of course it wasn’t and never is with things as big as this. The Barings collapse was too big of a story. It became financial history, books were written a film was made, with Ewan McGregor starring no less.
Leeson has had to live with it and perhaps he has even turned it into a nice little earner on the after dinner speaking circuit. But make no mistake, what happened with Barings defined Leeson (for good or ill) for the rest of his life.
Unfortunately due to his (in)famous name his children will no doubt have had to bear a heavy burden throughout their lives. Children should not have to pay for the sins of their parents. Having his teenage daughter be the butt of a joke in a major newspaper is a cheap shot and deeply unfair. Leeson I’m sure can take it, but his daughter needn’t and shouldn’t have to. How could a 19 year old defend herself against a major newspaper? It’s no different to bullying. Having a laugh at the expense of the defenceless and innocent.