Friday, October 17, 2003

The admission by Matt Barrett, the £1.7m-a-year chief executive of Barclays, that he does not use his company's or anyone else's credit cards to borrow money "because it's too expensive" is not the Gerald Ratner-esque faux pas it's being portrayed as by the media.

Barrett's bald admission that his company made half-yearly pre-tax profits of £1.96bn by ripping off its customers with usurious interest rates of around 17.9% is exactly what the consumer needs to hear.

If only Imperial Tobacco CEO Gareth Davis would stand up and say that his company has seen profits jump by 40% by increasing sales of products which kill 120,000 people in the UK each year (Source: ASH).

Similarly, it would be refreshing if Michael Turner, boss at arms maker BAE Systems, would come clean about the £20m slush fund his company allegedly keeps to bribe Saudi officials (I should stress that BAE denies any wrongdoing.)

Matt Barrett may be a loathsome fat cat -- but at least he's an honest loathsome fat cat.


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