Belfast Telegraph

Sunday 21 September 2014

Nuala McKeever: Good riddance Laurence MacKenzie - and, no, you won’t be missed

Laurence MacKenzie

Bankers to get massive bonuses again this year! Shock, horror, probe! Or rather, disgust, tutting, resigned shrugs all round.

What would it take for us, collectively, as a society, to say a resounding and effective “NO!” to the rubbish that is heaped upon us from a great height, time after time, by the small number of people who appear to be running the country?

Finding someone, anyone, who’ll actually take responsibility for making things work for US seems well nigh impossible. Honestly, it’d be easier to find a good-lookin’ member of the DUP.

Take water. No, please, do, for I’ve loads of the stuff hoarded under the sink in big bottles, just in case. No, but seriously, look at the haims over NI Water and Laurence MacKenzie-gate. Poor man, he’s about as popular as an East Enders baby-swap story line.

But seriously, how hard is it to run a water company? Well, that depends. How hard is it to run it well? We may never know. How hard is it to run it badly? Not very, by the looks of things.

This man was on £250,000 a year and yet, after days, and in some cases weeks, of thousands of people washing in Evian (upper tax bracket) and flushing the loo with lemonade (the ordinary five eighths) there was still wrangling over what level of severance package he should get when he was booted out!

Okay, sorry, I forgot. He wasn’t sacked, he resigned. Yeah right. (That’s like when a couple breaks up and he says “it was mutual.” but everyone knows she said “You’re dropped” and he said, “Oh, ok.”) Whatever. Laurence has left the building. Let’s raise our glasses to a man who oh sorry, we can’t, they’re empty.

Never mind discussing golden handshakes and golden handcuffs, the guy’s lucky he wasn’t dragged off in metal cuffs and subjected to hand gestures of the non-shake variety.

It’s just too easy to preside over a company that isn’t effective for whatever reason, taking big bucks as you go, and then complain that it was the fault of the infrastructure or the communication strategy.

Yes, Mr MacKenzie has gone but where’s the consequence for him?

I doubt very much if he’ll be signing on anytime soon.

We hear banks saying they have to pay their top people huge bonuses in order to keep them here. Why?

If these are the very “top people” who’ve made such a cock-up already, why don’t we let them go and find those brilliant jobs in other countries that are apparently theirs for the taking?

Are we really saying there aren’t other talented people here who could do the job for less?

The arrogance of individuals telling us that they’re indispensable, when they haven’t even performed their jobs properly, beggars belief!

It’s like when Wayne Rooney complains he wants more money. Sack him! What’s he gonna do? Go off and take up something equally lucrative, like brain surgery?

If government is serious about curbing bonuses and seeing that we’re “all in this together”, then a lot of bluffs need to be called.

And while we’re on the subject, what is a “government-owned company” anyway? Isn’t that an oxymoron, like “corporate responsibility” or “joined-up government”?

So, Merry Christmas Mr Laurence. Normally we would shed a tear but there appears to be something wrong with our waterworks.

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