Wednesday, 6 May 2009

Homer Hornby

I've spotted a great line in the select committee report on the banking crisis. It's from ex-HBOS chief exec Andy Hornby, in response to criticisms of the bank's approach to risk management:
"I really do believe we listened to siren voices very carefully." (para 47 if you're interested)
Err, Andy, siren voices are the ones that lure you onto the rocks. You don't want to listen to them even a little bit. You should get someone to fill your ears with wax rather than listen to them, or tie yourself to something so you can't do any damage if you do hear them.

3 comments:

Nick Drew said...

if you look at the whole transcript you'll find the the 'siren voices' nonsense persisted around the table for several minutes, until one of the Tories on the Committee coughed and said, in a kindly corrective manner, actually, I think siren voices are ones to be ignored ...

it's so British to be too polite to correct verbal faux pas like that ! but then again, once you start, where would it end ?

(elide, that's my favourite one: often used, but there's no bugger that knows what it means - search on the Grauniad for numerous shocking examples)

Tom P said...

I presume they thought it meant siren as in a police siren, but it's hardly an obscure story is it? maybe I'm assuming too much!

even more surprising that it's in the report if it was pointed out during the hearings that they had misunderstood the meaning. maybe those writing the report were having a laugh?

Nick Drew said...

either having a laugh or being irredeemably uneducated, I know which I think

incidentally I went back to look at the Minutes and the gentle correction I mentioned (which was by Andrew Tyrie) has somehow slipped out of the transcript !

there is another explanation, which is that when the idiot who first mis(used) the phrase, Colin Breed (LibDem) said it, everyone understood what he meant and, as a sort of courtesy, just carried on using it that way

an interesting case for Philosophy-of-Language students ...

but only stupidity explains it being in the written report