Monday 16 September 2019

 'Uncombed hair... evasive... and economical with the truth' - why AIB's chairman wouldn't give Boris Johnson a job

Richard Pym, chairman of AIB. Photo: Damien Eagers
Richard Pym, chairman of AIB. Photo: Damien Eagers
Boris Johnson. Photo: REUTERS/Simon Dawson
Jacob Rees-Mogg. Photo: REUTERS
Kevin Doyle

Kevin Doyle

Boris Johnson would not qualify for a job in the Irish banking sector because he is “economical with the truth”, the chairman of AIB has suggested.

In an extraordinary assessment of British politics, Richard Pym has said the UK is in “meltdown”.

And he described the likely next UK prime minister as somebody with “uncombed hair” who is “evasive” and uses “questionably racist language”.

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Boris Johnson. Photo: REUTERS/Simon Dawson

Mr Pym launched a scathing attack on those leading the Brexit charge, including Jacob Rees-Mogg “whom you might reasonably have thought was educated in the 19th century”.

He told the MacGill Summer School in Glenties, Co Donegal that if candidate for a job appeared at his desk with uncombed hair and a CV showing he was dismissed from two previous roles for “being economical with the truth”, he would have no chance of getting the job.

“It would be a very easy decision to reject that candidate, notwithstanding the charisma which they showed in interview.

“However, it doesn’t really surprise me that Alexander Boris de Pfeffel Johnson is a perfectly viable candidate to be prime minister of the United Kingdom… it’s just rather disappointing,” he said.

Mr Pym said the likely next prime minister is part of a set that is still taking part in the Oxford Union debate on the European Union.

“This was an issue which dominated their adolescence, and they still haven’t left it behind,” he said.

“There will be obvious damage to Ireland from Brexit, but much less than to Britain - and Ireland has the support of the rest of the EU. It isn’t facing this alone. Britain is alone and basically friendless. AIB chairman Richard Pym

The bank boss added: “Oxford produces the prime ministers and Cambridge the Russian spies. It is hard to know which group has done more harm to the country.”

On the impact of Brexit, Mr Pym predicted that the EU will remain “relatively unscathed” after the initial damage.

“Some British politicians think that Europe is just bluffing and will cave in when confronted by the British bulldog.

“This is a dangerous fallacy. The EU is massive, it’s like an elephant looking down on some irritating yapping dog,” he said.

Mr Pym said Ireland will suffer economic damage, but the Government has “prepared well”.

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Jacob Rees-Mogg. Photo: REUTERS

“There will be obvious damage to Ireland from Brexit, but much less than to Britain - and Ireland has the support of the rest of the EU. It isn’t facing this alone. Britain is alone and basically friendless," he said.

“The scars on Ireland will be finally determined by the Brexit outcome chosen by the UK,” he said.

But he concluded that the UK was likely to rejoin some form of the EU in the future.

“Countries come through these situations and I have no doubt that Britain will.

“Whether it will take 10 years or 20 I have no idea. But I fully expect Britain to be back in the EU or a successor institution at some point in the future, because European nation states have a need to cooperate and share sovereignty because the threats from outside Europe are so massive,” he said.

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