Listening to the RBS saga this week I was struck by the structural management similarities between RBS and UKIP both dominated by autocratic domineering leaders walking all over inadequate and weak boards whose alleged function is to rein in their chief execs worst follies.
On the RBS board there was a so called chairman plus a collection of well remunerated allegedly independent non executive directors who unanimously voted through the disastrous takeover of ABN Amro, a can or worms loaded with toxic debt. The killer was the Fred decision to buy ABN for cash not by issuing RBS shares. This so depleted RBS reserves that it went under in the subsequent credit crunch.
Fred has been a useful sole whipping boy for this disaster but of course the non-execs were also culpable. But as Tiny Rowlands once famously remarked non-execs serve the same purpose as Xmas decorations on your tree. They have no useful function. They collect a fat fee, typically around 80K per annum . But who appoints them? Well the chief exec usually appoints these people so its unprofitable to oppose the chief exec. You tend to end up as an ex non-exec very quickly!
Its a system wide open to abuse and manipulation. The only real check is the AGM where the board has to answer questions from the shareholders from the floor. Motions critical of the board are also discussed and voted on but these have to be submitted in advance of the meeting.
Compare this with UKIP. Farage is all powerful with huge powers of patronage to put some unusual people onto UKIP MEP slates and remove those whom he sees as his political enemies irrespective of how good they would be for UKIP. The UKIP NEC is supine and compliant kept obedient by the hopes of MEP preferment which requires unquestioning obedience to Nigel's wishes.
UKIP does have an AGM but there is not the strict rules that govern company AGMs. In fact there don't seem to be any rules at all!
As for members asking questions from the floor, forget it! The last time I was at a UKIP meeting where Farage answered members questions they all had to be submitted in writing in advance so that inconvenient questions that Mr Farage might find difficult to answer can be weeded out by the wannabee MEP chairman and never get asked.
It was amusing that at the infamous Nov NEC meeting where Mr Mottram appeared his initial question to Farage was why Farage continued to employ his wife on a fat salary when the practice was against the code of conduct. Indeed!
The other similarity is in the waste of capital by Fred and political capital by Farage. The last European elections were held just after the expenses scandal had infected and crippled LibLabCon. Never was there such a propitious moment for UKIP. The three main political EU phile parties had all shot themselves in the foot at once. It was a chance that will never come again for UKIP. Farage and the cabal pissed the chance away. They got one more MEP than at the election 5 years previously!
They are incapable of converting the huge anti-EU sentiment in the UK into meaningful electoral results that will kick start our exit from the EU. Instead the Cabal prefer to squabble over the the mess of potage thrown to them by the EU.
Which organisation has been worse led RBS or UKIP? Well at least RBS have now got new leadership. UKIP has not. It is under the total control of the Cabal who will ensure new leadership won't happen. The EU gravy train is what they want. That is why they are in UKIP.