George Monbiot’s imaginary banker

Posted on October 10, 2012

It is easy, as they say, to start believing your own spin. Perhaps in time such a disease creeps over everyone in the public eye, as they increasingly come to live up (or down) to the shorthand summary of themselves which they once invented for marketing purposes.

Whether it comes for us all or not, it has certainly come for the Guardian’s George Monbiot. Two weeks ago, George tweeted this:

The immediate reaction was to point out that if you can’t remember who did it, it obviously wasn’t that “famous”.

However, weeks have now passed, and the name of this wicked “head of a bank” still hasn’t emerged. Not one of Monbiot’s 52,281 twitter followers could name him, and the article which he presumably intended to use the anecdote has yet to appear.

For that matter, fish-keeping friends tell me that the size of a tank you’d need in order to keep a pike would be umanageably huge.

Could it be that this “famous”, Bond-villain, “head of a bank” didn’t in fact exist? Could it be – whisper it – that George Monbiot’s memory has started matching up to his view of the world, even when it didn’t actually happen?

Perhaps I’m wrong – and if anyone can find me proof of the “head of a bank [who] famously kept a pike in a tank in his office and would feed it live goldfish” then I will donate £50 to Greenpeace. I get a feeling my £50 is quite safe.

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Categories: Opinion, Politics, Westminster

27 Responses

  1. Lee Alley:

    Sigh… Monbiot just doesn’t think in the right dimensions – a proper, baddie head of a bank would have a proper pike, strategically positioned to fend off mounted hordes (or police coming to start their enquiries – although coming along mounted could be seen as OTT, or perhaps the Countryside Alliance, albeit charging at brisk walking pace) and the tank would be a T-72 with proper reactive armour. Any less doesn’t satisfy the universe mastering reputational requirements Monbiot and the press have bestowed, and keeping fish is a bit desultorily comic and underwhelming on the part of any self respecting arch-baddies.

    16.10.2012 13:06 Reply

    • Dr Evil:

      A proper baddie would have sharks. With frickin’ laser beams on their heads. What do I pay you people for?

      17.10.2012 15:54 Reply

  2. Hannah Barbera:

    I believe the Executive was Richard Millhaus Dastardly. He was CEO of WR Banking Group back in the 80s…

    Drat… foiled again

    16.10.2012 13:10 Reply

  3. John o scrotes:

    What is your problem? Reporter asks for clarification, no one responds, so no article is written.

    16.10.2012 13:22 Reply

    • markwallace:

      First up, he’s not a reporter – he’s a columnist, professionally opinionating and analysing. Which makes this insight into his natural bias revealing.

      16.10.2012 17:36 Reply

      • john o scrotes:

        Okay a columnist then. Pedant. A COLUMNIST asked for information and did not get it. No article was written. 300 words on a non-event is also revealing.

        16.10.2012 19:04 Reply

        • markwallace:

          It’s not pedantry, it’s an important distinction. If this guy is paid a small fortune to spread supposed insight to the public, then it’s important to learn that he apparently believes myths about whole sectors of the economy.

          17.10.2012 09:44 Reply

          • Graham Barker:

            John O Scrotes is spot on. You’re flogging a dead horse.

            17.10.2012 11:00

          • Aaron D Highside:

            I never reply to scrotes, Mark.

            17.10.2012 11:44

        • sackcloth and ashes:

          No, this is Moonbat showing typical form.

          This is the same man who offered a £9,000 bounty for any ‘Guardian’ reader who was prepared to perform a citizen’s arrest on Tony Blair for ‘war crimes’ (, without of course checking if he had the legal right to do so. Hence his comment on his site – ‘There remains no comprehensive account of the legal status of this crime around the world, so we are inviting people with knowledge of the law in their own countries to send in their assessments. If you can help, please send a summary of no more than 300 words, and we will post it up here’.

          Moonbat is also on record describing air travel as being akin to child abuse (, which given his use of said means for his book tours to the USA clearly makes him the moral equivalent of Marc Dutroux.

          He is a hypocritical cock who deserves our contempt.

          17.10.2012 15:55 Reply

  4. HJ:

    Maybe he was thinking of Pike & Wilson from Dad’s Army?!

    16.10.2012 14:37 Reply

  5. HJ:

    Maybe he was thinking of Pike & Mainwairing from Dad’s Army?!

    16.10.2012 14:38 Reply

  6. Mike Spilligan:

    I think it unlikely that GM ever reads cheap novels, but maybe he does when no one’s looking – tho’ I can’t suggest which one it was.

    16.10.2012 15:20 Reply

  7. JVOC:

    Not Pike, but Piranha.. Courtesy of Emma Jacobs in the FT.

    The nice negotiator

    High quality global journalism requires investment. Please share this article with others using the link below, do not cut & paste the article. See our Ts&Cs and Copyright Policy for more detail. Email to buy additional rights.

    Clive Rich’s father Paul was a crooner best known for his 1946 song “Cruising Down the River”. It went to number one and stayed there for six months. For this, his huge hit, he received the paltry sum of £10. “If I’d negotiated [his contract], I would have got a better deal,” says Mr Rich junior.

    You would hope so. For Mr Rich negotiates deals for a living – either coaching executives before doing a deal, holding their hand while they negotiate or doing a deal on their behalf.

    High quality global journalism requires investment. Please share this article with others using the link below, do not cut & paste the article. See our Ts&Cs and Copyright Policy for more detail. Email to buy additional rights.

    The mild-mannered, softly spoken 51-year-old, who has a sensible white T-shirt under his crisp white shirt, could not be further from the stereotype of tough-as-nails negotiators such as the infamous divorce lawyer Raoul Felder, author of such guides as Bare Knuckle Negotiation, and Carl Icahn, the corporate raider. Mr Felder has the reputation of being a shark and indeed had a fish tank in his office containing piranhas. During tricky meetings, he claimed he fed live goldfish to the flesh-eating fish, generating loud biting crunches.

    17.10.2012 09:49 Reply

    • markwallace:

      Interesting spot, JVOC – so piranha, not pike, and err not a banker either. Raoul Felder apparently is a divorce lawyer…

      17.10.2012 10:13 Reply

  8. Disgusted of Neasden:

    Well, that’s another urban myth launched.

    Actually, I’m guessing pike are a more endangered species than goldfish. So the banker was just doing his bit for conservation.

    17.10.2012 09:51 Reply

  9. Todge:

    It was Dr Evil, and they were mutated Sea Bass armed with laser beams!

    17.10.2012 09:54 Reply

  10. Prodicus:

    Don’t tell him, Pike.

    17.10.2012 10:32 Reply

  11. Buffonory:

    “important to learn that he apparently believes myths about whole sectors of the economy.”

    Or rather an old anecdote about one person who possibly worked in it. This blog is seriously desperate stuff.

    17.10.2012 10:33 Reply

    • markwallace:

      And yet here you are, commenting on it…

      17.10.2012 13:20 Reply

  12. Ethan:

    Don’t tell him your name Pike!

    17.10.2012 10:35 Reply

  13. therealguyfaux:

    So it wasn’t a banker and it wasn’t a pike, but otherwise the story might be true? “George Washington’s Axe,” the one with which he chopped down the cherry tree, guaranteed to be the genuine article, although the axe head and the handle have been replaced over the years.

    17.10.2012 10:38 Reply

    • Bill Quango MP:

      And so has the tree.
      Father I cannot tell such a small lie. I’m a politician and I’m only good with whoppers.

      17.10.2012 11:02 Reply

    • Ethan:

      Good analagy but a bit dated. May I suggest you substitute your GW axe for ‘Trigger’s Broom.’. Fifteen new heads and three new handles. But the broom is still in tip top condition.

      Moonbat of course is currently on sabbatical …with the fairies.

      17.10.2012 11:22 Reply

  14. Penfold:

    Lack of evidence or proof doesn’t normally stop the left from making claims/allegations or offering some anecdotal story to bolster a particular piece.
    Monbiot must be losing his touch and gaining touch with reality.
    Cripes, he’ll soon have both feet on the ground……….what a thought.

    17.10.2012 12:44 Reply

  15. Sergeant Wilson:

    It was the evil “head” of the Warmington on Sea branch on the National Provincial Bank

    17.10.2012 14:54 Reply

  16. Matt:

    Moron Monbiot has been making things up to support his lunatic worldview for his entire career, so no change there then.

    Like Polly, Rushbridger, and the rest of the grossly hypocritical, non reality based, community of the left he believes that the truth is what he decides it is and that anyone who does not agree with his views is a dangerous ……… (whatever) denier who should be shot.

    As ever it remains the left who indulge in the real social fascism and abuse of the truth in pursuit of their bonkers aims.

    17.10.2012 22:55 Reply

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