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Dublin: 14 °C Sunday 18 August, 2019

AIB chair says he wouldn't hire a candidate with the 'uncombed hair' and 'racist language' of Boris Johnson

AIB chairman Richard Pym said he would be abandoning “non-committal business-person language”. And he did.

Richard  Pym, AIB Chairman, and UK prime minister hopeful, Boris Johnson.
Richard Pym, AIB Chairman, and UK prime minister hopeful, Boris Johnson.

“IF YOU MESS with an animal’s tail, you risk ending up with a dump of s**t on your own feet.”

Those were the words of the chairman of AIB, Richard Pym, while speaking about Boris Johnson at the MacGill Summer School in Glenties, in Dongeal this afternoon.  

He was referring to how the British Prime Minister-in waiting once described the relationship between Ireland, the EU and the backstop as the “tail wagging the dog”.

During a debate about the potential scars Brexit could leave on the UK and the EU, Pym told the audience at the Highland Hotel that he would not restrict his comments on such an extremely serious issue, noting he would be abandoning “non-committal business-person language”.

“As chairman of AIB I am regularly interviewing prospective new directors as we replace departing ones. New directors are required to go through very extensive honesty and probity checks and to demonstrate that their personal behaviour supports an honest culture in the bank,” the Englishman said, adding:

So, what if a candidate appeared in front of my desk with uncombed hair who had been dismissed from two previous positions in his career for … shall we say… being economical with the truth.

“If on interview the candidate’s answers were evasive, deflecting in Latin vernacular, and spattered with questionably racist language. A candidate who appeared to care about nothing bar himself, and to be flashing both non-matching socks and glimpses of a possible temper.

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.

The winner of the Tory leadership contest will be announced tomorrow, but it seems a mere formality with Johnson expected to best Jeremy Hunt.

Referring to the contest, Pym said the last remaining candidates are ”two white graduates of Oxford University”.

“They will be chosen by members of the Conservative and Unionist party, typically: white, male, 70.

People for whom Boris flourishing the sounds of Kipling, Woodhouse and the Beano echoes to the language of their childhood, when all was, of course, well with the world.

Pym added that Oxford University has produced the majority of UK prime ministers over the last century.

“For those of you struggling with the difference between Oxford and Cambridge, it is simple. Both are extraordinary world class universities, but Oxford produces the prime ministers and Cambridge the Russian spies. It is hard to know which group has done more harm to the country,” he added. 

As the Brexit clock runs down, Johnson has continually talked down the backstop, with his rival, Hunt, stating that it is “dead”. Tánaiste Simon Coveney has dismissed such assertions.
Pym said today that Johnson’s success depends on the backstop.

“If Boris becomes Prime Minister his success depends on changing the backstop. He will
confront the issue very directly and I would expect UK/Ireland relations to get difficult.

“For all her other failings Theresa May was an honest and honourable negotiator, not terms which are normally applied to Boris.

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

He said 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 added.

For Ireland, the AIB chairman said the damage from Brexit will be more serious.

If the UK decides to lower its corporation tax post-Brexit, it will herald a challenging environment for Ireland, said Pym.

He added that the Brexit vote wasn’t just a vote on Europe, it was a protest from people who felt neglected and had been persuaded that the European Union was the cause and leaving it would solve everything. “That’s what they were told,” he said.

However, he believes the UK will return back into the arms of the EU, one day.

“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.”

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