Financial markets aren’t all that different to the open seas. Nations battle to extend their influence, pirates pounce from hidden bays to swipe their ill gotten gains and the Europeans try to stop Britain ruling the waves.
So you would think the UK’s chief financial regulator would be chuffed to be mentioned in the same breath as the nation’s greatest Naval hero, Admiral Horatio Lord Nelson, a man so keen for a barney he looked through his telescope with his blind eye at the Battle of Copenhagen so as to pretend he did not see the order to withdraw.
This week, Admiral Martin Lord Wheatley was grilled by the public accounts committee over why the regulator is not probing the launch of the HMS Royal Mail and he must have seen it as a poke in the eye (sorry) when Labour MP and committee member Austin Mitchell quipped that the half-blind Nelson would have made a great chief regulator. It could have been worse. Mitchell could have compared him with former FSA boss Howard Davies, who the Treasury select committee previously accused of being asleep at the wheel over the split-cap crisis, or Sir Hector Sants, who suffered many a mauling in front of parliamentary committees.