February 2009 comments: “For Risk Management read Mismanagement”

It has been extremely interesting watching the televised ‘grilling’ of Bankers by the Treasury Select Committee over recent days.

What occurs to me is the stark parallels which can be drawn from the way the Banks were (mis)managed and the way we (mis)manage the coast.

It seems to me the demise of the Banks (which has led to financial chaos) is due largely to suspect ‘Risk Management’ techniques and the marked absence of good old fashioned sound banking principles and practice. The result is financial chaos on an unprecedented scale.

As regular users of this website will know I have repeatedly questioned and condemned Government’s ‘Risk Management’ approach to coast management and have oft times denounced it as pushing us ever closer to ‘coastal chaos’. As each week, month and year roll by more and more evidence from all around the country (see www.nvcc.org.uk ) is emerging which clearly indicates that ,with current ‘Risk Management’ techniques and approach, we are indeed laying the foundations for coastal chaos particularly for future generations.

I feel sure the ex bosses of HBOS Bank now wish they had listened to the ‘whistle blower’ within their own organisation rather than getting rid of him. He certainly has my sympathies and admiration because he not only recognised the folly of his employers ways he was brave enough to tell them (we need more people like him) and that, quite unjustly, cost him his job.

Problem is once a major corporation (in this case HBOS) or Central Government (in this case with its management of the coast) have commited to take us all down the ‘wrong road’ it becomes a Herculean task to get them to change and adopt a more appropriate (safer) course by applying more precautionary principles.

In spite of their political protestations to the contrary funding for coast protection has, and continues to be, reduced year on year and is now at a dangerously low level.

Surely it has never been more appropriate to believe that ‘Risk Management’ equates to MisManagement.

The burning question is, will Central Government emulate the Banks and ignore all warnings until it is too late only then to be forced to adopt a safer more appropriate policy or will it see sense in time?

Either way there is but one thing for absolute certain, it is you and me the average bloke in the street not the Bankers not the Politicians who will have to fund the whole sick mess whichever way they go.

Malcolm Kerby (12 February 2009)