This evening's Real Story on BBC1 gave an excellent explanation of the events leading up to Farepak's collapse. It also described the misery of those facing a bleak Christmas as a result of the failure. One silver lining is that the afflicted families have been getting a lot of support from the media, the public and politicians. It can only be hoped that the DTI inquiry gets to the bottom of what happened.
It seems far too simple to blame the bank - HBoS. A company is responsible for managing its affairs - not their bank. If a company cannot persuade its bankers to continue loans, then that is the fault of the company - not the bank. The terms of operation of bank lending policies are well established. I applaud HBOS for giving £2 million to the Farepak Response Fund.
So what of Sir Clive Thompson, chairman of European Home Rental, owners of Farepak? He was last seen holidaying in Buenos Aires. 'He has given to the Farepak fund although he will not say how much. He feels he will be damned whatever he does'. Bless him. The whole thing has been a public relations Armegeddon. One can only hope that his holiday will leave him refreshed enough to pull a bit of a rabbit out of the hat. Otherwise his reputation might be described, in the style of Humphrey Lyttelton, to be 'heading inexorably towards the shredder of destiny aided by the Vent-Axia of fate'.