The One Show on BBC1 this evening ran a package which looked at reputation, or rather the loss of it. It featured Gerald Ratner, the multi-millionaire High Street jeweller who famously lost everything with a merry quip to 3000 businessmen at an Institute of Directors conference, about his products being “total crap”.
He talked to Jonathan Aitken, the disgraced ex-Government Minister who served seven of an eighteen month sentence for perjury in 1999, thereby destroying his own reputation.
It was an odd comparison – a high flying businessman whose poor judgement cost him dear, and someone who had it all, but whose dealings with leading Saudis led to a subsequent investigation by The Guardian and Granada TV’s World in Action programme. His “double bluff” press conference, three hours before Granada’s programme was screened gave rise to his now infamous “Sword of Truth” speech, which was later used against him in Granada’s “Dagger of Deceit” programme.
Gerald Ratner – who how owns Britain’s second largest online jeweller – might have been a bit daft, but he wasn’t criminally dishonest.