The Prime Minister Gordon Brown today praised the Phoenix Four for the orderly way in which they ran MG Rover into the ground. He is said to be impressed by the restraint and forbearance that they showed, leaving the car maker less than a billion pounds in debt and siphoning off into their own bank accounts a paltry fifty or so million pounds between them.
This week inspectors published an 830 page report costing £16m into the collapse of the car firm in 2005. It stops short of accusing the Phoenix directors of wrong doing, but it does suggest that whilst the car firm ran up huge losses, they paid themselves huge bonuses which they stashed in off-shore bank accounts. They ran roughshod over corporate governance guidelines and switched key assets out of the company into their own name. When the car firm went under 6,000 employees were thrown out of work.
However Mr Brown is said to be impressed by the small scale of the losses and the moderation that is evident from the minimal bonuses that the Phoenix directors paid themselves. In particular he is said to be ecstatic that in the light of the catastrophic losses of the automobile industry in the US, which ran to tens of billions in the case of Ford and General Motors in recent years, the losses at MG Rover are in fact to be welcomed.
"Compared to the losses in the US," said Mr Brown, "These really are small beer. It is also clear from the recent inspectors' report that there is absolutely no evidence of government incompetence, and even if there was, it would be of little consequence." Mr Brown concluded: "Let us be clear, the collapse of MG Rover is history. And on such occasions as these I like to quote the words of that late, great car maker, Henry Ford: History is bunk."