A headline in the Sunday Times reported on this, at first glance, unlikely alliance given that last year Mandelson had called Diamond the “unacceptable face of banking”. However both men are too clever and self-serving to let politics interfere with their own interests.
Diamond is too bright and experienced a performer to need coaching on his presentation skills but neither is he, one assumes, the kind of man to leave anything to chance. He realised this particular pitch was to a group, the Treasury Select Committee, whose approach was unfamiliar to him. So he chose ‘the right coach for the right topic’.(The Tao of Coaching)
Mandeson is an old and experienced hand at surviving grillings from Commons committees. With his advice Diamond came out relatively unscathed. He won few friends with his lack of any remorse and satisfied manner (with £9 million, not surprising) but neither did he make any gaffes or rise to attempted provocation from indignant MPs.
His briefing from Mandy, not revealed, may have pointed out that the Committees whilst well briefed have no collective plan of attack to unseat or unsettle their ‘captive’. Each committee member fires off the questions that excite them personally or that make them look good to their constituents. The attack does not build or have momentum.
All Diamond needed to do was pick off one at a time his ‘divided’ enemy. Perhaps it is the Committees who really need a coach!