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I know I said that I would talk about Mary Ann, but I just had to comment on something happening in the USA right now. It seems to me to eerily echo things that I wrote about in the Helots’ tale…
As many of you will know, I have served as a CFO of public companies in the past and CEO and Board member of others. All of these companies had at least an external auditor, if not an internal auditor. If those auditors had ever started investigating potential fraud or misappropriation of funds etc. and I had fired them before their report was delivered, I would have expected nothing less than the Board re-instating the auditor and firing me. That situation, I hasten to add, has never occurred.
But we have a similar situation in the US right now with four (that’s right – four) Inspectors General – or internal auditors if you like – being fired by Donald Trump because he didn’t like what they were investigating or in retaliation for finding something to report on to Congress (or the Board in a commercial setting).
Yet nothing has happened! I really do question what is going on here. This seems to me to be a fundamental attack on the integrity of the government and harks back to the days of Robert and Mary Ann Bright, and earlier, when the monarch wielded absolute and enormous power to simply dismiss or eliminate inconvenient truths, leading to the manifestly unjust environment in which my hero and heroine and thousands more suffered.
You have to wonder whether we are seeing a new absolute Presidency emerging, uncomfortably like the absolute monarchs that we all thought we had banished centuries ago.