Flaks win Barclays trial

Tomorrow's Business

The long running battle between Amanda Staveley and Barclays appears, finally, to be drawing to a close.

Since this row has been going on for roughly 12 years perhaps that’s about time, but it has been entertaining.

Barclays has long regarded Staveley’s claim that she is owed somewhere between £660 million and £1.5 billion as, erm, laughable.

She is “opportunistic and speculative”, says the bank. I’d say she’s charming and speculative, but I’m a soft touch.

Staveley’s side – strongly flaked by Edelman among others along the way – have definitely put up a good fight.

The evidence of former Barclays chief John Varley for example was a “heavily constructed submission about what he thinks happened in circumstances where he accepts his actual recollection was thin at best”. Ouch.

Two thoughts.

1) It is hard to see what victory looks like here for Barclays (though you can certainly see why they didn’t want to pay-up). 2) Because of Covid-19, hacks have been more reliant on the flaks in covering this case than is healthy.

Ideally, one hack per major news organisation would cover a case like this from start to finish. They wouldn’t need flak interference.

If in future court cases are going to be reported over Zoom, or by a rotating cast of socially distanced hacks, the quality of the work will go down. We will make mistakes.

Perhaps that will be the one clear winner of this trial: flakery.

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