Wednesday, November 19, 2008

Liberator: No connection with the firm next door

Listening to Newsnight discussing the failures of Liberata over students' maintenance allowances, I feel I should point out that it has no connection with the esteemed Liberator magazine even though it is pronounced the same way.

Nor does the magazine have anything to do with Jabez Spencer Balfour and the Liberator Building Society:

In the late 1860s, he was employed by and soon became the head of the Liberator Building Society, which lent money to the deserving.

The idea of “philanthropic finance” had great appeal for Britain’s Nonconformists, and the society’s slogan — “a free home makes a free man” — was a further lure for those depositing their savings. By 1886 the Liberator had grown into one of Britain’s biggest building societies and property developers.

Its apparent stability was entirely fraudulent. Quite simply, Jabez and his cronies — well-paid accountants, lawyers and other professionals — decided what profits and dividends each part of the company should earn, and invented the figures to match them. Jabez probably never earned any profits at all; the deposits and shareholders’ funds, however, provided him with a glittering lifestyle.

In Balfour's defence, he did build the National Liberal Club.

3 comments:

Frank H Little said...

even though it is pronounced the same way
Not to those with even a smattering of a classical education.

Jonathan said...

That's the way they are pronouncing it on Newsnight.

Perhaps the company's directors went to the wrong school?

dreamingspire said...

And Barry Sheerman on Newsnight seemed incapable of understanding that people who get it wrong (the civil servants who handled the procurement and, presumably, their lickspittle advisers) need to be retrained or (re)moved.