“A decent man” was what Lord Patten kept calling George Entwistle. “A decent man overwhelmed by a difficult job,” for example. And: “I’m not going to join in the trashing of a decent man.”
Anyone who does want to join in the trashing, however, will have been interested to learn that this same decent man, in his final hours as director-general, rejected a pay-off of six months’ salary, and instead (according to Lord Patten) demanded “12 months and more”. Lord Patten, as chairman of the BBC Trust, quickly surrendered 12 months’ worth (£450,000) in order to avoid an even costlier tribunal. A crushing victory for dear Mr Decent.
If, only a few weeks ago, you saw Mr Entwistle respond to MPs’ questions by flapping like a fish on a dock, or heard him gulping and babbling before John Humphrys on the Today programme, you’d never have guessed he was capable of such cold resolve. Nice to know he can get tough when it really matters, isn’t it?