My post last week was about the incompetence of energy companies. I was preparing to write about the famous government body in charge of mediating between warring partners when the bumbling incompetence of Thomas Cook took over the front pages of newspapers.
For the sake of the family involved I suppose it is now a good thing that the issue has died down. No parent wants to read about their deeply distressing situation in the media on a daily basis. With the recent face to face apology by the Thomas Cook Chief Executive, I assume the parents going by the comments they made on TV will now appreciate the space to mourn and heal in private. I cannot imagine a worse fate for a parent than losing their young children in a totally avoidable situation.
I suppose if this was some kind of terrible natural disaster, it might lessen the pain. However knowing some people failed to do the right thing on a number of level must make you very angry and understandably bitter towards these people especially with the demeaning way Thomas Cook has handled this issue for the last 9 years.
The engineer in Corfu who failed to do the job of fixing the boiler properly. The parsimonious hotel management who did not appoint a well qualified engineer to do the boiler fixing work and failed to purchase a cheap carbon monoxide detector knowing the potential dangers involved are all as culpable as the incompetent and cruel Thomas Cook - a global holiday company no less. They signed up a hotel in Corfu without a clue on the standard of care in place. Massive incompetence. Banks are tasked with knowing their customers and ensuring the financial system is not tarnished. An holiday company that we entrust our lives to did not even make the effort to ensure its supplier has proper health and safety standards in place. What a shower of disgrace. This was a jumbo jet sized failure on many level.
Due to Thomas Cook's failure, 2 beautiful kids died. Their dad and his partner were initially unconscious but revived and were extremely lucky not to die. Thomas Cook then took the family on a 9 year merry go round. A wicked wild goose chase. They did not apologised. As far as they were concerned, they had done nothing wrong. There was no acceptance of guilt. Weasel words after weasel words were uttered. Words put together by some faceless and conscienceless moron masquerading as an intelligent person. As recently as 3 weeks ago at the Coroner's Inquest into the kids' death, Thomas Cook staff refused to give evidence and the company refused to say sorry. Reading the news report in the papers was heart wrenching. It was callousness in its purest form. Which makes me wonder why are they saying sorry now.
Different people have offered explanations of this change of approach. One of these is that the company is losing so much money and goodwill that it was in their commercial interest to say sorry and hope the whole issue blows away. If this is true, Thomas Cook is even more despicable, wicked and evil than you can imagine.
If that is not the case and they are genuinely sorry, I am worried about the 180 degree change in approach. Was Thomas Cook wrong as recently as 3 weeks ago when they refused to apologise to the kids' parent or are they right now? If they were wrong 3 weeks ago, what has happened to the people (staff, executives, lawyers, PR advisers) who advised that the previous approach was the right one? Have they been fired? Or were they acting in the interest of the business then? The company's interest defined as "say whatever it takes to take the heat away" "say anything to persuade a gullible public to look at us positively" "spin a yarn and deflect attention from our callous incompetent".
Personally, I hope everybody / every single person who was involved in the decision making process on this issue should be fired and lose any discretionary entitlement. In addition, I see no reason why the Crown Prosecution Service is not bringing charges of corporate manslaughter against Thomas Cook and its senior executives. You can click here and here and here for examples of cases where people have been jailed for fitting of boilers that led to fatalities. Why should Thomas Cook be treated differently? Is it the case of another rule for the common man and a different one for the big companies?
Forget the cack handed attempt at spin and PR by Thomas Cook claiming they donated money to charities as if they don't claim tax relief for charitable donations. Forget the fact they were probably negotiating for a huge compensation from the hotel in Corfu while fobbing off the parents of the little kids. Thomas Cook have been extremely vile in their behaviour. The minimum the Crown Prosecution Service can do in this case is to let Thomas Cook have its day in court. Let us understand their shambolic and incompetent decision making process. Expose their venality and wickedness to the paying public and hope they get their just desserts