Friday, March 19, 2010

An entertaining former Chairman of the Board of Inland Revenue

Sir Nick Montagu was the after dinner speaker at Digita's annual conference last night. He shared some wonderful anecdotes from his days as Chairman of the Board of Inland Revenue (1997-2004).

I bumped into him earlier in the evening and we shared a brief recollection of one of our conversations from my time as Chairman of the ICAEW Tax Faculty (which overlapped with his time at the Revenue). For reasons which will become apparent in a moment I as concerned as to how he would cope when the time came to present his talk.

In the event this is how he started (and he was deadly serious by the way):
" You will have heard plenty of speakers before; some with talent, some without. But never before one without a voice - laryngitis hit me this morning, hence the croak"
He bravely struggled on and entertained the audience despite being only able to do little more than whisper. Fortunately the amplification meant that all could hear him.

Another of his more self-deprecating remarks was that "If you need a cheap clown, look no further than a former Chairman of the Inland Revenue".

He told a number of stories which are probably best not recorded here for posterity. Among those that are safe to share include:

One aggrieved taxpayer, after making a substantial back payment of tax enrolled Nick in a nudist colony - presumably, in the taxpayer's mind as retribution for the Revenue taking the shirt off his back.

We also learned that some sad person had determined that an anagram of "Sir Nicholas Montagu, Chairman of the Inland Revenue" is "He'll receive a mountain of cash, nothing remains". I have resisted the temptation to check it really works!
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