In a dramatic departure from our usual laser-sharp focus on the red-hot news of the day, Bankstone News could not quite bring itself to allow the (not especially) recent crowning of young Ashley Prickett as Broker Apprentice 2013 to pass without some form of comment.

We had been hoping Insurance Times would be posting a final video in which we would have seen Ash celebrating with carefree slugs from a bottle of Kristal as he cavorted in a jacuzzi – or perhaps simply reporting back on his week-long stint at Hanksy’s right hand. All we got was a write up.

Had Allez-Ants’ Chris Hanks not gone into the insurance business he might have enjoyed a long and successful career in the diplomatic corps. He had something positive to say about every candidate and was at pains to outline alternative scenarios in which each might have clinched the title.

If the winner had been selected (as crazy an idea as this may sound) on the basis of who gave “a strong performance in all the tasks”, Hanks revealed, Oliver would have won.
If anyone had cared a fig about professionalism or qualifications – or being “an incredibly capable contestant” – Katie might have got it.

Jonathan, apparently could have had it on the grounds of being “well rounded” and having a strong moral compass (who could forget his moving defence of brokers’ right be left in peace to regulate themselves?) Even Holly could have nabbed it, Hanks suggested implausibly, for being the most enthusiastic and for growing in confidence.

But, no, whilst not being the strongest performer on the tasks, nor the most professional and capable, nor the most well-rounded, nor even the most enthusiastic, Ashley somehow got the Hankster’s nod – for having a bit of everything and improving as he went along.

“In the beginning no-one would have recognised Ashley as the winner”, Hanks said brutally, noting that he bumbled and stumbled over his words.

His advertisement wasn’t up to much either, but did have the negative virtue of being a fair reflection of what “the industry has to offer young people” – plus that memorable line about climbing ladders.

His scheme idea (if indeed it even was a scheme idea) was in “no way ready for the market place” but could, Hanks remarked charitably, just have been “ahead of its time”.

Suggesting that perhaps Ash was picked – not because he was the strongest candidate – but because he was the most in need of a guiding hand, Mr H concluded that “when deciding who was going to be my Broker Apprentice I had to consider which one of our contestants would find the time they spent with me the most beneficial and give their career an immediate development kick.”

After all he’s endured to reach this point, let’s just hope that Ashley enjoys his kicking.

Ashley’s normally keen sense of fashion temporarily deserts him as he opts to sport an epaulette of sausages for his induction ceremony.


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