IT is the conversation no-one wants to have yet so many have been unable to avoid.

The one where you tell the kids that the holiday is off and that they will like living somewhere else, really they will. This weekend, many among the 2000 Royal Bank of Scotland staff to be laid off over the next 18 months will be having such conversations with their families.

Also facing change on the job front is the organisation's chief executive, Stephen Hester, although one imagines his parting package has helped to soften the blow. One can dry an awful lot of tears with a year's salary of £1.6m plus the promise of £4m in share awards to come.

Good old RBS, always "here for you", as its slogan says, if you are in the market for a jaw-dropping turn of events. While not quite on a par with the Fred Goodwin-led meltdown of the bank (that was Armageddon compared to this stushie), Mr Hester's departure is disconcerting.

It is not because his banking talents are irreplaceable. Despite his impressive record, there are likely others who could do his job. The search for his successor has already begun. What is unsettling about the ousting of Mr Hester is the man most likely to have led the elbowing, and his possible motives. Step forward George Osborne, Chancellor of the Exchequer, and a chap who is to successful forward planning what the old woman who lived in a shoe was to family planning. Sceptics would say Mr Osborne wanted the RBS chief gone to clear the way for a fire sale privatisation that will put money in the Government's coffers ahead of the 2015 General Election. Sceptics would be bang on the money.

Mr Hester did the rounds of television and radio studios to stress that he was fine about leaving, and that he got on with the Chancellor just dandy, even if he had not spoken to him recently. His eyes, and his bruised manner generally, gave off different messages. Elaborating later, he acknowledged that he would like to have stayed at the 81% taxpayer-owned bank. "I feel I've been in the trenches with all of my people helping RBS to recover, and privatisation would have been a fitting end to those endeavours."

The picture of Mr Hester "in the trenches" with his staff is a curious one. Given 41,000 of his fellow soldiers have lost their jobs since he began in 2008, one imagines the trenches have been less crowded of late. Similarly, his salary and bonus – he only took one out of five, the Commons heard yesterday – must have taken the edge off trench living. But one must not bash this particular banker too much. As even Mr Osborne was forced to admit, he has done a decent rescue job, turning a basket case into a bank that made a pre-tax profit of £826min the first quarter of this year. He did not lend as much to business as was needed, he didn't do away with the bonus trough entirely, and it was during his watch that the bank was fined £390m over Libor rate fixing. A mixed record, then, but the headline remains the same: Mr Hester helped to stop the bad ship RBS from sinking. The real rescuers, of course, were you, me, and the £45bn of our money that bailed the bank out.

Mr Hester, appointed by the last Labour government, was never going to be an easy fit with Mr Osborne. That he has lasted so long is testament both to his talents, and to the Coalition Government's need to have him as an in-house banker to kick when ministers felt like it. Heckling Mr Hester was a handy way of diverting attention from the Government's inability to turn the economy around. He was the bread in the austerity circus. Come Christmas, assuming an appointment is not in place earlier, he will be gone, doubtless back to the 100% private sector that he appeared to miss so much.

All gazes now turn to the Chancellor's Mansion House speech next Wednesday. If the speculation is correct, it is likely to be then, or at some point shortly after, that Mr Osborne will officially flag up the privatisation of RBS and Lloyds Banking Group. This will be the Chancellor's "Tell Sid" moment, a hark-back to the good old, bad old days of selling off gas, telecoms, rail, and the rest of the family silver. How the Tories have missed privatisation. It was the flagship policy of the Thatcher era, the gift that kept on giving to the Treasury. Never mind that the assets were undervalued, ignore the consequences for generations to come, let's package it up, grab the money, and run.

Privatisation, as Mr Hester said, would have been a fitting end to his time at the bank. We all want our money back, as soon as possible. The person who could do that would be a lauded individual indeed. Question is: who would we most trust to succeed in that task? Mr Hester, who has already put in the hard yards at the bank, or Mr Osborne, whose diary only stretches up to May 7, 2015, the date of the next General Election?

For its part, the Government has said Mr Hester's departure was a matter for the company, and there had been no direct involvement by Mr Osborne. Yet the likelihood of a privatisation happening in 2014 has to be the worst-kept secret in British politics, and the notion that the Chancellor has no opinion or sway one way or another is ridiculous.

If, or when, RBS is returned to the private sector, at what price will this happen? The shares, which closed at 315p mark yesterday, are valued at 407p on the Government books, even though they were bought for 502p. Mr Hester believed the higher price, or above, was achievable. One wonders what Mr Osborne reckons.

What the markets think of the ousting of Mr Hester could be seen in the way the RBS share price dipped. Despite their official religion being risk-taking, markets are easily spooked beasts, particularly by politicians who have shown a taste for meddling. Mr Osborne, if the predictions are true about the privatisation date, is a man on the meddle.

Having distinguished himself at the Treasury by his inaction, the Chancellor is now beginning to look like a man in a tearing rush. From tortoise to hare, Dr Dolittle to the White Rabbit. He might have called matters correctly, and the RBS share price, after an initial wobble, will climb to new heights, we shall eventually get our money back, and everyone will live reasonably happily ever after. But given his record –remember the 2012 budget – one would not bet the farm on this rare foray into boldness ending well. If that happens, it won't be Mr Hester who is the hot topic of conversation.