Credit crisis diary 06/12/2008

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The Independent Online

End of an era as motor fiend Sir Fred leaves

There is a feeling of fin de siècle about the withdrawal of Honda from Formula One, coming so soon after the exit of Sir Fred Goodwin, right, from Royal Bank of Scotland. Sir Fred's only known pastimes were golf, car maintenance and F1, and under his leadership RBS spent millions every year sponsoring the Williams team and advertising at races. The bank also provided debt for the private equity firm CVC to buy F1. With an austere prime minister calling the shots and Stephen Hester taking a hatchet to Sir Fred's empire, it's a good thing for Williams that the sponsorship was renewed earlier this year.





West End in need of the magic touch

The West End will hold a traffic-free shopping day today on Oxford Street and Regent Street, with marching bands, acrobats and magic acts mixing with the shoppers. Hard-pressed retailers would no doubt love to employ the odd magician to conjure money into their tills through the whole of December. It would surely do more than the measly 2.5 percentage-point cut the Chancellor is betting on to keep the cash registers ringing.



Bored bankers may turn to gluttony



The Financial Services Authority's new liquidity regime will make banks keep more of their assets in boring old government bonds, putting the kibosh on Treasury operations acting as profit centres by investing in dodgy securities. That will make for a duller world, but there may be gastronomic compensations. Peter Hahn, a former senior Citigroup banker now a fellow at Cass Business School, says: "As banking gets more and more boring, will the three-hour lunch return?"



It's offal out there as the recession bites

We've already had surging baked bean sales, the rise of Aldi and Lidl, and a slump in demand for organic food. Now Waitrose says virtually no animal parts are off limits as its upmarket customers tighten their belts. The supermarket chain can barely keep up with the demand for pig and ox cheeks, beef skirt and lamb shanks. If the recession goes on as long as some fear, what will we be tucking into at the end of it? Watch out for microwavable stewed brains in milk at a store near you.

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