Credit crisis diary: 13/12/2008

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The Independent Online

Sorry is suddenly not the hardest word

Bankers are suddenly falling over themselves to say sorry. Joining the ever-growing list of bank directors who have apologised to their shareholders, Andy Hornby and Lord Stevenson, chief executive and chairman respectively of HBOS, were both at great pains to use the s-word during yesterday's EGM. Sadly, while the pair were expressing their remorse, HBOS shares were plunging another 23 per cent on the bank's soaring bad-debt figures. Looks like they'll soon have to apologise all over again.

Send that man back for English lessons

Diary doesn't want to come over all fusty, but what is the world coming to when even ministers of the crown don't know how to use the Queen's English? Asked whether the UK was considering a bailout for the British car sector, the trade minister Ian Pearson, left, said the industry was facing a once-in-a-generation crisis. "Sales have literally fallen off a cliff," Mr Pearson added. Literally, Ian? How would that work?



Not so funny on the receiving end

CBI director general Richard Lambert has been forthright in his criticism of misleading media headlines that have over-dramatised the scale of the economic downturn, feeding a sense of panic. But what does Mr Lambert think about the increasingly apocalyptic notes from City analysts. Poor old JJB Sports copped it in the market yesterday after a briefing from Citi headlined: "They think it's all over". We get the witty sporting reference, chaps, but a bit harsh surely?



BBC left stuck in the departure lounge

The lack of BBC coverage of the UN's Climate Change Conference this week in Poznan, Poland was not a corporation conspiracy to deny British viewers proper coverage of environmental issues – quite the reverse, in fact. The BBC's team were set to fly to Poland on Monday, the day the heavy hitters were due to arrive at the conference, only to find their flights out of Stansted cancelled. The problem – you see the irony – was the protest by the climate change group Plane Stupid, which closed the airport for several hours.



Conned by the great closing-down sale

Diary is finding it difficult to feel too much sympathy for the legions of shoppers complaining that the Woolies closing-down sale doesn't offer sufficiently large savings. It must be awful to discover there's only so much cashing in to be done with 30,000 staff facing the sack a few days before Christmas. Vultures at least have the good grace not to whinge when they find a little less flesh than expected on their carrion.

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