Bunhill: No wise owl
Sunday 06 March 1994
'The owl stands for wisdom and watchfulness and all that sort of crap,' a GRE spokesman tells me. And there is more: the bird is also a symbol linked with the goddess Minerva, who was used in the old Guardian insurance group logo, before it merged with the Royal Exchange group in 1968.
GRE was advised by the corporate identity consultant SampsonTyrrell, which developed the umbrella symbol for Legal & General. Its chairman Terry Tyrrell (or possibly TerryTyrrell) says the owl scored highest in intensive market research, beating both butterflies and lions.
Birds are popular as symbols for companies. Bovis uses a humming bird, the old Woolies group a Kingfisher, this newspaper a rather tetchy eagle. Then there are Penguin books and an aviary of others.
The owl is associated with maturity, watchfulness, dignity and wisdom, insists Tyrrell, revealing a distressing gap in his childhood education. The owl, of course, is a pompous creature who misspells his name Wol and is forever trying to conceal his stupidity. First reader to suggest that makes it an ideal symbol for an insurance company loses his no-claims bonus.
FUNNY thing, bribery. The Malaysian government is so touchy on the subject it slaps a boycott on British goods on the strength of a single rather vague allegation in a British newspaper. Our own Government, on the other hand, has a rather more robust attitude to bribes. It has just decided to go on buying from two foreign firms that were proved in an English court to have bribed a Whitehall official.
Gordon Foxley, former director of ammunition procurement at the Ministry of Defence, was convicted last year of receiving pounds 1.5m in bribes for placing MoD orders with Norwegian, Italian and German firms (though he has been too ill to be sentenced).
Now, by a strange irony, defence minister Jonathan Aitken has decided to continue buying non-ricochet ammo from AS Rossfoss of Norway and shell fuses from Fratelli Lli Borletti of Italy, a Fiat subsidiary, both of which bribed Foxley. The MoD is also trying to get the firms to pay it damages.
The dealings were revealed when Janet Anderson, Labour MP for Rossendale and Darwen, wrote to Aitken to ask whether the contracts could be switched to the Royal Ordnance factory in Blackburn, Lancs, whose workforce has been decimated by Foxley placing pounds 55m of orders elsewhere. No, said Aitken.
RO worker Christine Hulme is unimpressed: 'Our work was sold abroad. The crime was discovered, and we are still suffering job losses.'
- 1 Woman accidentally shoots herself in the head while posing for a selfie
- 2 Isis burns woman alive for refusing to engage in 'extreme' sex act, UN says
- 3 Puerto Rico, island of lost dreams: People are leaving the debt-hit territory in droves as near neighbour Cuba's star rises
- 4 Female Muay Thai champion hustles coaches to give them a beating
- 5 16-year-old girl beaten and burned alive by lynch mob in Rio Bravo, Guatemala
As a white man, I'm surprised more women aren't tweeting the hashtag #KillAllWhiteMen
Scotland may have to leave the EU even if it votes to stay in, David Cameron confirms
The day that Britain resigned as a global power
Almost a third of school pupils believe 'Muslims are taking over our country', study claims
SNP fury as HS2 finds 'no business case' for taking fast train service to Scotland
Gay marriage 'Bert and Ernie' cake bakery found guilty of discrimination in Northern Ireland
iJobs Money & Business
£40-50K: Guru Careers: We are seeking an experienced Software / C# Developer w...
£45,000 - £55,000: Neil Pavier: Are you looking for your next opportunity for ...
£45,000 - £55,000: Sheridan Maine: Are you a newly qualified ACA/ACCA/ACMA qua...
£50,000 - £60,000: Laura Norton: Are you looking for an opportunity within a w...