CITY DIARY : Left in the air by the party conference

With Tate & Lyle turning distinctly pinkish on the corporate donation front, the Tories will not be pleased to learn that Michael Heseltine has got up the nose of another businessman. The Deputy Prime Minister yesterday delayed David Whelan, chairman of the independent sports retailer JJB Sports, by one and a half hours on his way in to London.

The problem was that Mr Whelan - the former Blackburn Rovers footballer who was stretchered off the field in the 1960 FA Cup final - was circling RAF Northolt in his executive jet at the time with the pilot looking nervously at the fuel gauge. Worse still, he brought glad tidings to the City in the shape of a stonking set of figures.

Air traffic control were unmoved. The Cabinet minister was flying up to the Tory party conference in Blackpool and he was clearly a priority.

Still, Mr Heseltine can console himself that his "stacking'' of Mr Whelan is unlikely to result in any further haemorrhaging from Tory party coffers. The only donation the Wigan entrepreneur has ever announced is pounds 40,000 to the first person living within a 13-mile radius of his home town to win Wimbledon

Meanwhile Michael Whelan, international yachting bore and founder chairman of Aran Energy, the Irish oil exploration company under siege from both Arco of the US and Statoil of Norway, points out that the Americans have a poor track record against his fiefdom.

It turns out that Mr Whelan's son, Roger, did his work experience with Arco while studying at the Wharton Business School in Philadelphia. So impressed were the Californians with the lad that they offered him a job once he had finished his course.

Unaware of the lengths to which Arco would subsequently go to get their hands on a Whelan, the son declined, opting instead for Amoco in Chicago.

While it was undoubtedly grateful for the financial assistance at the time, Britain's oldest merchant bank is not embracing the Dutch flag with much enthusiasm. A fierce pocket of resistance has been flushed out in the corporate finance arm of the recently refinanced ING Baring.

They may be paid in guilders but the Euro-sceptic financiers - who are advising Lloyds Bank on its merger with TSB - flatly refuse to have anything to with their Dutch overlords or their acronym. "Make sure that you call us Baring Brothers,'' warned one nationalist.

Expect Nick Leeson to be sprung from jail shortly.

Never one to give up the driving seat lightly, Sir Nicholas Goodison, art historian and chairman of TSB, will nevertheless adopt a more ceremonial role when the Lloyds Bank-TSB merger is announced today. The job of convincing the City falls mainly to the chief executive dream team of Sir Brian Pitman and Peter Ellwood, the hard man who joined TSB from Barclaycard.

Mr Ellwood shares Sir Brian's passion for cost-cutting, giving some credence to union warnings of huge job losses. Analysts still quiver with excitement when they recall a visit to a Barclaycard centre where Mr Ellwood unveiled his vision of a high-tech, low-wage factory.

Profile points all round for the staff it may be. But Sir Nicholas is unlikely to be robbed of TSB's impressive collection of modern art. "It will probably stay where it is,'' a spokesman reassures.

The dinosaurs of the Eighties, who could rack up a pounds 600 lunch bill at the Savoy during three hours of gluttony, are all but extinct. The typical business lunch now takes just one and three-quarter hours and costs pounds 35 a head, according to a survey for Air Miles.

One of the problems of selling Brazilian electricity privatisation to the City has been the high level of wastage. The system is prone to unauthorised tapping from ingenious consumers who would rather not pay for their power. It is known as the "dead cat problem'', according to Jose Carlos Mendonca, of the Brazilian brokers Garantia (readers may find the next paragraph distressing).

It works like this. Impoverished Sao Paulo resident needs some juice to heat up the family supper. He goes out on the street, picks up a passing stray cat, and throws it on to the overhead cables. The result is a short circuit, which allows the power thief to clip on his personal jump leads before the current is restored.

Sadly, it's curtains for the cat.

peopleFrankie Boyle responds to referendum result in characteristically offensive style
Life and Style
Couples have been having sex less in 2014, according to a new survey
New Articles
i100... with this review
Holly's review of Peterborough's Pizza Express quickly went viral on social media
footballTim Sherwood: This might be th match to wake up Manchester City
Arts and Entertainment
musicHow female vocalists are now writing their own hits
New Articles
ebooksAn unforgettable anthology of contemporary reportage
Arts and Entertainment
musicBiographer Hunter Davies has collected nearly a hundred original manuscripts
Blahnik says: 'I think I understand the English more than they do themselves'
Arts and Entertainment
Michelle Dockery as Lady Mary Crawley in Downton Abbey
TVInside Downton Abbey series 5
Life and Style
The term 'normcore' was given the oxygen of publicity by New York magazine during the autumn/winter shows in Paris in February
fashionWhen is a trend a non-trend? When it's Normcore, since you ask
Latest stories from i100
Have you tried new the Independent Digital Edition apps?
Independent Dating

By clicking 'Search' you
are agreeing to our
Terms of Use.

iJobs Job Widget
iJobs Money & Business

Senior BA - Motor and Home Insurance

£400 - £450 Per Day: Clearwater People Solutions Ltd: **URGENT CONTRACT ROLE**...

Market Risk & Control Manager

Up to £100k or £450p/d: Saxton Leigh: My client is a leading commodities tradi...

SQL Developer - Watford/NW London - £320 - £330 p/d - 6 months

£320 - £330 per day: Ashdown Group: The Ashdown Group have been engaged by a l...

Head of Audit

To £75,000 + Pension + Benefits + Bonus: Saxton Leigh: My client is looking f...

Day In a Page

Scottish referendum: The Yes vote was the love that dared speak its name, but it was not to be

Despite the result, this is the end of the status quo

Boyd Tonkin on the fall-out from the Scottish referendum
Manolo Blahnik: The high priest of heels talks flats, Englishness, and why he loves Mary Beard

Manolo Blahnik: Flats, Englishness, and Mary Beard

The shoe designer who has been dubbed 'the patron saint of the stiletto'
The Beatles biographer reveals exclusive original manuscripts of some of the best pop songs ever written

Scrambled eggs and LSD

Behind The Beatles' lyrics - thanks to Hunter Davis's original manuscript copies
'Normcore' fashion: Blending in is the new standing out in latest catwalk non-trend

'Normcore': Blending in is the new standing out

Just when fashion was in grave danger of running out of trends, it only went and invented the non-trend. Rebecca Gonsalves investigates
Dance’s new leading ladies fight back: How female vocalists are now writing their own hits

New leading ladies of dance fight back

How female vocalists are now writing their own hits
Mystery of the Ground Zero wedding photo

A shot in the dark

Mystery of the wedding photo from Ground Zero
His life, the universe and everything

His life, the universe and everything

New biography sheds light on comic genius of Douglas Adams
Save us from small screen superheroes

Save us from small screen superheroes

Shows like Agents of S.H.I.E.L.D are little more than marketing tools
Reach for the skies

Reach for the skies

From pools to football pitches, rooftop living is looking up
These are the 12 best hotel spas in the UK

12 best hotel spas in the UK

Some hotels go all out on facilities; others stand out for the sheer quality of treatments
These Iranian-controlled Shia militias used to specialise in killing American soldiers. Now they are fighting Isis, backed up by US airstrikes

Widespread fear of Isis is producing strange bedfellows

Iranian-controlled Shia militias that used to kill American soldiers are now fighting Isis, helped by US airstrikes
Topshop goes part Athena poster, part last spring Prada

Topshop goes part Athena poster, part last spring Prada

Shoppers don't come to Topshop for the unique
How to make a Lego masterpiece

How to make a Lego masterpiece

Toy breaks out of the nursery and heads for the gallery
Meet the ‘Endies’ – city dwellers who are too poor to have fun

Meet the ‘Endies’ – city dwellers who are too poor to have fun

Urbanites are cursed with an acronym pointing to Employed but No Disposable Income or Savings
Paisley’s decision to make peace with IRA enemies might remind the Arabs of Sadat

Ian Paisley’s decision to make peace with his IRA enemies

His Save Ulster from Sodomy campaign would surely have been supported by many a Sunni imam