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.

News
newsGlobal index has ranked the quality of life for OAPs - but the UK didn't even make it into the top 10
News
people
News
people
News
peopleStella McCartney apologises over controversial Instagram picture
PROMOTED VIDEO
Life and Style
Laid bare: the Good2Go app ensures people have a chance to make their intentions clear about having sex
techCould Good2Go end disputes about sexual consent - without being a passion-killer?
Arts and Entertainment
Richard Burr remains the baker to beat on the Great British Bake Off
tvRichard remains the baker to beat as Chetna begins to flake
News
i100
Sport
footballArsenal 4 Galatasaray 1: Wenger celebrates 18th anniversary in style
Arts and Entertainment
Amazon has added a cautionary warning to Tom and Jerry cartoons on its streaming service
tv
News
people
News
The village was originally named Llansanffraid-ym-Mechain after the Celtic female Saint Brigit, but the name was changed 150 years ago to Llansantffraid – a decision which suggests the incorrect gender of the saint
newsA Welsh town has changed its name - and a prize if you can notice how
News
ebooksAn unforgettable anthology of contemporary reportage
Arts and Entertainment
Kristen Scott Thomas in Electra at the Old Vic
theatreReview: Kristin Scott Thomas is magnificent in a five-star performance of ‘Electra’
News
Destructive discourse: Jewish boys look at anti-Semitic graffiti sprayed on to the walls of the synagogue in March 2006, near Tel Aviv
peopleAt the start of Yom Kippur and with anti-Semitism flourishing, one Jew can no longer ignore his identity
Life and Style
Couples who boast about their relationship have been condemned as the most annoying Facebook users
tech
Arts and Entertainment
Hayley Williams performs with Paramore in New York
musicParamore singer says 'Steal Your Girl' is itself stolen from a New Found Glory hit
News
i100
Latest stories from i100
Have you tried new the Independent Digital Edition apps?
Independent Dating
and  

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

iJobs Job Widget
iJobs Money & Business

Trainee Recruitment Consultant - Birmingham - Real Staffing

£18000 - £23000 per annum + Commission: SThree: Real Staffing are currently lo...

Trust Accountant - Kent

NEGOTIABLE: Austen Lloyd: TRUST ACCOUNTANT - KENTIf you are a Chartered Accou...

Graduate Recruitment Consultant - 2013/14 Grads - No Exp Needed

£18000 - £20000 per annum + OTE £30000: SThree: SThree are a global FTSE 250 b...

Law Costs

Highly Competitive Salary: Austen Lloyd: CITY - Law Costs Draftsperson - NICHE...

Day In a Page

Italian couples fake UK divorce scam on an ‘industrial scale’

Welcome to Maidenhead, the divorce capital of... Italy

A look at the the legal tourists who exploited our liberal dissolution rules
Tom and Jerry cartoons now carry a 'racial prejudice' warning on Amazon

Tom and Jerry cartoons now carry a 'racial prejudice' warning on Amazon

The vintage series has often been criticised for racial stereotyping
An app for the amorous: Could Good2Go end disputes about sexual consent - without being a passion-killer?

An app for the amorous

Could Good2Go end disputes about sexual consent - without being a passion-killer?
Llansanffraid is now Llansantffraid. Welsh town changes its name, but can you spot the difference?

Llansanffraid is now Llansantffraid

Welsh town changes its name, but can you spot the difference?
Charlotte Riley: At the peak of her powers

Charlotte Riley: At the peak of her powers

After a few early missteps with Chekhov, her acting career has taken her to Hollywood. Next up is a role in the BBC’s gangster drama ‘Peaky Blinders’
She's having a laugh: Britain's female comedians have never had it so good

She's having a laugh

Britain's female comedians have never had it so good, says stand-up Natalie Haynes
Sistine Chapel to ‘sing’ with new LED lights designed to bring Michelangelo’s masterpiece out of the shadows

Let there be light

Sistine Chapel to ‘sing’ with new LEDs designed to bring Michelangelo’s masterpiece out of the shadows
Great British Bake Off, semi-final, review: Richard remains the baker to beat

Tensions rise in Bake Off's pastry week

Richard remains the baker to beat as Chetna begins to flake
Paris Fashion Week, spring/summer 2015: Time travel fashion at Louis Vuitton in Paris

A look to the future

It's time travel fashion at Louis Vuitton in Paris
The 10 best bedspreads

The 10 best bedspreads

Before you up the tog count on your duvet, add an extra layer and a room-changing piece to your bed this autumn
Arsenal vs Galatasaray: Five things we learnt from the Emirates

Arsenal vs Galatasaray

Five things we learnt from the Gunners' Champions League victory at the Emirates
Stuart Lancaster’s long-term deal makes sense – a rarity for a decision taken by the RFU

Lancaster’s long-term deal makes sense – a rarity for a decision taken by the RFU

This deal gives England a head-start to prepare for 2019 World Cup, says Chris Hewett
Ebola outbreak: The children orphaned by the virus – then rejected by surviving relatives over fear of infection

The children orphaned by Ebola...

... then rejected by surviving relatives over fear of infection
Pride: Are censors pandering to homophobia?

Are censors pandering to homophobia?

US film censors have ruled 'Pride' unfit for under-16s, though it contains no sex or violence
The magic of roundabouts

Lords of the rings

Just who are the Roundabout Appreciation Society?