City Diary

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The Independent Online
WHENEVER Derek Wanless wants to spend a penny, all the NatWest chief executive has to do is nip along the corridor to one of four separate loos on the management floor of the bank's City headquarters at 41 Lothbury.

The Neo-classical edifice opposite the Bank of England has a quartet of loos on Mr Wanless's floor, strictly segregated on the basis of seniority. There is one splendid loo solely for the use of Board members such as Mr Wanless. Then there is one for senior management, and one for all other ranks. Last but not least, there is one for the ladies.

No doubt whoever wins the bid battle for NatWest may want to reform this rather archaic arrangement. That is, if they keep 41 Lothbury.

CHATTING WITH Peter Burt, chief executive of the Bank of Scotland, regarding his bid for NatWest, I posed this very question; if his bid succeeds, would 41 Lothbury be up for sale?

"Of course it is. Everything's for sale," said Mr Burt, anticipating success with his answer. Pointing to Gordon McQueen, BoS's finance director, who was sitting beside him, Mr Burt then added: "Even Gordon's for sale, if someone's prepared to offer enough."

Mr McQueen smiled broadly. Perhaps Mr Wanless should table a "Pacman" bid for him?

PATRICK WEEVER, the former deputy city editor of the Sunday Telegraph, is bloodied but unbowed, having lost his claim for constructive dismissal last week. Now he has to await the written judgment from the Industrial Tribunal before he can decide whether to appeal against the decision or not.

Mr Weever left the paper after being told by City editor Neil Bennett that some of his duties had been taken away following his return from lengthy sick leave.

Mr Weever alleged that both he and his former boss had been recipients of privileged information from City spin doctors, via the so called "Friday night drop". This traditional practice consists of a PR man handing over confidential information on a client or a journalist, in return for favourable treatment in that Sunday's edition.

Mr Weever says that, while he is waiting for the written judgment, he is seeking a publisher for a book he plans to pen, provisionally titled The Dropmeisters, which he promises will be "the definitive book on the Friday night drop".

THERE I WAS, settling down to watch The South Bank Show on Sunday night, expecting to see Melvyn Bragg interviewing the comedian Paul Merton, when I was startled by an ad for Andersen Consulting - "Sponsors of the South Bank Show."

Whatever next? PricewaterhouseCoopers sponsor Ant'n'Dec?

YOU MIGHT think it's a teeny bit early to be recommending Christmas stocking fillers, but The New Yorker Book of Money Cartoons looks like the kind of book any plutocrat would enjoy. Set to be published on 14 October at pounds 12.99, the collection of drawings from the famous magazine promises to show "the influence, power, and occasional insanity of money in all of our lives".

LAWRENCE DALLAGLIO, former England Rugby captain, has set out to protect his assets. Mr Dallaglio, who is still on the team after the rugby authorities cleared his name of drug-taking allegations, is obviously expecting England to win the Rugby World Cup, which kicks off in Cardiff this Friday.

I say this because Mr Dallaglio has taken the precaution of applying to register his name as a trade mark in no less than 11 classes of goods and services. If England do win the Cup then one of the categories Mr Dallaglio has applied for should do well - beers, stouts, lagers, porters and ales (Class 32).

At Christmas we may all be playing "Lawrence Dallaglio" games (Class 28) wearing the LD range of clothing (Class 25) supported by LD jewellery (Class14) as we carry our leather bags (Class 18) containing journals (Class 16), electronic equipment (Class 9) and small decorative items (Class6).

Let's hope he doesn't need any orthopaedic articles (Class 10). But when he does finally hang up his boots, he could always turn to providing financial services (Class 36) or go into films or television (Class 41).

As Brian March, president of the Institute of Trade Mark Attorneys, puts it: "Trade marks are the means of distinguishing one's goods or services from others. They symbolise quality and, as they develop as a brand name, they become increasingly recognised as valuable assets."