City Diary: Andersen's political double-act

Andersen Consulting is fielding two candidates in the next general election who, if successful, will face each other on opposite sides of the House. Patricia Hewitt and Mary Macleod have been selected as prospective candidates by the Labour Party and Conservative Party respectively.

This might have embarrassed some employers, but not Andersen Consulting's UK managing partner James Hall. "Although they have different political views, they share with all of us at Andersen Consulting a real commitment to the future of Britain," he says diplomatically.

Ms Hewitt made her name as general secretary of the National Council for Civil Liberties, a post she held for 10 years. This week she was selected to stand for Leicester West, already a Labour seat.

Ms Macleod, on the other hand, will have to overturn Liberal Democrat Charles Kennedy's 6,000 majority in Ross, Skye & Inverness. "There's all to play for," says Ms Macleod, who went to school in the constituency.

So do the two candidates swap debating points over the photocopier at work? Ms Macleod says: "I don't actually bump into her. The first time I met her was for the photo this week."

The latest joke doing the rounds in Moscow: "There is no truth in the rumours that Yeltsin is ill. He has had several meetings with Brezhnev in the past week."

A sticky moment at Sainsbury's AGM. A shareholder gets up and asks why no directors were nominated in the latest Queen's Honours list. After all, he says, you have Sir Alistair Grant at Safeways and Sir Ian MacLaurin at Tesco - why no knights on the Sainsbury team?

The chairman, plain Mr David Sainsbury, rises to reply: "There are already two former chairmen of Sainsbury in the House of Lords, and a third might look ostentatious. But I'm trying hard, and I'll report back at future meetings."

Perhaps it was Mr Sainsbury's bankrolling of the SDP in the 1980s which keeps him a commoner.

You've had inflatable Sumo wrestlers. Now prepare for Human Skittles. American Airlines is holding its annual event at the Broadgate Centre in the City, and this year 48 City teams will battle it out dressed up in giant polystyrene skittle suits. While victims pose as skittles, the other team swings a giant ball at them.

British Airways, whose plan to team up with American Airlines is being hotly debated, is also involved. Virgin's Richard Branson has not been invited to field a team, however. An American spokesman explains: "They're not based in the City."

How will the great publicist hit back, I wonder? Human clay pigeon shooting, perhaps?

Talking of Mr Branson, the Virgin boss has just awarded air stewardess "wings" to Lisa Leeson, wife of Nick, the Barings trader now doing time in Singapore. Mrs Leeson, 27, joined Virgin in the normal way and completed a six-month training course.

The job guarantees her cheap flights to visit her husband at the notorious Changi prison, where he is serving a six-and-a-half-year sentence. Nick Leeson is allowed two 20-minute visits each month, but his wife could not afford the pounds 600 return air fares from her job as a waitress in a Maidstone tearoom.

You could soon be sipping gourmet coffees from Burundi, Brazil, Ethiopia, Papua New Guinea and Uganda thanks to a $1m grant from the London- based International Coffee Organisation (ICO). ICO secretary Paul Dubois says people are already prepared to pay premium prices for recognised gourmet coffees like Jamaican Blue Mountain. These five countries could gain big overseas earnings if they can develop similar top brands.

This does not mean charging out and planting new crops, however. The secret is in identifying the best production techniques and areas to grow the beans, says Mr Dubois. For instance, a pound of unroasted Ecuador Arabica beans costs $1.10 on international markets, while Blue Mountain would set you back $15. Me, I'm off for a cuppa.

PROMOTED VIDEO
Voices
Pupils educated at schools like Eton (pictured) are far more likely to succeed in politics and the judiciary, the report found
voices
Arts and Entertainment
Simon Cowell is less than impressed with the Strictly/X Factor scheduling clash
tvSimon Cowell blasts BBC for breaking 'gentlemen's agreement' in scheduling war
News
Orson Welles made Citizen Kane at 25, and battled with Hollywood film studios thereafter
people
News
Brad Pitt and Angelina Jolie reportedly married in secret on Saturday
peopleSpokesperson for couple confirms they tied the knot on Saturday after almost a decade together
Sport
footballAnd Liverpool are happy despite drawing European champions
News
i100
News
ebooksAn evocation of the conflict through the eyes of those who lived through it
Arts and Entertainment
tv
News
i100
Arts and Entertainment
Diana from the Great British Bake Off 2014
tvProducers confirm contestant left because of illness
Arts and Entertainment
Lisa Kudrow, Courtney Cox and Jennifer Anniston reunite for a mini Friends sketch on Jimmy Kimmel Live
tv
Life and Style
fashion

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

Client-Side web developer (JQuery, Javascript, UI, JMX, FIX)

Negotiable: Harrington Starr: Client-Side web developer (JQuery, Javascript, U...

Structured Finance

Highly Competitive Salary: Austen Lloyd: CITY - An excellent new instruction w...

SQL Server Developer

£500 per day: Harrington Starr: SQL Server Developer SQL, PHP, C#, Real Time,...

C#.NET Developer

£600 per day: Harrington Starr: C#.NET Developer C#, Win Forms, WPF, WCF, MVVM...

Day In a Page

Ukraine crisis: The phoney war is over as Russian troops and armour pour across the border

The phoney war is over

Russian troops and armour pour into Ukraine
Potatoes could be off the menu as crop pests threaten UK

Potatoes could be off the menu as crop pests threaten UK

The world’s entire food system is under attack - and Britain is most at risk, according to a new study
Gangnam smile: why the Chinese are flocking to South Korea to buy a new face

Gangnam smile: why the Chinese are flocking to South Korea to buy a new face

Seoul's plastic surgery industry is booming thanks to the popularity of the K-Pop look
From Mozart to Orson Welles: Creative geniuses who peaked too soon

Creative geniuses who peaked too soon

After the death of Sandy Wilson, 90, who wrote his only hit musical in his twenties, John Walsh wonders what it's like to peak too soon and go on to live a life more ordinary
Caught in the crossfire of a cyber Cold War

Caught in the crossfire of a cyber Cold War

Fears are mounting that Vladimir Putin has instructed hackers to target banks like JP Morgan
Salomé's feminine wiles have inspired writers, painters and musicians for 2,000 years

Salomé: A head for seduction

Salomé's feminine wiles have inspired writers, painters and musicians for 2,000 years. Now audiences can meet the Biblical femme fatale in two new stage and screen projects
From Bram Stoker to Stanley Kubrick, the British Library's latest exhibition celebrates all things Gothic

British Library celebrates all things Gothic

Forthcoming exhibition Terror and Wonder: The Gothic Imagination will be the UK's largest ever celebration of Gothic literature
The Hard Rock Café's owners are embroiled in a bitter legal dispute - but is the restaurant chain worth fighting for?

Is the Hard Rock Café worth fighting for?

The restaurant chain's owners are currently embroiled in a bitter legal dispute
Caribbean cuisine is becoming increasingly popular in the UK ... and there's more to it than jerk chicken at carnival

In search of Caribbean soul food

Caribbean cuisine is becoming increasingly popular in the UK ... and there's more to it than jerk chicken at carnival
11 best face powders

11 best face powders

Sweep away shiny skin with our pick of the best pressed and loose powder bases
England vs Norway: Roy Hodgson's hands tied by exploding top flight

Roy Hodgson's hands tied by exploding top flight

Lack of Englishmen at leading Premier League clubs leaves manager hamstrung
Angel Di Maria and Cristiano Ronaldo: A tale of two Manchester United No 7s

Di Maria and Ronaldo: A tale of two Manchester United No 7s

They both inherited the iconic shirt at Old Trafford, but the £59.7m new boy is joining a club in a very different state
Israel-Gaza conflict: No victory for Israel despite weeks of death and devastation

Robert Fisk: No victory for Israel despite weeks of devastation

Palestinians have won: they are still in Gaza, and Hamas is still there
Mary Beard writes character reference for Twitter troll who called her a 'slut'

Unlikely friends: Mary Beard and the troll who called her a ‘filthy old slut’

The Cambridge University classicist even wrote the student a character reference
America’s new apartheid: Prosperous white districts are choosing to break away from black cities and go it alone

America’s new apartheid

Prosperous white districts are choosing to break away from black cities and go it alone