Herd of dinosaurs ready to pounce on Bank

People & Business

Just as Steven Spielberg's latest dinosaur flick is about to hit British cinema screens, a prehistoric group of economists has formed a club to celebrate the values of a bygone era.

A herd of Thatcherite economists has launched a "shadow" UK monetary policy committee to keep an eye on the Bank of England. They held their first meeting last night and intend to emerge from the undergrowth, Tyrannosaurus- like, to tear limb from limb any weedy lefties who attempt to debauch the currency.

All the old names are there: two former wise men, Professor Patrick Minford of Liverpool University and Tim Congdon of Lombard Street Research, as well as Alan Walters, Thatch's old eminence grise, now of AIG Trading Group.

Peter Spencer, chairman of the herd and professor of financial economics at Birkbeck University, says: "We felt that, particularly in view of the Bank of England's gaining independence, it was very important that there should be a debate."

Other dinosaurs include Gordon Pepper, professor at City University business school, David Smith of Williams de Broe and Peter Warburton of Flemings.

The herd will operate under the protection of the Institute for Economic Affairs (IEA), and will print minutes within a week of each quarterly meeting and publish them before the Bank of England's quarterly assessment of the economy. Stand by for some blood-letting.

Stephen Morgan, chairman of Redrow, the housebuilders, recently sold 54 million shares in the company at 158p each, realising about pounds 85m in the process. This cut Mr Morgan's stake in the company from nearly 60 per cent to 35 per cent, and I hear he spent a large chunk of the proceeds on building a new golf course near Wrexham.

This isn't surprising, since Redrow has done well out of developing St Davids Park Hotel and Golf Club, near the company's base in Wales. This development included a private housing estate, a championship-sized swimming pool, gym and sauna, and the golf course is now home to the Welsh PGA.

BAT is moving its head office from the West End of London to the City; it's moving from Windsor House, near Scotland Yard in St James's Park, to a plush new edifice called Globe House above Temple tube.

When the building is completed in the second quarter of next year, roughly 900 staff will transfer there, the majority from Woking and Staines.

Michael Prideaux, a spokesman for BAT, says: "You can't have an international tobacco company operating out of Staines, though I'm sure it's a very nice place."

Mr Prideaux says BAT subsidiary Brown & Williamson's tobacco plant in Macon, Georgia, frisks workers entering the building for rogue non-BAT brands. They confiscate them and replace them with BAT brands such as Lucky Strike and Benson & Hedges. Strange but true.

Mr Prideaux adds that he personally prefers Monte Cristo cigars to cigarettes.

Incidentally, visitors to the current BAT head office are confronted with a mountain of fags, a gigantic glass ashtray and a lighter in the reception area. It fairly makes you wheeze just to look at them.

David Thompson, managing director of Wolverhampton and Dudley Breweries, was born in the brewery, I hear. There was a mini-hospital with a delivery room inside the main Wolverhampton brewery, says Mr Thompson, a scion of the Midlands beerage dynasty.

More recently Mr Thompson wanted to convert the premises in Wolverhampton into an office so he could work where he was born. But the proposal was deemed too expensive and was dropped. Now the Thompson birthplace is a kegging hall. How many other brewers can say the same?

Start your day with The Independent, sign up for daily news emails
ebooks
ebooksA special investigation by Andy McSmith
  • Get to the point
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

Recruitment Genius: Operations Manager

£30000 - £38000 per annum: Recruitment Genius: They are a financial services c...

Guru Careers: Stockbroker

£Basic (OTE) + Uncapped Commission: Guru Careers: A Stockbroker (qualified / p...

Recruitment Genius: Financial Adviser

£20000 - £60000 per annum: Recruitment Genius: Are you recently QCA Level 4 qu...

SThree: Graduate Recruitment Resourcer

£20000 - £22500 per annum + OTE £30K: SThree: SThree Group have been well esta...

Day In a Page

Robert Fisk in Abu Dhabi: The acceptable face of the Emirates

The acceptable face of the Emirates

Has Abu Dhabi found a way to blend petrodollars with principles, asks Robert Fisk
Nepal earthquake: One man's desperate escape from Everest base camp after the disaster

Escape from Everest base camp

Nick Talbot was sitting in his tent when the tsunami of snow and rock hit. He was lucky to live, unlike his climbing partner just feet away...
Adopting high fibre diet could dramatically cut risk of bowel cancer, says study

What happened when 20 Americans swapped diets with 20 Africans?

Innovative study in the US produces remarkable results
Blake Lively and 'The Age of Adaline': Gossip Girl comes
of age

Gossip girl comes of age

Blake Lively is best known for playing an affluent teenager. Her role as a woman who is trapped forever at 29 is a greater challenge
Goat cuisine: Kid meat is coming to Ocado

Goat cuisine

It's loved by chefs, ethical, low in fat and delicious. So, will kid meat give lamb a run for its money?
14 best coat hooks

Hang on: 14 best coat hooks

Set the tone for the rest of your house with a stylish and functional coat rack in the hallway
Not even the 'putrid throat' could stop the Ross Poldark swoon-fest'

Not even the 'putrid throat' could stop the Ross Poldark swoon-fest'

How a costume drama became a Sunday night staple
Miliband promises no stamp duty for first-time buyers as he pushes Tories on housing

Miliband promises no stamp duty for first-time buyers

Labour leader pushes Tories on housing
Aviation history is littered with grand failures - from the the Bristol Brabazon to Concorde - but what went wrong with the SuperJumbo?

Aviation history is littered with grand failures

But what went wrong with the SuperJumbo?
Fear of Putin, Islamists and immigration is giving rise to a new generation of Soviet-style 'iron curtains' right across Europe

Fortress Europe?

Fear of Putin, Islamists and immigration is giving rise to a new generation of 'iron curtains'
Never mind what you're wearing, it's what you're reclining on

Never mind what you're wearing

It's what you're reclining on that matters
General Election 2015: Chuka Umunna on the benefits of immigration, humility – and his leader Ed Miliband

Chuka Umunna: A virus of racism runs through Ukip

The shadow business secretary on the benefits of immigration, humility – and his leader Ed Miliband
Yemen crisis: This exotic war will soon become Europe's problem

Yemen's exotic war will soon affect Europe

Terrorism and boatloads of desperate migrants will be the outcome of the Saudi air campaign, says Patrick Cockburn
Marginal Streets project aims to document voters in the run-up to the General Election

Marginal Streets project documents voters

Independent photographers Joseph Fox and Orlando Gili are uploading two portraits of constituents to their website for each day of the campaign
Game of Thrones: Visit the real-life kingdom of Westeros to see where violent history ends and telly tourism begins

The real-life kingdom of Westeros

Is there something a little uncomfortable about Game of Thrones shooting in Northern Ireland?