Business Diary: A good day to bury bad banking news

The spirit of Jo Moore is alive and well at Britain's banks. The Labour spin doctor famously told colleagues that 11 September, the day of the terrorist attacks on the twin towers, was an opportunity to bury bad news. Yesterday, while Lloyds and Royal Bank of Scotland were announcing their latest bailouts, HSBC quietly revealed 1,700 job cuts and Barclays admitted its head of retail banking was quitting. Did they hope no one would notice?

Hornby keeps a low profile at Boots

Talking of operating below the radar screens, why wasn't Andy Hornby, chief executive of Alliance Boots, out and about talking up his company's results yesterday, which were pretty strong, after all? Perhaps Mr Hornby, who ran HBOS until he was forced to step down following its rescue takeover by Lloyds, feared no one would ask him about his new job.

The posties telling it like it is

For a heartfelt, honest explanation from postal staff on why they are striking, look no further than, where the posties have set up a site to put their case to customers very reasonably. Still, there's a certain irony in the fact that the site carries advertising from Google including an invitation to check out alternative mail carriers to "beat the postal strike".

M&S is a victim of friendly fire

Marks & Spencer's first foray into aggressive advertising looks to have rather backfired. Earlier this week it published a series of ads meant to demonstrate that it competed very strongly against Waitrose on price. But the layout was so confusing, many people thought the ads were actually plugging Waitrose. They've had to be redesigned.

How Lenihan takes on the banking vampires

Brian Lenihan, Irish Finance Minister, has a reputation for driving a hard bargain in negotiations, but he has an unlikely secret weapon. A new book on Mr Lenihan reveals that he is in the habit of chewing raw garlic to help him stay sharp during

late-night negotiations on the economy and the banking crisis.

Number of the day: 7%

The collapse in the sale price of secondhand cars over the past month, according to Glass's Guide.