Business Diary: An American view of Britain

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The Independent Online

CNBC, the American business channel, seems to have a rather antiquated view of the way we British folk speak to each other. It ran a poll of viewers over the weekend, asking whether they thought the increasingly angry backlash from certain parts of this country over the White House's treatment of BP was wrong. The options were "Yes, stiff upper lip, chaps," or "No, right to be miffed". Even when BP was still trading as British Petroleum, we didn't talk like that.

Letterman is thankful for BP

Still on BP, at least the crisis in the Gulf of Mexico appears to be providing the American talk show hosts with some useful material. Our award for gag of the week goes to David Letterman for the following line. "This oil spill in the Gulf is affecting everybody. In fact, when I went to lunch this weekend and ordered the sea bass, they asked if I wanted it regular or unleaded."

US in sights of the ECB's poets

As the BP saga proves, crises can be a rich source of creativity. On a more gentle note, this limerick is apparently doing the rounds at the European Central Bank. "This bail-out we've not had much luck at, And it's us Greeks are running amok at, So we'll just watch this week, The World Cup en Afrique, Which at least the Americans suck at." Now, be fair to the Frankfurt-based ECB – English isn't the first language of most of its staff.

Card giants' sporting pride

Poor old Mastercard probably isn't enjoying the World Cup, having seen its great rival Visa snaffle the sponsorship of the tournament (though Fifa had to pay it a chunky sum to settle a dispute over who had first right of refusal). Life isn't going to get much better when London hosts the Olympics in two years' time. The World Cup has only just begun and Visa is already emailing people inviting them to buy Olympics merchandise. "Visa is proud to be the only card accepted at the London 2012 Olympic and Paralympic Games," it has begun crowing.