Business diary: Hand of God at work at the Bank?

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The Independent Online

Mervyn King once wowed an audience by explaining why the Bank of England was like Maradona. He referred to the Argentine's amazing second goal against England at the 1986 World Cup, when Maradona ran from the halfway, basically in a straight line, thus avoiding England's players who expected him to swerve. The Bank can do the same thing, King explained, since the markets expect it to change course. Now, however, Malcolm Barr of JPMorgan, reckons that the better analogy would be with Maradona's first goal in that game, when he got away with handball. The Bank's subtle shifting of its inflation forecasts, says Barr, are not quite so blatant – "but it is certainly lingering in an offside position, hoping not to be flagged".

Pennies as well as pounds in the City

It's good to see the folk who run the City of London do not spend all their time dreaming up new ways to make a fortune from high finance. The latest issue of City View, the magazine of the City of London Corporation, carries this news item: "The Corporation has launched a community toilet scheme that significantly increases the number of toilets the public can use across the Square Mile". The idea is to get businesses in the City to open up their facilities – though it's probably best if the banks tread carefully.

Free shares plan is Tory after all

If George Osborne feels minded to dismiss Nick Clegg's plan for a hand-out of RBS and Lloyds shares as just a little bit tooLiberal Democrat, he might like to reflect on where the idea came from. Clegg took it from a think tank's research paper, published earlier this year, but the first man to voice the idea in public was actually Lord Saatchi, a former Conservative Party chairman.

High jinks for US frequent flyers

We are indebted to the San Francisco Chronicle for its thoroughly entertaining story on the American business consultant (who preferred not to be named) who is a member of the frequent flyer club at US Airways – and who makes a point of travelling wearing skimpy women's clothing, often only underwear. The 65-year-old gentleman does it for fun and says he has only rarely been asked to put some clothes on by the airline's staff.