Credit Crisis Diary: 14/04/2009

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On the recession front line

Let it not be said that Unite isn't doing everything possible to protect its members from the effects of the recession. But the trade union must be getting dizzy with its efforts – in recent days it has been "left reeling" by job cuts at Southampton Docks, felt "devastated and truly appalled" by redundancies at RBS, and become "alarmed" by staff reductions at Aviva. It is also pledging "not to stand idly by" while employers reduce pension benefits, as Aon did last week. Staff at the union are going to need counselling at this rate.

Profiting from other people's misery

Goodness knows what Unite would make of Someone's Gotta Go, a reality TV show just announced by Fox in America. It will be set in real businesses in the process of making redundancies. Staff under threat will be given details of each other's pay and benefits and filmed trying to reach an agreement about who goes and who stays. Not voyeuristic at all, then.

One way to declare your candidacy

Is Prudential's Nick Prettejohn making an early application to replace Sandy Crombie at Standard Life when he steps down later this year? Within hours of issuing odds on possible candidates for the post, the financial betting firm BGC Partners had to issue an update, adding Prettejohn to the runners and riders. Who called BGC to complain about his initial omission?

One business where the wheels are still on

At last, a boom sector of the economy. Almost 80 per cent of bicycle retailers recorded stronger sales last month than in March 2008, with many reporting record revenues. In other words, the recession may be decimating the car industry, but cycling is a beneficiary.

Let's drink to a rare export success

The latest official figures on Britain's trade with the rest of the world, which show a sharp increase in exports, prompt the question: what exactly are we managing to flog to other countries so successfully? The answer, it turns out, is whisky, which is understandable – if, like most of the world,you're mired in recession, what better way to console yourself than with a nice drop of scotch?