Credit crisis diary 15/11/2008

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The Independent Online

The Mr Big behind the Scottish bankers

Maybe we should take the attempt by Sir Peter Burt and Sir George Mathewson to derail the Lloyds-HBOS merger a little more seriously. The website unveiled by the pair yesterday reveals the campaign is being run out of the Berkeley Square headquarters of the merchant bank Fairfax. It is headed by a business acquaintance of Sir Peter, one Stefan Allesch-Taylor. The 6ft 10in, 20-stone banker, left, once the proud owner of pet piranhas, is not a man to mess with.

Let's get this party started

A quick suggestion for event planners at Barclays Bank wondering what music might be appropriate for the EGM this month at which shareholders will vote on the bank's capital infusion from Qatar and Abu Dhabi. Busta Rhymes' "Arab Money" – chorus: "We gettin Arab Money, We gettin Arab Money" – is surely the only option.

Ryanair battles for taxpayers

Fighting talk from our friends at Ryanair, who are demanding to know why, in these difficult times, fat-cat civil servants are wasting taxpayers' money on over-priced air fares. Ryanair has demanded an official inquiry into why civil servants from Northern Ireland are paying £199 a time for BMI flights to travel to London. No prizes for guessing which low-cost airline offers the same flights for only £20.

An economic miracle stripped bare

Forget the recession, it's boom time in certain sectors of the economy. Rick's Cabaret International – it calls itself a nightclub business, but runs the sort of clubs where entertainers take their clothes off – saw sales rise by 113 per cent in September. Difficult to know where the money is coming from, what with bankers' corporate entertainment budgets being in the state they are, but hats (and everything else) off to them.

Grapes of wrath

Looks like the Diary spoke too soon. Earlier this week, we reported that the value of vintage wine was holding up despite the global downturn. Now Liv-ex tells us that its 100 Fine Wine Index fell 12.4 per cent in October, the biggest ever monthly movement since the index was launched in 2001. Investors will have to drown their sorrows after all.