Credit crisis diary: Mandelson's shadowy doorman
Thursday 07 May 2009
Business minister Lord Mandelson is usually charm personified, but was that just a hint of snobbishness we detected during his appearance at a conference jointly sponsored by the ABI and the CBI yesterday? Mandy started his speech by saying how pleased he had been to have been met at the door of the do by Lord Hunt of Wirral, his Conservative shadow. "I don't think he was the doorman," he added.
Everyone likes to back the winning side
Maybe Lord Mandelson is feeling a little dispirited by the increasing number of prominent figures from the business world to be deserting the Labour government for the good ship Cameron. Rolls-Royce boss Sir John Rose, who has often proffered advice to Gordon Brown, has, we understand, joined a Conservative Party committee of the great and good on the economy. The Tories made much last year of "embedding" staff with Rolls-Royce in order for them to learn more about business, and now it seems the traffic is going both ways.
Royal Bank still knows how to party
Royal Bank of Scotland does its best to appear squeaky clean these days on matters of corporate excess, desperate as it is to put the Sir Fred pension affair behind it. But executives at the bank would be wise to make sure all employees have got the message – the occupants of its posh box at Arsenal's Emirates Stadium were certainly not shy about living it up during the Champions League semi-final on Tuesday night.
Smile, you're on a Serco camera
If you're the bloke who runs the company responsible for installing around 4,500 speed cameras in the UK, you presumably know where they are – or at least that there are lots out there. Not Tom Riall, head of Serco's home affairs subsidiary, who was banned from driving for six months yesterday after a camera clocked him doing 103mph in a 70mph zone.
Moody's takes a blurry view of the economy
The poor folks at Moody's have got themselves in a right mess on the likely nature of Britain's economic recovery. What you want, you see, is a "U-shaped" economy in which the recovery is just as steep as the decline. What you don't want is the dreaded L, where stagnation follows decline. Moody's expects something in between – a "hook-shaped scenario" – though it isn't ruling out that this "could potentially evolve into an L-shaped scenario". Our heads are spinning.
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