The City Diary: Goldman spat: Stein weighs in and Blodget blogs back

Slackbelly exposes The Good, The Bad and The Ugly of The Square Mile

Another spat seems to have resurfaced between Henry Blodget, a former Wall Street analyst turned commentator, and Ben Stein, the economist who once wrote speeches for Presidents Nixon and Ford before taking the higher-brow role of playing the dour economics teacher in the film Ferris Bueller's Day Off.

Stein has long been fond of slamming Goldman Sachs, and weighs in again over the allegations that the bank's trader, Fabrice "Fabulous" Tourre, sold clients an investment that another Goldman client had helped fill with bad loans.

That's offended Blodget, who's penned a blog pointing out that Stein was once sacked by The New York Times, and headlined: "Canned NYT Columnist Moves Goldman-Bashing To Bloomberg". What an odd thing for Blodget to do. Does he think everybody's forgotten his ban from the securities industry in 2003 for behaviour not completely dissimilar from that alleged of, er, Tourre?

Dragons roar before their new TV series begins...funny that

More on the "spat", reported here last week, between Duncan Bannatyne and James Caan from Dragons' Den – which has, remarkably, erupted at a time when the ensuing publicity provides a huge boost to the forthcoming series.

Bannatyne, you'll recall, is suddenly outraged by his former friend's long-standing non-dom status, Caan has hit back with a crack about Bannatyne's spell in clink and – well – I can only assume that everybody has since leant back, sparked up the cigars and enjoyed all the attention. Now Bannatyne has written a column on his blog about immigrant families becoming non-doms entitled: "You, the refugees, their children and your children", which has prompted a statement from Mo Chaudry – another businessman with plenty of time to appear on the telly. He says: "Bannatyne has become a one-man 'Monster Raving Loony Party'. Labelling migrants to this country as refugees is downright racist."

Bannatyne's people respond by musing that Chaudry's line might be libellous, and point out that their client is merely continuing his campaign for "the fairest tax system possible for our children and grandchildren".

Whatever.

Is there anything this lot won't do for a bit of exposure?

Brownites' plan for Gavyn Davies and the Old Lady

Gordon Brown's branding of Goldman Sachs as "morally bankrupt", while calling for an immediate investigation into the bank's dealings, is an astonishing U-turn (and valediction?).

Goldman got its big break in Whitehall via its former banker, Gavyn Davies – who is married to Brown's friend and former private secretary, Sue Nye. Davies went on to become chairman of the BBC (stoically brushing aside barbs of Labour cronyism), but the ultimate Brownite plan was to have him installed as Eddie George's successor at the Bank of England. Where did it all go wrong?

Musical chairs at Cazenove committee won't help the FSA

The Financial Services Authority has yet to unearth the inside source at Cazenove who supposedly supplied tips to Malcolm Calvert, the bank's former partner convicted of insider trading last month.

City watchers have speculated that Calvert got his information from a member of the Commitments Committee, the cabal of partners that gives the nod to each Cazenove deal. Possibly, although I learn that the committee is a movable feast, consisting of about six partners (now MDs) who vary depending on the deal they are scrutinising.

If the deal is to advise on a flotation, then somebody from the research department will be on the committee, as the bank has to be sure its analysts are not going to trash a client's listing. If it's an M&A deal, research will be excluded, but transaction specialists called in. All of which might explain why the FSA has struggled to unmask Calvert's alleged mole. At least, thus far.

Give this GE boss a degree in sub-prime loans

Rewards for the villains of the credit crisis just keep on rolling in. After honorary degrees doled out to Sir Derek Wanless, the diligent former head of the risk committee at Northern Rock, and Sir James Crosby, the genius behind the fearless strategy at HBOS, I now learn of another prize, for Jeff Immelt (right), the chief executive of conglomerate General Electric, who is to receive an honorary doctorate from Boston College.

"Immelt successfully guided GE through the post-9/11 era, and today the company is the world's biggest maker of jet engines, locomotives, medical-imaging equipment and power plant turbines," the university gushes – somehow forgetting that Dr Jeff also presided over a company that pumped out masses of those sub-prime loans which almost obliterated the world economy. Could do better.

Sorry, Sportingbet – you cashed in your chips too early

The odds of the American ban on internet gambling being lifted are shortening after moves in Washington. City traders are getting excited that this might be a boost for London-listed companies, including Sportingbet. Well, yes and no. The latest idea seems to concern only online poker, while any changes for sports betting and casino sites are unlikely to be useful to Sportingbet. The company sold those US firms for $1 when it withdrew from America in 2006 and it retains no details of its former punters. A bit of a long-shot then.

postmaster@slackbelly.com

Suggested Topics
Start your day with The Independent, sign up for daily news emails
ebooks
ebooksA special investigation by Andy McSmith
Latest stories from i100
Have you tried new the Independent Digital Edition apps?
Independent Dating
and  

By clicking 'Search' you
are agreeing to our
Terms of Use.

iJobs Job Widget
iJobs Money & Business

Recruitment Genius: Customer Relations Officer

£13000 per annum: Recruitment Genius: This is an exciting opportunity to join ...

Ashdown Group: Junior Application Support Analyst - Fluent German Speaker

£25000 - £30000 per annum + benefits: Ashdown Group: A global leader operating...

Recruitment Genius: Evening Administrator

£8 per hour: Recruitment Genius: This Pension Specialist was established early...

Guru Careers: Executive Assistant / PA

£30 - 35k + Bonus & Benefits: Guru Careers: We are seeking an Executive Assist...

Day In a Page

Homeless Veterans campaign: Donations hit record-breaking £1m target after £300,000 gift from Lloyds Bank

Homeless Veterans campaign

Donations hit record-breaking £1m target after huge gift from Lloyds Bank
Flight MH370 a year on: Lost without a trace – but the search goes on

Lost without a trace

But, a year on, the search continues for Flight MH370
Germany's spymasters left red-faced after thieves break into brand new secret service HQ and steal taps

Germany's spy HQ springs a leak

Thieves break into new €1.5bn complex... to steal taps
International Women's Day 2015: Celebrating the whirlwind wit of Simone de Beauvoir

Whirlwind wit of Simone de Beauvoir

Simone de Beauvoir's seminal feminist polemic, 'The Second Sex', has been published in short-form for International Women's Day
Mark Zuckerberg’s hiring policy might suit him – but it wouldn’t work for me

Mark Zuckerberg’s hiring policy might suit him – but it wouldn’t work for me

Why would I want to employ someone I’d be happy to have as my boss, asks Simon Kelner
Confessions of a planespotter: With three Britons under arrest in the UAE, the perils have never been more apparent

Confessions of a planespotter

With three Britons under arrest in the UAE, the perils have never been more apparent. Sam Masters explains the appeal
Russia's gulag museum 'makes no mention' of Stalin's atrocities

Russia's gulag museum

Ministry of Culture-run site 'makes no mention' of Stalin's atrocities
The big fresh food con: Alarming truth behind the chocolate muffin that won't decay

The big fresh food con

Joanna Blythman reveals the alarming truth behind the chocolate muffin that won't decay
Virginia Ironside was my landlady: What is it like to live with an agony aunt on call 24/7?

Virginia Ironside was my landlady

Tim Willis reveals what it's like to live with an agony aunt on call 24/7
Paris Fashion Week 2015: The wit and wisdom of Manish Arora's exercise in high camp

Paris Fashion Week 2015

The wit and wisdom of Manish Arora's exercise in high camp
8 best workout DVDs

8 best workout DVDs

If your 'New Year new you' regime hasn’t lasted beyond February, why not try working out from home?
Paul Scholes column: I don't believe Jonny Evans was spitting at Papiss Cissé. It was a reflex. But what the Newcastle striker did next was horrible

Paul Scholes column

I don't believe Evans was spitting at Cissé. It was a reflex. But what the Newcastle striker did next was horrible
Miguel Layun interview: From the Azteca to Vicarage Road with a million followers

From the Azteca to Vicarage Road with a million followers

Miguel Layun is a star in Mexico where he was criticised for leaving to join Watford. But he says he sees the bigger picture
Frank Warren column: Amir Khan ready to meet winner of Floyd Mayweather v Manny Pacquiao

Khan ready to meet winner of Mayweather v Pacquiao

The Bolton fighter is unlikely to take on Kell Brook with two superstar opponents on the horizon, says Frank Warren
War with Isis: Iraq's government fights to win back Tikrit from militants - but then what?

Baghdad fights to win back Tikrit from Isis – but then what?

Patrick Cockburn reports from Kirkuk on a conflict which sectarianism has made intractable