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
  • Get to the point
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

SThree: Graduate Recruitment Resourcer

£20000 per annum + commission: SThree: Sthree have an exciting opportunity for...

Recruitment Genius: Telesales Executive - OTE £32,000+

£18000 - £32000 per annum: Recruitment Genius: A Telesales Executive is requir...

Ashdown Group: Marketing Manager - B2B, Corporate - City, London

£45000 - £50000 per annum + benefits : Ashdown Group: A highly successful, glo...

Neil Pavier: Commercial Analyst

£50,000 - £55,000: Neil Pavier: Are you a professionally qualified commercial ...

Day In a Page

War with Isis: Iraq declares victory in the battle for Tikrit - but militants make make ominous advances in neighbouring Syria's capital

War with Isis

Iraq declares victory in the battle for Tikrit - but militants make make ominous advances in neighbouring Syria
Scientists develop mechanical spring-loaded leg brace to improve walking

A spring in your step?

Scientists develop mechanical leg brace to help take a load off
Peter Ackroyd on Alfred Hitchcock: How London shaped the director's art and obsessions

Peter Ackroyd on Alfred Hitchcock

Ackroyd has devoted his literary career to chronicling the capital and its characters. He tells John Walsh why he chose the master of suspense as his latest subject
Ryan Reynolds interview: The actor is branching out with Nazi art-theft drama Woman in Gold

Ryan Reynolds branches out in Woman in Gold

For every box-office smash in Ryan Reynolds' Hollywood career, there's always been a misconceived let-down. It's time for a rethink and a reboot, the actor tells James Mottram
Why Robin Williams safeguarded himself against a morbid trend in advertising

Stars safeguard against morbid advertising

As film-makers and advertisers make increasing posthumous use of celebrities' images, some stars are finding new ways of ensuring that they rest in peace
The UK horticulture industry is facing a skills crisis - but Great Dixter aims to change all that

UK horticulture industry facing skills crisis

Great Dixter manor house in East Sussex is encouraging people to work in the industry by offering three scholarships a year to students, as well as generous placements
Hack Circus aims to turn the rule-abiding approach of TED talks on its head

Hack Circus: Technology, art and learning

Hack Circus aims to turn the rule-abiding approach of TED talks on its head. Rhodri Marsden meets mistress of ceremonies Leila Johnston
Sevenoaks is split over much-delayed decision on controversial grammar school annexe

Sevenoaks split over grammar school annexe

If Weald of Kent Grammar School is given the go-ahead for an annexe in leafy Sevenoaks, it will be the first selective state school to open in 50 years
10 best compact cameras

A look through the lens: 10 best compact cameras

If your smartphone won’t quite cut it, it’s time to invest in a new portable gadget
Paul Scholes column: Ross Barkley played well against Italy but he must build on that. His time to step up and seize that England No 10 shirt is now

Paul Scholes column

Ross Barkley played well against Italy but he must build on that. His time to step up and seize that England No 10 shirt is now
Why Michael Carrick is still proving an enigma for England

Why Carrick is still proving an enigma for England

Manchester United's talented midfielder has played international football for almost 14 years yet, frustratingly, has won only 32 caps, says Sam Wallace
Tracey Neville: The netball coach who is just as busy as her brothers, Gary and Phil

Tracey Neville is just as busy as her brothers, Gary and Phil

The former player on how she is finding time to coach both Manchester Thunder in the Superleague and England in this year's World Cup
General Election 2015: The masterminds behind the scenes

The masterminds behind the election

How do you get your party leader to embrace a message and then stick to it? By employing these people
Machine Gun America: The amusement park where teenagers go to shoot a huge range of automatic weapons

Machine Gun America

The amusement park where teenagers go to shoot a huge range of automatic weapons
The ethics of pet food: Why are we are so selective in how we show animals our love?

The ethics of pet food

Why are we are so selective in how we show animals our love?