Pembroke: Deadline count-down

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The Independent Online
Mr Accountancy, Robert Bruce, is writing off his associate editorship of Accountancy Age in June.

Mr Bruce has been with the weekly for almost 20 years and was editor for 10, and there exist few newspapers without a City writer moulded by him. But his job was put on to a three-year contract basis in 1990 following an acrimonious strike, and is not being extended. The magazine may, it seems, retain his services part-time.

Mr Bruce would proffer only a qualified opinion on his future plans. 'Like all good journalists, I'm waiting for the deadline before I do anything.'

Fun and musical chairs at the Building Societies Association, even before its annual dinner gets under way next month. Cheltenham & Gloucester has always declined to join in the staid, bow-tied junketing of the dinner, but this year things promised to be a little different, and C&G was looking forward to the jollities in Brighton next month with a table for four plus four journalists as guests.

But the BSA, having already given the go-ahead for this party plan, decided 'the seating plan may seem a little unbalanced if so many journalists are concentrated on one table'.

So C&G is ducking out. Chief executive Andrew Longhurst will be dodging the serious capital ratios talk and may be found risking his 10ps on the pier instead.

Has Dr Paul Neild, chief economist at Natwest Securities, got time on his hands?

Dr Neild has a reputation for off-beat research but his latest weekly commentary is grave. Dr Neild is worried about the slim Conservative majority of 18 in the Commons, and the crushing local government poll and Newbury by-election defeats. He notes that death has been the most common cause of by-elections in the past 150 years, analyses the age of Tory MPs and adds measures of life expectancy into the sums. It seems we can expect 2.1 deaths before next May, 2.3 in the succeeding 12 months, 2.6 in the next year and 2.9 in the year after that.

That makes a grand total of 9.9 deaths if this parliament runs its full term. On recent form it looks like the Tories will lose all these mid-term battles. Add by-elections caused by Maastricht protestations and one-off polls, and the majority could waste away before our eyes.

The Society of Practitioners of Insolvency, umbrella organisation for all those nice liquidators, is holding its third annual conference next week at Peebles Hydro, a hotel on the River Tweed, where the guests will be able to enjoy such liquid delights as the spa.

The hydro only has room for about two-thirds of the 300 conference-goers, so the rest will have to spill out into overflow hotels.

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