People & Business

Despite sporting a walking-stick and a hobble, the result of a weekend footballing injury, Howard Davies, the chairman of the Financial Services Authority (FSA), was in his best impish form at the CBI conference in Birmingham yesterday where he was addressing his former colleagues over breakfast.

In particular he could not resist a dirty trick at the expense of the CBI's president, Sir Colin Marshall. Mr Davies explained he had arrived the previous evening half-way through the traditional pre-conference dinner because his train was late, only to discover that Sir Colin was already aware of his movements. "I can't think how the chairman of British Airways got his hands on the Virgin Trains passenger list," quipped the watchdog chairman.

Speaking of the FSA, Mr Davies was also unrepentant about its decision to set up shop not in the Square Mile, but in Canary Wharf, several miles east of the City in London's Docklands. Some City folk grumbled that it was wrong for the FSA, the overall investment regulator, to be so far away from the centre of power and decision making. Not so, said Mr Davies. "London City Airport and a flight to Frankfurt are only10 minutes away."

Remember, remember, the Fifth of November. Simon Briscoe, head of research at Nikko Europe, certainly did when he thoughtfully popped out to the shops to buy his family's supply of Guy Fawkes' Night fireworks.

Unfortunately for Mr Briscoe, he had an earlier appointment on the way from work to go and hear Alastair Darling, Chief Secretary to the Treasury, defend the Government's changes to the Bank of England in front of the Treasury Select Committee.

Mr Briscoe was duly searched at the entrance to the House of Commons and had to hand over his fireworks to the police. Gunpowder doesn't seem a very advisable thing to be bringing into the House, particularly on the anniversary of the Gunpowder Plot. Happily, Mr Briscoe wasn't hanged, drawn and quartered, despite his seditious criticism of the Government for giving the Bank of England its independence

Hans Tietmeyer, president of the Bundesbank and stern defender of the German mark, will be in London next month to receive a special prize, an award from the German British Forum for his contribution to the relationship between the two countries.

Bizarrely, the award specially cites Herr Tietmeyer's firmness for resisting the Bonn government's plans last May to revalue the Bundesbank's gold reserves. For those with short memories, Mr Tietmeyer's resistance looked at the time like a huge stumbling-block in the steady march towards the single currency. I presume that putting a halt to EMU is what the Forum decided was his contribution to Anglo-German amity. Perhaps they're right.

Let's all pause a moment to sympathise with the likes of Eddie George, Ken Clarke and Rudolph Agnew. British Airways announced yesterday that from 29 March next year it will be completely smoke free.

The decision will place die-hard users of the demon weed such as the above in a tricky position. When they need to fly to global conferences and the like, do they go by BA and suffer the smokers' version of "cold turkey", or do they go by an alternative airline and open themselves up to charges of unpatriotic behaviour?

A BA spokesman points out that 95 per cent of all BA's flights are already smoke free and that they have received many letters since such bans were introduced 10 years ago "from smokers, complementing us on our nice fresh cabins".

Smoking rooms, the curse of the modern office building, were considered as an alternative, he says, "but we didn't like the idea of a very few smokers sitting in a smoke-filled room at the back of a jumbo jet for 10 hours".

And if Rothmans chain-smokers like Eddie George are really worried, the spokesman says they can "store up on nicotine gum and smoking patches".

Simon Martin-Redman, formerly managing director of Ranelagh, the Westminster- based corporate affairs company which provided William Hague with offices during his leadership campaign, has joined DBI, another consultancy, as director responsible for central government.

Martin-Redman worked at Deloitte & Touche for three and a half years, and originally qualified as an accountant in the Royal Navy. He is sceptical that the proposed mega-mergers between accountancy firms will be allowed by the Government. Which would be sad, I think, since the latest name for the merger firm of Price Waterhouse and Coopers & Lybrand is "P&L".

Start your day with The Independent, sign up for daily news emails
ebooksAn unforgettable anthology of contemporary reportage
Latest stories from i100
Have you tried new the Independent Digital Edition apps?
Independent Dating

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

iJobs Job Widget
iJobs Money & Business

Recruitment Genius: Digital Optimisation Executive - Marketing

£30000 - £35000 per annum: Recruitment Genius: The UK's fastest growing, multi...

Recruitment Genius: Financial Reporting Manager

£70000 - £90000 per annum: Recruitment Genius: A Financial Reporting Manager i...

Recruitment Genius: Payments Operations Assistant

£23000 - £25000 per annum: Recruitment Genius: They win lots of awards for the...

Recruitment Genius: Telephone Debt Negotiator

£13500 - £20000 per annum: Recruitment Genius: This nationwide enforcement com...

Day In a Page

Sepp Blatter resignation: The beginning of Fifa's long road to reform?

Does Blatter's departure mean Fifa will automatically clean up its act?

Don't bet on it, says Tom Peck
Charles Kennedy: The baby of the House who grew into a Lib Dem giant

The baby of the House who grew into a Lib Dem giant

Charles Kennedy was consistently a man of the centre-left, dedicated to social justice, but was also a champion of liberty and an opponent of the nanny-state, says Baroness Williams
Syria civil war: The harrowing testament of a five-year-old victim of this endless conflict

The harrowing testament of a five-year-old victim of Syria's endless civil war

Sahar Qanbar lost her mother and brother as civilians and government soldiers fought side by side after being surrounded by brutal Islamist fighters. Robert Fisk visited her
The future of songwriting: How streaming is changing everything we know about making music

The future of songwriting

How streaming is changing everything we know about making music
William Shemin and Henry Johnson: Jewish and black soldiers receive World War I Medal of Honor amid claims of discrimination

Recognition at last

Jewish and black soldiers who fought in WWI finally receive medals after claims of discrimination
Beating obesity: The new pacemaker which helps over-eaters

Beating obesity

The new pacemaker which helps over-eaters
9 best women's festival waterproofs

Ready for rain: 9 best women's festival waterproofs

These are the macs to keep your denim dry and your hair frizz-free(ish)
On your feet! Spending at least two hours a day standing reduces the risk of heart attacks, cancer and diabetes, according to new research

On your feet!

Spending half the day standing 'reduces risk of heart attacks and cancer'
Liverpool close in on Milner signing

Liverpool close in on Milner signing

Reds baulk at Christian Benteke £32.5m release clause
With scores of surgeries closing, what hope is there for the David Cameron's promise of 5,000 more GPs and a 24/7 NHS?

The big NHS question

Why are there so few new GPs when so many want to study medicine?
Big knickers are back: Thongs ain't what they used to be

Thongs ain't what they used to be

Big knickers are back
Thurston Moore interview

Thurston Moore interview

On living in London, Sonic Youth and musical memoirs
In full bloom

In full bloom

Floral print womenswear
From leading man to Elephant Man, Bradley Cooper is terrific

From leading man to Elephant Man

Bradley Cooper is terrific
In this the person to restore our trust in the banks?

In this the person to restore our trust in the banks?

Dame Colette Bowe - interview