The CBI Conference: 'Self-satisfied' stock market under attack
Tuesday 03 November 1998
Appearing at a 7.30am breakfast briefing, Mr Robertson happily admitted that he was acting as the "warm-up man" for the Chancellor, Gordon Brown, who was scheduled to speak an hour later.
"I am supposed to reduce you to tears so he can make you cheerful again," quipped the Defence Secretary.
Mr Brown, meanwhile, arrived with a mea culpa. His strictures on the productivity of British industry, or rather the lack of it, are well-known, but yesterday he was in conciliatory mood.
Noting that the CBI was cramming five Cabinet ministers, three world leaders and 25 sessions into a conference lasting a day and a half, the Chancellor confessed:
"I am not here to lecture you on productivity but to take some lessons from you."
PETER MANDELSON did not flinch from tackling head on the hot subject of the moment - the BBC's self-imposed ban on references to the Secretary of State for Trade and Industry's private life.
Mr Mandelson said he was delighted to see so many journalists at the CBI and in particular the correspondents of the BBC. He was, he said, sure that they would report his every word without, of course, mentioning him by name.
Not content with laying into the dear old Beeb, Mr Mandelson then turned his merciless gaze to the Stock Exchange where, according to the Secretary of State for Trade and Industry, there is "an enormous amount of self- satisfaction".
Disregarding the obvious riposte about "pots" and "kettles", Mr Mandelson said that the Exchange "needs to take a good look at itself".
He went on to recount a story of how he had visited Nasdaq, the high- tech US stock exchange, and was surprised to find that there was no direct link to London.
"I asked Nasdaq why no link-up existed," Mr Mandelson told the assembled business leaders, only to be told that the Stock Exchange "was not very interested". We all know why the BBC doesn't figure among Peter's Friends any more. But I wonder what the poor old folks at the Stock Exchange Tower have done to upset him so?
DR CARLOS MENEM, the Argentinian president, left CBI delegates wondering exactly what sort of medicine he practised. Addressing the pre-conference dinner on Sunday night he explained that it had been necessary to carry out "major surgery with no anaesthetic" on the Argentine economy when he came to power in 1989.
"Even though the pain was terrible, we had to operate," he said. So with Latin America in financial turmoil, who else might be in need for some Menem-style medical attention, enquired the CBI's director general, Adair Turner, with a tremble in his voice. "Brazil and Mexico" for starters, came the swift reply. Ouch. Stand by your beds, this is going to hurt.
SPEAKING of medical matters, the inventors of the Pfizer Riser, otherwise known as Viagra, were up in Birmingham to brief journalists on the pill that does wonders for your prowess. And what was the venue? The Swallow Hotel, of course.
DELEGATES have discovered an exciting new parlour game - counting the number of plugs for McKinsey every time a Cabinet minister speaks.
George Robertson managed no less than two glowing references to the ubiquitous management consultants, while Peter Mandelson paid homage to them once.
Can they really be that good, or it is something to do with the fact that the CBI's Adair Turner was once a McKinsey man himself? Perish the thought...
Belle Knox: How the porn star student from Duke University became bigger than Justin Bieber
Oscar Pistorius trial: Neighbour feared athlete would use gun that killed his girlfriend Reeva Steenkamp to shoot himself
Top 10 most expensive cities in the world: Singapore named costliest place to live – but what about London?
Oscar Pistorius trial: Athlete 'cheated on me' with Reeva Steenkamp, former girlfriend Samantha Taylor tells Pretoria court
Channel 4 announces two-hour TV show to be broadcast 'Live from Space' later this month
Apple's Tim Cook: Business isn’t just about making profit
Thousands of young people forced to go without food after benefits wrongly stopped under 'draconian' new sanctions regime
Ukraine crisis: New navy chief 'defects' and surrenders Crimean HQ as Putin claims ultranationalists forced intervention
Britain's top vet sparks controversy with call for ban on slashing animals' throats in 'ritual' slaughters for halal and kosher meat products
Ukraine crisis: Russia dismisses '3am ultimatum' as 'total nonsense'
If you're horrified by a flame-roasted dog, you should be shocked at a hog roast
- 1 The future of sex: The first female condoms were derided, mistrusted and shunned - but will their modern counterparts catch on?
- 2 South African rhino finally put down after roaming Kruger park for days with horn hacked off and bullet in brain
- 3 Italian pensioner hires an escort who turns out to be his son's girlfriend
- 4 Orgasm machine to deliver climax at the push of a button
- 5 Channel 4 announces two-hour TV show to be broadcast 'Live from Space' later this month
iJobs Money & Business
£12000 per annum: Inspiring Interns: The company works with Tier 1 FTSE 100 Ba...
£32000 - £36000 per annum + generous benefits: Pro-Recruitment Group: * TAX * ...
£37000 - £40000 per annum + £20000 benefits package: Pro-Recruitment Group: **...
£30000 - £35000 per annum + generous benefits: Pro-Recruitment Group: Mixed Ta...