Diary: Facebook founder's status slip update
Friday 25 March 2011
It's a little late to clear up all those sex-based (alleged) inaccuracies in The Social Network, but Facebook founder Mark Zuckerberg – worth £8.4bn, ladies – has finally changed the relationship status on his own Facebook profile to "In a relationship". Remarkably, his girlfriend, Priscilla Chan, really was attracted to the billionaire's looks, personality and/or GSOH: the pair have been dating since 2005.
* Concerned Radio 4 listeners will have been reassured by Today's lead news item yesterday: a top ad exec is so content with the Budget that he may or may not return his company's tax base to the UK. Sir Martin Sorrell, schoolmate of Simon Schama and CEO of ad firm WPP, picked up plenty of coveted free airtime with his ambivalent announcement, but is he really a reliable guide to the nation's economic future? In the early noughties Sorrell, so rich he owned a £200,000 pair of spaces in the Harrods underground car park, warned grandly of a looming "bath-shaped recession". When the downturn came, he claimed recovery would not be "U", "V" or "W" shaped, but "an italicised L". After consulting his firm's data-crunchers again, he concluded in early 2010 that, in fact, "A 'LUV'-shaped world economic recovery seems the most [likely]." By the summer, he'd modified his view further, predicting a "LuVVy recovery". But in October, he committed yet again to "LUV". "LuVVy," Sorrell explained, "was to take into account that America's recovery was more V-shaped than U-shaped... next year is more likely to be LUV-shaped."
* Might George (né Gideon) Osborne be looking out for James Dyson, a suspiciously observant reader asks, after spotting two complementary items in the Budget. "The Chancellor mentioned the Dyson report when explaining the changes he was making to research & development relief," said reader writes, "explaining he was going even further than James Dyson, Britain's best-known inventor, had wanted. Also announced in his Budget is an addition to the types of asset which qualify for Enhanced Capital Allowances as environmentally friendly, meaning that the full cost can be charged against tax on acquisition rather than over several years. The addition is energy-efficient hand-dryers. Such as, for example, the Dyson Airblade..."
* Were it not functionally illiterate in the field of economics, this column would surely find more sport in the comic details of the Budget. But since such material is beyond my Ken – as it were – I shall turn instead to the topic of Miliband (E)'s repertoire of prepared budgetary gags. One, it turns out, was recycled from his rival's playbook. Referring to the fuel duty cut, Miliband (E) raised a laugh by accusing the Chancellor of "Del Boy" economics. In 2008, David Cameron betrayed his lack of common touch by comparing Gordon Brown to the Only Fools and Horses character. "[Gordon's] like a used car salesman," Dave carped. "[He's] gone from prudence to Del Boy." (Del Boy, Labour's sitcom fans pointed out, didn't sell cars.) During last year's election, Nick "29 Shags" Clegg claimed Labour promises were like "a consumer service guarantee from Del Boy". Angry students can barely recall who Del Boy is, let alone what he sold. New jokes, please.
* Meanwhile, the amusing image (again conceived by Miliband [E] and/or his advisers) of Gideon as "Norman Lamont with an iPod", rested on a false premise. Former Chancellor Lamont, playing pundit for the BBC, assured reporter Laura Kuenssberg that he does, in fact, own an iPod himself. Whether he quite understands what it's for is another matter: asked to name a tune or two from his playlists, he looked blank and added merely that Miliband (E) was not on it. As far as I know, the Labour leader is yet to sign a record contract.
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