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Who's got all the power?

BUSINESS leaders and finance chiefs top Britain's power league, leaving royalty and religious leaders floundering in their wake, according to a new survey.

While Prime Minister Tony Blair is shown to wield the greatest influence, he is one of only two politicians in the top 10, the other being Chancellor Gordon Brown.

In the study of who really rules the country, American Bill Gates, whose Microsoft company runs 90% of all computers, comes second, followed by Alan Greenspan, chairman of the US Federal Reserve, whose actions guide financial markets across the globe.

Media magnate Rupert Murdoch, chairman and chief executive of News Corporation, is also considered to have a high influence within circles of power.

Royal figures and religious leaders, the mighty of days gone by, are now considered lightweight - both David Beckham and his wife Posh Spice Victoria Adams are believed to be more powerful than the archbishop of Canterbury George Carey.

Prince Charles finds himself ranked 36th, more powerful than the Queen thanks to passionate advocacy on a number of causes including environmental and cultural issues. Among spiritual leaders, Pope John Paul II is the only one to appear in the top 100.

The Power List employs techniques developed by Stewart Clegg, professor of management at the University of Technology in Sydney, to measure executive power, the power of ideas, the power of reputations and the impact of single events.

Others named in the top 10, which appears in the Sunday Times, include the governor of the Bank of England Eddie George, Tony Blair's press secretary Alistair Campbell, and Sir Brian Pitman, chairman of Lloyds TSB.

Those who hold no official office but still make the list include the Lawrences, whose attempts to bring the killers of their son Stephen to justice have had an impact on race relations and policing, Cherie Booth, and Delia Smith.

In fact, the list does reveal women have yet to capture the higher echelons of power - only seven appear in the top 100.

The inclusion of Anji Hunter proves how unelected advisors are now regarded as key players within politics. Nominally, Ms Hunter is the special assistant for presentation and planning to Tony Blair, but is believed to have great authority.