Notebook: Political affiliations

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The Independent Online
ALWAYS eager to follow trends, I have been compiling brief personal and political profiles of the chairmen of the two high street banks who are doing it to their customers.

First, Lord Alexander of Weedon, of the NatWest, formerly Robert Alexander, 56, noted advocate, defender of, inter alia, Jeffrey Archer and Kerry Packer's cricket circus. Son of a Midlands garagiste; 6ft 6in tall; German speaker. Charming (though jaundiced members of the Bar prefer 'oily'); member of the Garrick; likes elephants. MCC membership not deemed by narrower minds to be entirely compatible with taking Packer's brief.

Political affiliation? Well, now. Flirted with SDP with a view, unfriendly people have alleged, to becoming Lord Chancellor in that lost, reasonable world of Roy and Bill and David and Shirley. Took Conservative whip immediately upon elevation to peerage: 'I realised, perhaps more slowly than some, just how courageously and effectively the Government was tackling the task of securing our economic recovery,' he said in 1989. Likes tennis. Salary and benefits, 1992-93: pounds 290,725.

Second, Sir Peter Walters, non-executive chairman of the Midland, 63, former chairman of BP, son of a Midlands policeman. Has been known to wear suede shoes. Golfer. Some evidence of a sense of humour: used to send his briefcase to work by chauffeur-driven car while he walked. Political affiliation? 'His concern and not ours,' said a spokesman for the Midland, interestingly.

In 1986, he said: 'A lot still needs to be done to overcome 40 years of national self-indulgence, in which we have elected governments who have tended to give people what they want instead of what they need.' Not a liberal, then. Emoluments, 1992-93: pounds 200,000.