It could be you ... Pick your numbers for a peerage

People & Business

John Willcock
Monday 01 September 1997 23:02

A barrister has hatched a plan to use a weekly national lottery to replace hereditary members of the House of Lords. Daniel Lightman thinks that a weekly Mystic Meg-style draw would be just as logical as the current system, which relies on accident of birth.

According to The Lawyer magazine, Mr Lightman is this year's winner of the Politics Social Innovations Award from the Institute for Social Innovations. He works at Thirteen Old Square chambers in London.

Mr Lightman said that choosing Lords by lottery would preserve a treasured bonus of the current system - that it produces amateurs rather than professional politicians.

Asked by The Lawyer whether his system might let in a load of nutters and fascists, he replied: "That is a risk which we have been prepared to take for hundreds of years with hereditary peers, and there is no evidence that the great hereditary families

Such a sweeping constitutional change doesn't seem on the cards quite yet, he admits; "I cannot say I shall be out campaigning in the streets for it."

Lots of journalists go off to become PR people but this is the first time I have heard of a PR person becoming an analyst. Stephen Ewing, 30, is leaving spin doctors Citigate after just one year to become a biotech and pharmaceuticals analyst at the broker Panmure Gordon.

The man from Stirling will start next Monday and will be working alongside Robin Gilbert and Stuart Rollinson.

In fact, Stephen reveals, this represents going back to his pharmaceutical roots: "I did a PhD in immunology at Oxford. I was going to go into research but I couldn't face having to apply for grants all the time." Then I went on the road as a salesman for a US biotech company for a couple of years."

He ended up at Citigate, working for Miranda Kavanagh, who had set up a team for biotech companies two years ago. He got to know a number of analysts well, and now he's off to earn pots of cash.

Peter Goldsmith QC has been appointed to succeed Edwin Glasgow QC as chairman of the Financial Reporting Review Panel, the body which examines the accounts of big public companies and gives them six of the best if they don't comply with the Companies Act 1985.

The panel was only set up seven years ago, and Mr Glasgow became its second-ever chairman when its first head, Simon Tuckey, was summoned to become a judge five and a half years ago.

Since then, Mr Glasgow said, the panel has examined around 300 cases, all of which have been important in their own way. He has recently been elected head of his own chambers at 39 Essex Street and feels strongly that chairmen should leave panels before they become too closely identified with them.

"It's been hugely rewarding and exhausting. I'm extremely grateful for the universal support I've received from the profession," he said.

Mr Goldsmith is another legal heavyweight, himself a former chairman of the Bar. Now Mr Glasgow will have slightly more time to spend on his second high-profile role - chairman of the trustees of Harlequins, the glamorous west London rugby club. Mr Glasgow said he is unperturbed by the club's home defeat last Saturday against Bath: "I have huge faith in our captain, Keith Wood."

UBS has poached Charlotte Moore from Schroders to be a "rain maker" for its European automotive and aerospace components group, a job which spans the entire investment banking division. Ms Moore spent 10 years at Schroders, most recently in its European industrial manufacturing group, which she helped establish in 1994. She will be based in London, reporting to Malcolm Le May and Chris Tanner.

New Labour could be facing a stern test of its pro-Europe policy a lot earlier than it thinks. The Yardstick, the journal of the British Weights and Measures Association, carries in its latest edition a ringing editorial which declares: "The campaign moves Forward."

The journal, whose patrons include the astronomer Patrick Moore, quotes Nigel Griffiths MP, Labour's spokesman for consumer affairs and metrication, as saying before the election: "I oppose any measure which would make it an offence for a greengrocer to sell apples in pounds and ounces."

The journal now notes that Mr Griffiths has been made junior minister for competition and consumer affairs. "We shall be urging Mr Griffiths to turn his pre-election statement into government action," growled the Yardstick.

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