The Insider hears all about Patrick Snowball, snow fever and revolutionary fervour
Fresh from the heartache of having his bid for Royal Bank of Scotland Insurance rejected, I hear Patrick Snowball is taking a rest before looking for a new industry sweetheart. He told one of my contacts he was not currently involved in any deal-making, but would be keeping a close eye on the general insurance sector in the future. Perhaps he’ll concentrate on his day job (part time) of looking after Towergate’s independent financial adviser business. Don’t pine for too long, Patrick, and Happy Valentine’s Day.
There may be trouble ahead
The financial crisis has given birth to an even more sinister fear – and it’s all the talk among Europe’s banking elite. Civil unrest is the topic dominating chatter in the corridors of power.
Which countries won’t be able to keep a lid on social uprisings? Could economic protests spark political revolutions in Eastern Europe? What will be the costs of upheaval? Remember how Hitler seized power off the back of the Great Depression?
Worrying times indeed. I had better pour myself another single malt.
Night of the C-list
When a young friend from Insurance Times was invited to the Night of the Stars dinner last week, she was harbouring hopes of a Bafta after-party, complete with hot young acting talent and sobbing Hollywood sirens.
Her showbiz dreams were crushed (like so many others before her) when the night turned out to be a celebration of the star ratings used to rank brands by Defaqto, the financial research company. I could have told her that.
Things took a further turn for the C-list when the entertainment turned out to be impressionist Jon Culshaw – the poor man’s Rory Bremner, if we’re brutally honest. His first wheeze was to rechristen Kenn Herskind, Defaqto’s chief executive, “Kenn Bearskin”. Is that funny at all?
Culshaw’s next offering was “a love song by Stephen Hawking”, which he “sang” in a monotone computerised voice. Not the best possible taste, even for a corporate gig. It’s lucky the punters still lap up those impersonations of George W Bush.
Meerkats and lemmings
If wasting time online were an Olympic event, my son would bring home gold for Britain in 2012. His latest “I’ll look for a job afterwards” wheeze is to follow on Facebook and Twitter the exploits of Aleksandr, the animated meerkat who appears in the Comparethemarket advertisements (seems he’s cheaper and cuter than Bruce or Rolf).
The furry character has become a celebrity of sorts on social networking sites. Worryingly for the future productivity of the nation, Aleksandr has almost 80,000 friends on Facebook.
Here’s an excerpt from one of the meerkat’s latest entries: “On Friday I went travel to Miami USA to see possible greatest concert artist in world: Celine Dion. There were near 20,000 peoples at concert but I secure front-row seat next to Cuban music man Emilio Estefan. He offer me Twix but I decline in favour of millipedes I bring in bag.”
I know it’s all terribly clever and brand extension and viral marketing, but do the public really have nothing better to do?
Poor old Adrian Colosso. While the whole country “worked from home” because of the Great Blizzard of 2009, the Heath Lambert chief executive decided to take his kids to the Essex countryside for a spot of sledging fun. Only, the day did not turn out to be much fun for him. After flying down a large hill at top speed, Colosso’s steel toecaps – I’m told West Ham fans wear them on their days off – got caught under the sledge. The boots didn’t move but his ankle did. It was a clean break. Poor Adrian is now sitting at home in plaster and will be there for some time. Puts a rather different spin on his wise words about recklessness and risk on page 14, doesn’t it?