Our Insider notes the irony of housing minister Grant Shapps being delayed by floodwater, but was also happy to hear of Carole Nash’s much-derserved OBE
Up to his neck
I’m sure many people have been struggling with the recent UK floods, but spare a thought for the minister for housing and local government Grant Shapps. Shapps was late to chair a government debate last week after being delayed by the flooding, but received little sympathy from other MPs. Labour’s Karen Buck joked that the beleaguered minister had called to explain he was “paddling across the flooded Thames plain in a small coracle”, while fellow Labour MP Dai Havard chipped in to say that photos would be available.
Pickle pen proves pricey
For those struggling to find the perfect gift for the person who has everything, help could be at hand in the form of an 18-carat, white gold pen encrusted with 76 diamonds in the design of the iconic Gherkin building - home of Swiss Re. The unique writing implement, which was produced by Birmingham-based designer Jack Row, will set you back the princely sum of £27,000 - the cost of a one-bedroom flat in Yorkshire and more than the national average salary.
Waiting to see the light
Oval chief executive Peter Blanc says he’s spending so much time hunkered down in Oval’s London offices, he’s fearful of developing rickets. Thankfully, an autumn tour of Oval’s offices around the country is planned, which should help.
Congratulations to Carole Nash on her Order of the British Empire (OBE) award. The Queen honoured Nash for her philanthropy. Nash has been a big supporter of charities in her home city of Manchester.
Hamming it down
Brightside founder Arron Banks is certainly looking good these days. He’s lost two stone in recent months. The secret? Plenty of jogging, and giving up his love of mayonnaise ham sandwiches, apparently.
It seems that Zurich’s offer of £25,000 for information leading to the safe return of an ancient jug has attracted a fair bit of interest. The £750,000 Wenlok jug was stolen from the Stockwood Discovery Centre in Luton last month. Now James Overton, who describes himself as a treasure hunter and adventurer, and specialises in searching for looted and stolen artwork, according to his Twitter page, has taken up a one-man crusade to find the artefact, which is decorated with coats of arms, badges and inscribed with the words “My Lord Wenlok”.
I was chatting to my pal and MGAA chair Reg Brown this week, who was telling me about an event he wants to set up between insurers looking for capacity and MGAs. But apparently there has been a difference of opinion about what to call the event. “I want to call it a capacity exchange,” Reg explained, “but some of the members want to call it speed dating.”