Hmm, so, did they?

New questions are emerging over Barclays’ rescue fundraising in 2008 as the Serious Fraud Office and the Financial Conduct Authority extend their inquiries into the deal.

Court documents filed in a civil case related to the £7.3bn injection from Middle Eastern investors have drawn attention to a separate transaction at around the same time.

Barclays lent £2bn to Qatar just weeks after the announcement of the role played by the Gulf state’s principal investment vehicle in the bank bailout. The debt component of Qatar Holding’s investment was for the same sum of £2bn.

Was that money just round tripped? Be fascinating to know…..

The point being that the bank needed capital. It had pots and pots of dosh, of deposits. But it needed capital.

So, lend some of the deposits which then come back as capital…..terribly naughty if that’s what they did do.

Any electrical engineers around here?

We need to do a little favour for some peeps in Russia. Which means finding a customer for their production. And we’ve not the slightest idea what this is nor who would use it:

1 Charpy Impact viscosity, kJ/m2, not less 7.0
2 Bending stress at failure, MPa, not less 110
3 Martens thermal stability, C, not less 250
4 Water absorption, mg, not more 10
5 Raschig flow index, mm, not less 160
6 Specific electrical volume resistance, Om m, not less 1*109
7 Dielectric strength, MV/m, not less 19.0
8 Mass concentration of moisture and volatiles, %, not more 3.0

There’s more of this. And of course it doesn’t tell anyone what it actually is. We keep asking, well, yes, but what the hell is it?

T265 in Russian military terminology.


A phenolic glass composite thermoset plastic.

None of us has a scoobie here. Anyone got any ideas?

I seriously doubt a Dallas to Houston train set

It’s private money so why not and good luck to them. Yet still I doubt it:

Now there are only six trains per week from Houston, three headed west to Los Angeles, three east to New Orleans. The service to San Antonio leaves at 6.55pm and arrives at 12.05am: a 225-mile journey that can be made more cheaply, quickly and frequently by bus.

Yet if a private company succeeds in its bold ambition, the city famous as the hub of big oil will one day be a beacon of public transportation: connected to Dallas with Japanese-style bullet trains zipping at 205mph on new track to new stations.

Train travel is, by it’s very nature, point to point. And yet Dallas and Houston are both sprawling megapolii with no actual one point which is the city nor the centre.

Unconvinced to say the least.


It’s a sales pitch that has yielded big profits. The North Face reported annual revenue of $2.3bn last year, with 200 stores around the world. Patagonia is smaller, but growing more rapidly. The company had sales of $800m in 2016, twice as much as in 2010, and has 29 standalone stores in the US, 23 in Japan, and others in locations such as Chamonix, the French ski resort.

Well done to The Guardian, thinking that revenues equal profits.

This is desperately sad but…..

What actually is the solution?

Amandeep Kaur, 29, a Hermes courier from Leicester, was in the back of an ambulance rushing her seriously ill son to hospital when she first felt the pressure to get back to work. It was two weeks before Christmas, one of the busiest periods for Britain’s booming parcel delivery industry, but Kaur’s six-year-old, Sukhmanjeet, had collapsed at home and she could not make her deliveries. A few hours later, with her son about to undergo surgery, she rang her manager.

“I said my son had had a cardiac arrest and I can’t come in,” she recalled. “I don’t know how long for, but he is my priority right now. [The manager’s] response was ‘Oh, it has come at a very busy time’.”

Even as her son’s condition worsened, she felt pressured to get back to work as soon as she could or risk losing her round.

Over the coming days, Kaur said she called her manager with updates about her son, but as a self-employed courier with no employment contract, she felt her job was under threat.

One one occasion, she said, after Sukhmanjeet had a leg amputated, “the response was ‘OK, I can try and help you for the next few days, but I can’t make any promises [going] forward’.

“[The manager] was saying ‘Come back in two days or there’s nothing we can do. We need to give your round up because it is a busy period’.”

Her son died on 19 December 2015.

They, the employer, need someone to do the round. She’s self employed and cannot do it.

Kaur said she went back to work 10 days after her son’s funeral, which she said was far too early.

“I was told there were conversations happening at the depot that they couldn’t keep my round for too long,” she said. “I was under pressure. I wasn’t ready.”

So, umm, actually, they did keep her job open then?

This is rather good

Yes, it’s in The Guardian and it’s on economics. But it’s also rather good.

The one addition I would have made is to point out that Hayes was unimportant but bad. Sure, he fiddled Libor. But so were many others and the cumulative effect largely cancelled out.

The other fiddling, all the banks grossly under reporting in the crisis, was very important and good. Still fiddling of course, but who really would have wanted to see 14 day Libor being quoted as infinite?

Willy’s a card, isn’t he?

The starting point has to be getting the language and argument right. What prompts anger with executive pay is the belief that it has risen far too fast for far too long with too little justification or relationship to the right kind of performance. Shareholders and society alike want – or should want – executives paid well to build great, purposed companies over time. Instead, the incentives are too much oriented to delivering a high share price in the immediate future, encouraging corner-cutting to get there. If Corbyn had said that last Monday he would instantly have had a more defensible position.

The only viable way forward is to create the best justification process possible, along with the best-designed incentives to produce results that everyone is proud of, as the Purposeful Company taskforce argued in its interim report on pay last November. (Full declaration: I am on its steering group.) Scoring goals in football happens over 90 minutes; scoring goals in business life – innovating, building great products and market share – takes years. Reward should be phased over the same period and designed to build companies driven by purpose.

Which is why CEO pay is almost all in long term share awards these days. The numbers being exactly those that Hutton is complaining about.

Just you wait

Fiat Chrysler has been drawn into the “dieselgate” emissions scandal, sending its shares plunging by almost a fifth.

America’s Environmental Protection Agency (EPA) accused the car maker of fitting 104,000 of its cars with software which cheated pollution tests.

It warned that Fiat “may be liable for civil penalties and injunctive relief for the violations”, news which drove shares down 18pc.

There will be more. Simply because large numbers of people have been fiddling the tests.

I once actually checked up on this

Going to the DMV to pay his bill, he wheeled in five wheelbarrows of coins, weighing in at 1,600 pounds.

It took staff at least seven hours to count the coins, working until early on Thursday morning.

To pay the $3,000 bill, he had spent just over $1,000 in purchasing the wheelbarrows and hiring people to break open the hundreds of rolls of coins.

He paid the bill in US pennies. Unwrapped and loose.

And one day, after a similar sort of thing, I checked up on it all. Called the US Mint, the BoE. And US coins are legal tender. You can pay a debt with them, in any amount. UK ones are not. Can’t recall the actual numbers but you can only demand to pay in pennies up to 20 p, ten p up to a couple of quid and so on.

And yes, you could pay the IRS your entire tax bill in those wheelbarrows of unwrapped pennies. There was an intimation that you might have an ever so slightly raised possibility of being randomly audited if you did but they would have to take the money…..

People around here know the darndest things – so, virtual banks?

Anyone know about this?

By virtual bank I mean that Third Bank of Breqhou does not run its own debit card operation. But if TBB can attract a few thousand people who want a TBB debit card then pretty much everything, other than the actual designation of being a bank, can be contracted out to reputable and efficient companies.

So who here knows about this world?

Can’t be American but other than that – I’ve a possible, a slightly, maybe, possible, few thousand customers. So, how to start thinking about this?

It is of course bankers with their pursuit of profit to blame

The financial regulator has been seeking a rescuer for Manchester Building Society but has been turned down by Nationwide, Britain’s largest society.

The Prudential Regulation Authority has been trying to find ways in recent weeks to save the Manchester, which has 18,000 savers including a few with deposits of more than the £75,000 guaranteed by the government. The society also has 3,000 borrowers.

Oh, you mean mutuals also fall foul of fractional reserve banking from time to time? Oh my, what dos that do to the Spudmonster’s diatribes?

Sometimes, just sometimes, I rather like human beings

Yes, this is all rather trivial and it’s on Twatter and in the Mail and all that.

Ben Carter, from Devon, will only drink from a blue Tommee Tippee cup, prompting father Marc to put out an appeal on social media after becoming concerned the cup was wearing out.
Ben would refuse drinks that were not in the cup and had been to hospital with severe dehydration.

And of course this is all lovely advertising for the company and so on.

Tommee Tippee, based in Northumberland, said it was nearly 20 years since it had manufactured that product, but has now rediscovered the design and found the mould used to make the two-handled originals, stored in a usable condition in China.
It has said it will make a run of 500 cups to ensure ‘that Ben has a lifetime supply and that his family won’t ever have to worry about finding another cup’.

Call it rational self-interest, call it altruism, call it what you will, but there are times when it’s possible to just rather like human beings.


GB Energy Supply, which only months ago boasted the cheapest fixed-rate deal on the market, has ceased trading.

The low-cost energy supplier, which is believed to have had around 160,000 customers, moved to reassure customers that they will not be cut-off following the announcement.

That’s what happens in a competitive market:

GB Energy Supply, which is the first domestic energy supplier to go out of business in a decade, blamed the “swift and significant increases” in energy prices in recent months for halting operations.

Perhaps not quite so good for:

Rachel Fletcher Ofgem’s Senior Partner for Consumers and Competition said: “In any competitive market companies will fail, this is why we have procedures in place to ensure customers’ energy supplies are always secure.

The reverse also applies. That people are going bust is an indicator, although not a proof, that we’ve got a competitive market going on.

Err, whut?

Motorists should become black cab drivers without having to learn the Knowledge, says Thatcherite Institute of Economic Affairs

When did the Telegraph start using “Thatcherite” as a swear word?

And yes, of course, ban the guilds!

Hmm, this means someone I know is looking for a job then

When bills for a corporate credit card used by Karhoo Inc. Chief Executive Officer Daniel Ishag arrived, employees in the London office of the car-hailing startup often spotted unusual purchases. There were designer shoes and clothing, along with veterinarian’s bills for a pet dog. The employees flagged the costs as potentially non-business related, but signs of lavishness continued — first-class flights, a blowout in Las Vegas, Cuban cigars.

Ishag’s spending, described by several employees and those familiar with Karhoo’s finances, came to an abrupt end this week when the company shut down after running out of money. As the extent of the startup’s financial problems became known in recent weeks, Ishag stopped coming to the office and two other executives embarked on a futile attempt to keep the firm afloat, said the people, who asked not to be identified for fear of damaging career prospects. About 200 people lost their jobs.

It also means I’m rather glad I didn’t persuade them to offer us some programming work…..