The Sunday Times and Croissants – “Ex head of Co-op bank bought cocaine”

The Sunday Times and Croissants, Ethical banking and high moral standards

There is something special about Sunday morning, the Sunday Times, hot croissants with honey and butter, excellent.

Headlines “Ex head of Co-op Bank bought cocaine” makes the headlines this week. The Reverend Paul Flowers was caught on camera buying illegal drugs including cocaine and crystal meth following his submission to the Treasury Select Committee last month. The Methodist minister former chairman of the Co-operative Bank stepped down over the performance of the bank in May this year.

Adding a new dimension to “high” moral standards” in ethical banking the former Chairman admitted “I was grilled by the Treasury Select Committee and afterwards came to Manchester to get wasted with friends. “I’m stocking up on Charlie, ket and rocks, we can have a fine old party” said the former chair. Excellent. According to the Sunday Times, as Chairman of the Co-op bank, Flowers presided over one of the most disastrous periods in  the history of the movement. The Co-op recently ceded control of the banking division to US hedge funds as a result. No drugs were evidenced in the signing of the deal but the hedge funds had a fine old party as a result.

“Francis effect pulls crowds back to church” also makes the headlines. Yes, a change at the top can achieve wonders as the Catholic church is demonstrating. Pope Francis has inspired a surge in attendances, reversing years of decline. In the eight months since he was chosen, churches in Britain have seen a 20% increases in congregations from new and lapsed members. The “Pope of the People”, has spurned a chauffeur driven car, travels by bus, carries his own briefcase, avoids the lavish papal apartments, prefers to live in a hostel and is prepared to wash the feet of inmates. “God’s love is shining through” claimed Archbishop Vincent Nichols, head of the Catholic Church in England and Wales. Yes, as is so often demonstrated, God’s love shines through, in such mysterious ways.

In the Saturday Economist this week, the “having a fine old party” theme is maintained by the new Governor of the Bank of England. Mark Carney spurns the chauffeur driven car, prefers to travel by tube and carries his own man bag. There fortunately, the comparison ends. The new Governor stops short of vacating Threadneedle Street and washing the feet of MPC members. He is cleansing the souls nevertheless as the Bank staff embark on a re learning journey about how the economy actually works. “You don’t have to be an optimist to see the glass is half full – we intend to fill it up,” the opening remarks from the Inflation Report presentation this week. Don’t miss The Saturday Economist.

Back to the day Jobs – Highlights of the week
Monday – team meetings in the morning, Paul McGlone pops in to discuss sector groups, I later meet with Virgin Trains to discuss sponsorship options, (my thanks to Will Kintish for recommending this). In the afternoon time to complete an article for 53 degrees the GM Chamber of Commerce monthly magazine.

Tuesday, early start for the Gateway breakfast.

Wednesday, coffee with Lisa Conmy from Pannone, in the afternoon a meeting with the New Economy economics team as we put together the economics forecasting group, in association with the Chamber of Commerce. A part time secondment to the pro.manchester team the result.

Thursday, the quarterly economics presentation in the morning, filmed by the BBC to develop footage for the Sunday Politics show. Lunchtime, a presentation to a group of Russian young entrepreneurs part of some Putin programme. A lengthy and lively question time. The event is hosted by new Economy.

Friday, stay at home day to prep the presentations for next week. In the afternoon we make a cinema visit to watch “The Counsellor”. I just love the cinema visits, it is such a great way to chill for a few hours. Heads roll in this great film. We give it four stars!

Saturday, the day starts as usual with tea, the FT, and the Economist app. In the afternoon, no tennis, England New Zealand at Twickenham. Also a chance to finalise the GM macro economic framework for the construction sector. This to framework the excellent report from the Chamber research team developed by Christian Spence.

Sunday, later today we travel to York, I am presenting at the York Business Conference tomorrow as part of the York Business Week. “Seven stages of export growth” my theme. Tonight we stay at the Talbot Hotel, James Martin is the resident chef. A taster menu in prospect for the evening, excellent.

Hope all is well, more news next week, watch out for details of our Financial Directors Forum. The call for content starts soon with launch planned in 2014.

© John Ashcroft 2013.

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