THE ART OF PEACEFUL PROTEST (IN SWINDON)

Steve Dinneen
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IN an age where Facebook protests can reach hundreds of thousands of members within a few hours, often for the most spurious reasons – the lynching of women who put cats in bins being a recent example – it’s nice to see a good old fashioned show of dissent.

One-man-army Paul Slennett, owner of three Christian bookshops, descended on the unsuspecting Swindon branch of Nationwide yesterday to protest against changes to the terms of his business account. Armed with nothing but an eight foot placard and a thermos flask he mounted what is perhaps the politest demonstration in the history of peaceful protest.

Slennett’s sign read “Nationwide is still our first choice. Business customers want to stay but changes are punitive and onerous. Please reevaluate your position.” Not the catchiest sign, we think you’ll agree.

Calling from the frontline, 63-year-old Slennett told The Capitalist he had been “pushed to these extremes” after the bank blamed excessive queues for the changes.

Nationwide, honouring the polite nature of the demonstration, asked Slennett inside for a cup of tea before he continued his 12-hour vigil on the mean streets of Swindon. Power to the people.

ICE WARRIOR

MINING and heavy industry may have a reputation for being the butchest sector of finance – but anyone looking for trouble in the City would do well to avoid the mild mannered head of media and entertainment at Ernst & Young, who impressed The Capitalist over lunch with his tales of bare knuckle boxing on the ice hockey rink.

Native Canadian Mike Rudberg told us that, while he wouldn’t go out of his way looking for a scrap like some of his teammates, he wasn’t adverse to the odd bout of fisticuffs. And locals beware – after seven years on solid ground, Rudberg and another Canadian at the accountancy firm plan on getting back on the ice.

COLD RECEPTION

Apple events are usually cringe-inducing thanks to the resounding cheers from a legion of “fanbois” every time Steve Jobs pauses for breath. But special mention must go out to a toe-curling cameo appearance at their latest announcement by mums’ favourite Chris Martin. It reminded The Capitalist of the heady days of 2006 when Apple TV was first launched to an audience who didn’t want it and people still listened to Coldplay.