EUROPE GETS ANOTHER SCROOGE: OSBORNE NOW JOINED BY MERKEL

LAST time The Capitalist reported on the activities of Evolution Securities’ head of fixed income Gary Jenkins, he was fantasising about taking over ratings agencies and hiring Natalie Portman as his PA.

He has been putting his wild imagination to other productive uses recently, it seems, churning out a re-imagining of Charles Dickens’ A Christmas Carol for his Credit Matters magazine column last week.

And in the mind of a bonds analyst, guess who takes the role of Scrooge? That’s right, German chancellor Angela Merkel: “Some saw her as hard and sharp as flint, which no warmth could warm,” he writes. “She considered herself as a professional keeper of the flame.”

As for the “ghosts of Deutschmarks past”, Jenkins brings us a bond analyst; for the present, ECB president Jean-Claude Trichet (“It appears that I am being asked to undertake a number of different responsibilities at this time which were not part of my original mandate”); and for Christmases future, an evil ghost of a ruined Europe in the wake of a euro collapse.

But this re-telling has a realist twist. Instead of embracing fiscal union, Merkel dismisses her revelations and “with a smile on her face and a spring in her step she went downstairs to stuff the turkey”.

PARTY ON
It might have been a year of uncertainty for investors, but the City parties on, according to the annual Christmas survey by the London Chamber of Commerce and Industry.

The research shows that more than half of licensed venues (that is, bars, clubs and the like) surveyed said that business is more profitable than it was this time last year. Overall, 48 per cent of venue managers said that trading was better, 32 per cent said it was much the same, with only 20 per cent saying it was worse.

And unlike in 2009, party venues are reporting less reliance on one-time spending events like Christmas.

Just 30 per cent said that the festivities accounted for 11 to 25 per cent of annual turnover, versus more than half in 2009.

The EU might be doing its best to stamp on City exuberance with new bonus rules out recently, but it just goes to show that you can’t keep a banker away from her gin and tonic for long.

WHIPPED
It might not be the season for icecream, but the City of London Corporation never stops thinking about the regulation of our summer treats.

The Corporation just slapped its first ever immediate injunction in the Square Mile on Piccadilly Whip Catering Limited.

But what offence is this dastardly organisation accused of committing?

Selling icecream on the street without a license, it seems.

“We’re clamping down on icecream vendors because of reported overpricing – with some tourists being charged up to £5 for a cornet (sic) – and concerns over health and safety,” said a City spokesman yesterday.

Now a fiver might be a bit steep for a couple of strawberry scoops on a sugar cone, but The Capitalist is pretty sure that the heavens’ dramatic intervention in the form of freezing temperatures will be just as effective an injunction on icecream consumption as any imposed by the High Court.

NERDS’ BUSINESS
Rumours abound of a possible tie-up between Facebook and Chinese search engine Baidu.

But these new media types have a funny way of denying market whispers. Not for them the bland, “We do not comment on speculation”.

Instead, a spokesman told The Guardian: “It was just two nerds comparing notes. Keep the speculation in check.”

Nice to inspire such respect from your own press goons, eh?

DOUBLE SPEAK
Labour leader Ed Miliband is clamping down on loose language, according to reports.

In a memo to his Shadow Cabinet recently, he informed them that the use of the descriptive phrase “coalition government” is no longer au fait. It sounds much too friendly, apparently.

So what sanctioned language will the new Party machinery accept? “Conservative-led government” is A-OK.

A curious prohibition, you might think, given that the Tories currently poll around 37 per cent, versus their friendly coalition partners’ recent low of 11.

Is it possible that Ed has spun himself into a frenzied re-imagining of the 90s?