REMEMBER retail tycoon Sir Philip Green’s bid for rival Sir Stuart Rose’s Marks and Spencer back in 2004, commonly known as one of the most intriguing takeover campaigns in corporate history?<br /><br />At the time, the City lapped up tales of stepped-up security at the retailer, including investigations into allegations that third parties had illegally accessed mobile phone records from blowers belonging to Sir Stuart and his then chairman Paul – now Lord – Myners.<br /><br />Fast forward five years, and The Capitalist hears whispers that the culprits at the time were not corporate investigators but naughty hacks – curiously enough, given the hot story of the moment about newshounds from the News of the World tapping into celebrities’ voicemail boxes. Could there be more to the ancient allegations than meets the eye?<br /><br />“What happened five years ago happened five years ago, as far as I’m concerned,” is Rose’s dignified response, while Lord Myners also seems game for letting bygones be bygones.<br /><br />“That was a long time ago,” the City minister tells me. “The only thing anyone could learn from tapping my phone now is how my kids are doing and that my wife wants me to get the shopping in on the way home.” How the other half live, eh?<br /><strong><br />FROZEN WASTE</strong><br />Popularity ratings for our dear PM Gordon Brown might not exactly be going through the roof, but we positively adore him here in Blighty in comparison to the feelings of our Icelandic counterparts.<br />A City chum, fresh from a weekend break to Reykjavik, informs me that British holidaymakers are being treated like the scum of the earth up on the frozen wastes – and the Icelandic shops are also doing a roaring trade in t-shirts emblazoned with a picture of a fat “number two”, complete with the slogan: “Brown is the colour of poo”.<br />Get that man a better spin-doctor, and pronto.<br /><strong><br />TOFFY NOSED</strong><br />An email arrives from the appropriately-named Toffsworld, advertising a number of exclusive services companies including one Marshall Harber, which provides household staffing services to the rich and famous.<br /><br />The firm sources the best candidates for its clients, to fill positions as butlers, housekeepers, bodyguards, personal chefs, chauffeurs, ladies’ maids, gamekeepers, aircraft and yacht crew staff… and so the list goes on. Who knew such extravagances were still de rigueur in these straitened times? <br />The Capitalist wouldn’t mind betting such emails are currently driving any number of bonus-strapped City types to distraction.