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RED ADAIR'S TORY TINGE ENTERS THE SPOTLIGHT

SHOULD we really be surprised that the Tories are cosying up to the man we know as &ldquo;Red Adair&rdquo;?<br /><br />Lord Turner, the chairman of the Financial Services Authority, has established deep-rooted links with New Labour in the past &ndash; as director-general of the CBI, chair of the government-backed review of the pensions system, the head of the climate change commission&hellip; (the list drones on).<br /><br />Recently, staunch left-wingers have been wondering where Turner&rsquo;s real allegiances lie, after the suggestion emerged that the Tories are lining him up to take over at the helm of the Bank of England if they come to power and scrap the powers of the FSA as planned. And now, The Capitalist learns Turner has had close Conservative links all along, as the bosom buddy of Andrew Mitchell, the shadow secretary for international development.<br /><br />Turner and Mitchell were at Cambridge together back in the good old days, and hit it off so well that they moved in together in a house in Highbury when they came down to London.<br /><br />&ldquo;It is true that Adair is a close and dear friend of mine,&rdquo; Mitchell tells me. &ldquo;There is no question that he is one of the outstanding intellects in the City and has a huge amount to offer public service&hellip;&rdquo;<br /><br />With shining testimonials like that, is it any wonder Turner is sitting pretty on the prospect of landing the most powerful job in the City?<br /><br /><strong>AMPLE ASSETS</strong><br />An eye-popping piece of accounting surfaces from Aim-listed surfwear company Hot Tuna, which says profit margins are considerably higher across the pond in the US than here in the UK.<br /><br />Apparently, producing bikinis here in Blighty is more expensive due to the extra material needed to cover our ample rear ends, while flimsy swimwear State-side is made even cheaper because the large proportion of silicon &ldquo;assets&rdquo; on the beach means underwiring on bikinis is more or less defunct. Who knew balance sheet intricacies could be so interesting?<br /><br /><strong>MURKY WATERS</strong><br />Fear of public retribution on bonuses is more alive than ever, if private yacht company Oyster Marine is to be believed. The firm &ndash; something of a favourite among moneyed bankers, since it specialises in providing sleek crafts to businessmen such as Whitbread chief Alan Parker &ndash; says it has barely noticed a slowdown in demand this year as the bonus pennies keep flowing in.<br />But it has noticed customers being extremely wary of flashing their cash, including a boat owner who asked for his yacht to be removed from the sunny Mediterranean to a gloomy dock in Portsmouth in order to lower his profile. Surely it&rsquo;s not that bad out there, chaps?<br /><br /><strong>MONEY OR SENSE?</strong><br />Speaking of expensive tastes, Count von Faber-Castell &ndash; a former veteran of Credit Suisse First Boston &ndash; hasn&rsquo;t lost his touch. The ex-banker now heads the board of his family pen business, and has just launched what might be the world&rsquo;s most expensive pen &ndash; which, at &pound;2,200 a pop, is made out of platinum and hand-woven horsehair from beasts belonging to a spinster living in the forests of Bavaria. <br /><br />Er, right.<br /><br />