TAXPAYERS PETITION FOR PRIVATISATION OF THATCHER’S FUNERAL

WHICH investment bank will underwrite the ticket sales at Margaret Thatcher’s privatised funeral?

The Capitalist only asks because, as of last night, more than 14,000 people had signed up to the e-petition posted by Scott Morgan declaring that the Iron Lady’s state funeral should be funded and managed by the private sector.

After all, Baroness Thatcher privatised the railways, the water companies, the electricity providers and the telecoms firms – so she should surely approve of the online rally to offer the “best value and choice for end users and other stakeholders” on her passing.

As the petition on the government’s website reads: “The undersigned believe that the legacy of the former prime minister deserves nothing less and that offering this unique opportunity is an ideal way to cut government expense and further prove the merits of liberalised economics Baroness Thatcher spearheaded.”

If the number of signatories hits 100,000 – as is looking pretty likely, since the petition runs until October next year – the Backbench Business Committee will present the idea as a motion in the House of Commons.

Time for City firms to start thinking of how to take a percentage of the profits, then – as Rothschild, which advised on the privatisation of British Gas, British Steel, British Coal and the regional electricity and water boards, demonstrated so admirably.

WORKING LUNCH
GOOD to see some people in the City are still conducting their business 1980s-style over a long lunch. An extremely long lunch, as it happens – an almost 12-hour affair, after lunch rolled into afternoon drinks and then dinner at Green’s on Duke Street.

Clearly, the three hedge funders, two investment bankers, five property players, one lawyer and an M&A tax adviser at a Big Four firm were having far too much fun at the Green’s lunch club Christmas dinner to bother going back to the office.

Not that it mattered – the group simply did their deals between courses on their BlackBerries, with a property transaction and two further deals completed over the course of the afternoon. “The usual rush to complete [deals] pre-Christmas was very well handled,” assures Green’s manager Abelines Geldenhuys. “In today’s world, thanks to BlackBerries, you are never far from your office.” In spirit, at least.

BRANCHING OUT
YOU CAN’T fault PwC on forward planning. Back in 2009, when the Big Four firm was planning the doors for its new More London building near Tower Bridge, there were serious discussions about whether the entrance could accommodate a Christmas tree.

The company’s clients will be relieved to learn that PwC is marking its first Christmas in the £60m HQ with a 22-ft tree (below) – “the tallest we’ve ever had”, said one tree-hugger, who marvelled as decorators hired a builder’s hoist to reach the top branches. So no cutbacks there – quite the opposite, says PwC’s head of facilities Jon Barnes, who has calculated there is “room for improvement in height next year if necessary”.

SHARED HISTORY
BLOOD is thicker than water in fund management. Whether it was by accident or design that Patrick Evershed, Jamie Allsopp and JCB heir Jo Bamford found themselves sharing a desk for a number of years at New Star, they were continuing an alliance between the three Staffordshire families that dates back to the 1880s.

When Evershed’s great-grandfather Sydney Evershed, the MP for Burton-on-Trent, died in 1903, Allsopp’s great-great-grandfather read the oration at his funeral, and Bamford’s great-great-grandfather rode in the second carriage in the cortege.

New Star may have burnt out and its former employees dispersed, but the shared history remains.

PULLING POWER
SOMEONE at Sir Martin Sorrell’s advertising empire WPP has too much time on their hands.

Just in case you find yourself sitting in front of a computer on Christmas Day and feel the urge to pull a virtual cracker with someone in cyberspace, WPP’s digital advertising agency Wunderman has created a “fun website” that allows you to do exactly that. Hold your hands up to a webcam to complete the technological feat, and you can even be crowned with a virtual festive hat!

“It’s really good fun,” claims someone paid to say so. Decide for yourself at http://www.thelongestcracker.co.uk