Light (Other OTC: LGSXY - news) at the end of the tunnel for the West Coast Main Line fiasco? The Department for Transport has received a bid from an operator whose trains run on in time and in any weather conditions, guarantees every passenger a seat, and has an 100pc safety record.
“This company has been delivering exceptional service for years, and should be a serious candidate amongst the other four bidders,” director George Poole petitioned transport secretary Patrick McLoughlin.
This marvellous operator is sadly for UK commuters Folkestone toy-maker Bigjigs Toys, which whistled up the bid in protest over the West Coast bungle. But that didn't stop McLoughlin’s aide Mark Reach responding via a two-page letter to show the DfT’s lighter side, in which he advised Bigjigs to replace its wooden rolling stock with aluminium “to meet modern crashworthiness standards”.
Bigjigs plans to submit a revised “bid” by the end of the week, after fellow directors Liz and Peter Ireland return from the Hong Kong Toys & Games Fair. “I would like Patrick McLoughlin to respond this time,” says Poole.
Or perhaps Britain’s transport boss should just get on with his job.
What next for a departing housebuilder? Persimmon’s exiting chief Mike Farley is planning a long break when he steps down in April (Paris: FR0004037125 - news) after almost 30 years with the company, as announced yesterday. “The first plan is a long holiday with my wife, this time with no BlackBerry,” he tells me. “That will be a bit of a shock to the system.” And then the house in France needs a “bit of work”. You can take the man out of the £2.5bn housebuilder …
= Marissa's motivational moves =
Dance monkey, dance. Yahoo (NasdaqGS: YHOO - news) chief Marissa Mayer is punishing executives who are insufficiently enthused by the firm’s staff motivational programme by making them dance for colleagues’ “enjoyment”.
People and development manager Jackie Reses and her team had to perform the Gangnam routine at the company’s California HQ, according to reports, with onlookers noting Reses had some “decent moves”.
Unsurprisingly, employee belief in the “future vision of the company”, as revealed in the latest Yahoo Employee Engagement Survey, is also “decent”. Although the 32 points increase in Mayer's happiness index came off a low base the 2011 survey was sent to staff the week that Mayer's predecessor, Carol Bartz, was fired.
From red-button technology to the red light district. Tech geeks turned on by the gadgetry at the world’s biggest consumer electronics trade show this week have an appetite for the ladies too, it emerges. The ladies of the night, that is Sheri’s Playground, one of Nevada’s legal brothels, looks forward to the annual Consumer Electronics Show in Las Vegas because of the 75pc revenue increase it brings. That’s a “huge spike”, apparently.
= Eight is the magic number =
Tullett Prebon (LSE: TLPR.L - news) godfather Terry Smith is turning to dead American presidents for guidance. His New Year greetings card quotes Abraham Lincoln: “The great point is to bring [people] the real facts.”
So what are these “real facts”? It turns out Smith has also been studying the 1960s US sitcom The Beverly Hillbillies, and has applied the show’s character Jed Clampett’s mantra that “everyone knows zeroes don’t mean anything” to the UK’s economic ills.
If you take eight zeroes off the UK government’s revenue, spending and debt figures for 2011, goes Smith’s magic formula, then hey presto one arrives at “remarkably household-sized sums”.
Why hasn’t the Chancellor thought of this?