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Published: Dec 03 , 2015
Author: David Bannister

Here in the UK in the Autumn and the first part of Winter a televisual phenomenon hits our screens on a Saturday night. It’s called ‘Strictly Come Dancing’ or just ‘Strictly’ to the real addicts. A number of so-called celebrities are partnered with professional dancers and week by week they compete against each other in a knockout competition where viewers’ votes decide which contestant will be eliminated each week. Almost ten million eager followers tune in to this programme in the months it is on our televisions. I am not usually one of them but my wife is an aficionado. So I find other things to do when this programme is airing. Except for a little bit of the programme this year when Jane calls me and says: ‘Katie’s dancing!’. This refers to one of this year’s contestants, Katie Derham who I really want to win (and so do lots of others, some because she is partnered with a male dancer of great good humour and demeanour who has never managed to progress far in the contest)...

Published: May 29 , 2014
Author: Stephen White

Until yesterday I thought that the bid by US pharma giant Pfizer for UK based pharma giant AstraZeneca was a flash-in-the-pan piece of opportunism. We first heard of the plan at the beginning of May, when an offer of £50 per share was tabled. The merger would create the largest pharmaceutical company in the world. It was based on two premises, firstly that AstraZeneca were weak because their product portfolio contained a number of high-profit drugs which were coming to the end of their patent protection, and with nothing much in the R&D cupboard to replace them, and secondly because it gave Pfizer an advantage by enabling them to move their head office to the UK and save loads of tax in an avoidance wheeze...

Published: Aug 22 , 2013
Author: John McMillan

It is said that the two happiest times in a sailor’s life are the day they buy a boat and the day they sell their boat. I have a third occasion which beats even these. It is also said there are two types of sailors: those who like painting and those who like sailing. I fall into the latter category; maintenance is boring; sailing is fun....

Published: Mar 07 , 2013
Author: Stephen White

Shortly after taking office for his second term, President Obama announced that he would visit the Middle East to kick-start a peace process. That visit is scheduled for later this month, but there was speculation last week that it might be cancelled if the Israeli Prime Minister Benjamin Netanyahu, also recently re-elected, has not been able to form a coalition government before the Obama visit...

Published: Mar 16 , 2012
Author: Alan Smith

Terribly difficult question. If you don’t know the answer that is. PC Stout was completely flummoxed when a cyclist he had stopped for (allegedly) running a red light in London turned on him and asked on what basis he was being challenged...

Published: Feb 24 , 2012
Author: Tom Feinson

Back in the day and before agents rose to prominence, a footballer, having just made his debut for England, decided to ask his club manager for a pay rise. After all his stock was on the rise; surely other clubs, for example, would be interested in him? The unnamed manager’s response was unexpected...

Published: Feb 10 , 2012
Author: Stephen White

Two accounts clerks and their manager are walking to lunch when they find an antique oil lamp. They rub it and a Genie comes out. The Genie offers each of them one wish...

Published: Jan 13 , 2012
Author: Alan Smith

Everybody should be advised to take at least two drink-free days a week, say MPs, who urge in a report that safe drinking guidelines should be revised because they are confusing. Even more confusing after a couple of beers! The House of Commons science and technology committee says awareness of the existence of the guidelines is high, but public understanding of what they mean is poor. More help is needed so that drinkers understand what a unit of alcohol actually looks like, so they can have an idea of how many units they are drinking in a pint of beer, glass of wine or shot of vodka...

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The Power of Adjournments

Anjana – a sales leader with an IT firm – is busy preparing for negotiations with a large bank on renewing her firm’s contract with them. Given it is a decent sized deal, Anjana has been preparing for these negotiations over the last several days by interlocking with the account delivery teams, getting buy-ins from the senior leadership & CFO on commercials, getting a handle on the likely strategies from the competition etc. It is no surprise, given the rigour of her preparation, that Anjana was feeling confident about her meeting with the Client CIO.

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