Sunday, November 19, 2006

Lighting Up Time

A banker's work is never done...

It's Sunday evening, and as my correspondent in Canary Wharf enters the final lap of his latest all-weekend work marathon, he is spluttering and choking over the article in yesterday's Times lambasting Wharf banks for needlessly "leaving the lights on".

Because under the headline "Sunday, 0001: the lights are on, but no one's at home . . ." the Times relays the latest eco-propaganda from government funded "NGO" Global Action Plan. They sent a photographer down to the Wharf to get the late-night snap above, and reckon the offices must have been empty.

But at 0001 am on Sunday, the working weekend is still young. NGOs may knock off at 4.15 on Friday afternoon, but in Global Finance things are different. Down on the Wharf, the Beast must be kept fed and watered 24/7, lest it burst from its cage and rampage through the streets bringing destruction to the entire wibbling eco-trifle (in case GAP don't know, Finance and Business Services now account for nearly 30% of national income).

Against which, GAP's assertion that the "unnecessary" lights are costing the banks £17m pa is a pure piffling irrelevance. As for pumping out "as much carbon dioxide as 346,000 transatlantic flights"... a quick mental calc: £17m fuel cost divided by 346,000 equals £49 per flight... I'm no expert, but shurely your typical B747 uses that much just starting the engines.

And to make things even more splutteringly gut-bustingly spit-making, my correspondent reckons that since GAP made their findings known, the Wharf's Corporate Social Responsibility Police have been busy disabling as much office lighting as possible, so the night shift (ie the day shift working on into the early hours) has to stumble around by candlelight hoping not to fall down a lift-shaft.

There are rumours of banks going out to recruit teams of blind financial analysts who won't cause such corporate embarrassment in the first place.

Tyler has been instructed to find the offices of Global Action Plan, hunker down outside with a Box Brownie, and not return until he's got some snaps of their own eco-indiscretions. There is a similar plan for the Carbon Trust (cost to taxpayers £70m pa), and the Energy Saving Trust (cost to, another £70m pa).

Watch here.

PS My Wharf correspondent also unkindly suggested the name of GAP's Director- Trewin Restorick- might be an anagram of Droopy Prick. I told him he needed some sleep.

PPS Yes, I know- GAP's fuel calc was supposed to be fuel per trans-Atlantic passenger journey, rather than fuel per aircraft journey. But I like my calc better.

PPS For an hilarious insiders' account of why investment bankers need to do it with the lights on, read the excellent Monkey Business.

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