Thursday, April 23, 2009

Insuring Future Custom

Two years after purchasing my house, I finally got round this week to switching the home insurance to a cheaper deal (effectively halving my bill).  I was dreading phoning up the old insurance company to cancel it, expecting the hard sell to keep me.  I was pleasantly surprised that they did not bother and allowed me to cancel without even putting up a fight.  Against the generally received principles of capitalism (at least prior to the recent problems) this actually gave me a rather favourable opinion of the company, and makes it more likely that I will consider them in future.

Of course, being a deal that was negotiated through the estate agents, perhaps they just realised they had got what they could out of me and were happy to move on to the next mug.   Nevertheless, well done Groupama.  Other companies would do well to consider your tactics themselves.

Wednesday, April 15, 2009

How to Get Away with Murder

1. Join Her Majesty's Constabulary

2. Lose control in a high-pressure situation and, directly or indirectly, lead to the death of at least one innocent, law-abiding citizen

3. (Key step) Slander and libel those whose death you have been responsible for.  (Do not worry,  they won't be able to defend themselves)

4. Get your mates in the judiciary to limit the terms of the 'independent inquiry' (snigger)

For some fine examples of this technique, see Hillsborough, Menezes and Tomlinson.

Written on the 20th anniversary of the Hillsborough disaster.

Tuesday, April 07, 2009

City of God

Friday saw the announcement that the Archbishop of Birmingham, Vincent Nicholls, will replace Cardinal Cormac Murphy-O'Connor to become the most senior Catholic in England and Wales as Archbishop of Westminster. It follows a recent tradition of Birmingham being a training ground for seniority in the clergy, after John Sentamu took up the position of Archbishop of York from the Anglican equivalent back in 2005. I guess no-one can say Brum is a godless city.

Many people have commented that Vincent Nicholls is an ambitious man, who made a mistake by making it too clear he wanted the role. I have only met him once, at a Mass for Healthcare workers at St Michael's Church in the city centre, where I got the impression he was a deeply humble and spiritual man. I wish him well in his new role.