As regular readers will know, Bankstone News is never happier than when – with a heart full of spite and a hideous smirk on its unsightly face – it is hammering out vile aspersions. Unworthy sniping is its stock in trade.

Imagine, then, its frustration at trying to make something of the latest news from Direct Line founder Peter Woods, who seems disconcertingly like a thoroughly decent chap. Oh well, here goes anyway!

How fascinating to learn of Mr High and Mighty Peter Woods’ oh-so exciting plans to buy out the 50% of Gio Compario he doesn’t already own and roll it into Esure with a view to floating the latter for a cool £2bn. Just because he revolutionised the insurance industry by setting up Direct Line, devised the most lucrative performance-related remuneration package in history, and has hardly set a foot wrong since, we’re all supposed to hang on his every word. Pah!

Having completely ripped off Direct Line with Esure – stopping off along the way to insult women drivers twice over with the insufferable Michael Winner’s Calm Down, Dear schtick and the sparkly camp nonsense of Sheila’s Queens of the Wheels – he won’t deign, he says, to snap up Direct Line now Arbiess has been told to offload it.

“I’d end up having to sack thousands of people and end up with loads of spare properties,” he snorted in repetitious disparagement. “It is not the sort of thing I want to do in the last few years of my working life.”

Not content with this unpleasantness, he went on to take a swipe at another entrepreneur with a bland name. “I have paid all my tax,” he boasted to the Daily Mail. Continuing in the same me-me-me vein, he added: “I’ve been one of the highest taxpayers for years. I’m not a Philip Green with a wife in Monaco.”

You’re not fooling anyone with that indefinite article, Mate. Not much doubt which Philip Green you’re having a pop at!

He went on to crow about how Esure has moved roles back from India. “India’s fine for back office work,” he conceded grudgingly, “but customer facing doesn’t work. If you can get jobs done, and done well at the same cost, you do them in Britain,” he pontificated. That’s just racist innit?


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