I see roads, icy roads

January 31, 2014

Some bits of the country have already had a first taste of this year’s winter, warns Pete Rodger, Chief Inquisitor with pet-food-to-driving-instruction conglomerate IAMs. And things could be about to get a whole lot worse! There could be even more winter to come! Possibly a month or more of it, according to meteorologists, with temperatures reaching zero degrees centigrade or even colder!

Fortunately, given the time of year, Pete has six surefire tips to keep you out of trouble on Britain’s chilly roads. We’ve adapted Pete’s Top Winter Weather Tips to create a cut-out-and-keep “aide-mammaire” for winter weather warriors everywhere.

Tip 1

Stick to salty roads! Do not drive on little roads that may not have salt on them. DO NOT imagine you can add your own salt. It takes a lot more than you think, and you may need something called grit as well.

Tip 2

Keep a dicer and a scraper with you at all times, and don’t, IAMs Pete enjoins, “be one of those people who who only scrape a small area and drive looking through a slit.”

Tip 3

Put your gear stick in those positions marked with larger numbers to avoid spinning wheels. Be gentle with your feet, and possibly have a bit of a look at the handbook and see what it suggests about driving in winter weather.

Tip 4

Treat wet patches with care. That might not be water! That might be ice! If you do not respect dark patches you could end up in the ditch.

Tip 5

Stopping distances can increase by potentially as much as up to 10 times as much in winter. So make sure you always drive ten times further away than normal from anything you might be in danger of driving into. Your brakes will avail you little on an icy road. Use your gears to slow down or something.

Tip 6

If your car is sliding sideways do not panic! Simply remove foot from accelerator and point the front wheels where you want to go.

Bankstone News Bonus Tip:

Don’t buy one of those stupid BMWs with the rear wheel drive


January 30, 2014

A learner driver was apprehended driving a 4WD vehicle along the eastbound carriageway of the M62 last Sunday, the Bradford Telegraph and Argus reported this week, accompanied only by a parrot.

When West Yorks motor cops stopped Gilly-Anne Tinklet (not real name), 19 (not real age), they quickly established that her fellow passenger was not in fact a qualified driver but an African Grey parrot.

Quick to see the funny side of this unusual incident, officers confiscated Ms Tinklet’s Pea Green Cayenne (not real vehicle), and charged her with “a number of motoring offences, including speeding”. The Parrot may or may not have been charged with impersonating a licensed driver.

Chief Inspector Mark Brownass commented “The rules of the road exist for a very good reason and it is important to remember that if this lady had been in a crash or incident she would not have been covered by insurance as she was not licensed for the journey.”

On the basis that anything involving parrots is intrinsically funny, every newspaper in the country has duly featured this story, so why we’re bothering telling you about it all over again is anybody’s guess.


January 24, 2014

In response to some distinctly uncharitable comments* made about the recently released video of Bankstone’s 2013 charity fundraiser Medieval Monkeys XIII, Bankstone News has decided to return to the cutting room (armed with new and previously unseen footage) to produced an entirely new cinematic interpretation of this action-packed event.

The only problem is… we don’t really have much in the way of new and previously unseen footage. But that, Dear Regular Reader, is where you may very well come in.

Were you in Yorkshire over the weekend of 29-30 June last year?

Did you perchance happen to capture still or moving images of the proceedings?

If so, please send them asap to editor@bankstone-news.co.uk and you could have the thrill of seeing your handiwork rough hewn and botched together into the latest audiovisual sensation to emerge from the legendary Bankstone Arts production line.


*Those mildy disparaging YouTube comments in full:

“I giv this 0 out 10. That is gerrous!”

“This sukxz Donkies. Your a total dick”

“Watching this was duller than I ever imagined anything could be”

“After 10 second I want tear out eyes. Also pull off ears. Not so easy tho.”

“I didnt think your video was very good u deserve rotisserie in hell and suffer million pains 4ever”

“**** ***** **************** ************** a ********* ******** ur ***********!!!”

January 24, 2014

Q: What do you do if someone phones up wanting to buy an insurance policy? A: Sell them it! Or, as grizzle-chopped agri-pop yesteryear chart botherers The Wurzels would have said… “Zelomit!”

Zelomit, appropriately enough, is the name under which a bunch of possibly US-based but more likely Nigerian fraudsters rebadged a cloned version of the unexceptionally bland website of Saffron Walden based insurance brokers Saffron Insurance Services.

Zelomit, in direct contradistinction to the claims published on its website, is NOT authorised by us, warned UK insurance regulator the FCA (pronounced F’ka) this week.

Zelomit is also the name of the Bohemian town in which Saint Wenceslas underwent his dramatic conversion to free market economics in 928 AD, an anagram of mole zit, and colloquial Slovenian (zelo mit) for “a complete myth” (if you don’t believe us, you can check on Google Translate).

All of which, we think you will agree, paints a pretty clear picture of exactly how little good the nefarious perpetrators of this unlovely act of clone warfare are up to!

Spot the difference

Staff working for Zelomit appear to bear an uncanny resemblance to those working for Saffron (assuming this bunch of medical students actually work for either of them):





The pretence is let down only by occasional minor slips such as the use of the Yoruba slang word Potect in place of the standard English Protect


Sadly, Zelomit could manage only an unimpressive 0% trust rating from scamadvisor.com:



The end, finally!

January 24, 2014

How would you like it if somebody hit you in the pocket? If, like Bankstone News, you imagine that you probably wouldn’t like it very much at all, then you’re one of a growing number of people who are turning against trouser-punching motor insurance fraudsters by blowing whistles on them.

The whistles, of course, are metaphorical; as are the pockets, and possibly even the trousers. The point is that the UK’s crack fraud fighting force the FBI (Fraud Bureau of Insurance) have exclusively revealed this week that more and more people are picking up the telephone, dialling some numbers, getting connected, listening to an automated message, holding for an agent, and then, basically, dobbing-in someone they suspect of motor insurance fraudulence.

The best numbers to call if you would like to implicate someone you believe is up to no good are the FBI’s own Chatline or BBC TV’s Crimestompers. Literally thousands of people phoned one or other or both of these numbers last year to report a suspected motor insurance fraudster. That’s literally more than in any previous year since records began, 6060 in fact in total.

Describing this tidal wave of telephonic vigilance as “fantastic” the FBI’s Ben Feltcher insisted that motor insurance fraud, far from being a victimless crime (in which case, of course, it would be OK), hits ordinary decent honest motor insurance premium payers in the pocket. Feltcher urged: “If you know about insurance scams, or have suspicions about the activities of others, just call the Chatline on 0800 422 0421”

Bankstone News, as you will almost certainly have spotted by now, knows little or nothing about insurance scams, but we certainly have plenty of suspicions about the activities of others, so we might just give that number a call.


January 23, 2014

So confusing is the UK motor market that even the FT is confused. Specifically what appears to be confusing the nation’s pinkest financial paper is its curious willingness to take seriously the seemingly random findings of indices like the Confusing-Towels What’s On Up-Down Index and the Alcoholics Anonymous Premium Price Plotter Thingy.

Nor is it just the FT. Investors got all excited a few days back when Confusing-Towels’ figures appeared to suggest that price competition might be cooling off – only to slump back deflatedly into the proverbial slough of despond when the AA released figures suggesting precisely the opposite. Only more so.

The AA reckon insurance prices fell almost 5% during the last quarter of 2013, contributing to a 14% drop over the year as a whole, the steepest rate of descent since the very dawn of recorded time (see Figure B) when primitive tribes herded musk ox and mammoths over cliffs. Regrettably, it now appears such indices may soon face competition in response to of mounting doubts over their impartiality/reliability/making any sense whatsoever.

“The Association of British Insurers,” the FT predicts, “ will unveil plans next week to publish a new Quarterly Motor Premium Tracker, amid concerns that those compiled by third parties overstate the costs.The ABI said it was responding to mounting ‘political and consumer interest in the cost of motor insurance’. Unlike other indices, the ABI’s price monitor will capture premiums for consumers who stick with their existing insurer.”

Who knows whether such a whimsical methodology will ever catch on in practice.


Figure B

January 17, 2014

Exuberant great mounds of eagerly pulsating excitement continue to pile up around Bankstone’s forthcoming summer charity fundraising weekend. As usual it involves riding monkey bikes round some of the more scenic bits of Yorkshire in aid of Yorkshire Air Ambulance YAA.

But this year its theme will have a distinctively Gallic whiff. Commander Vicky Tyson and his crew are planning to pre-trace the route of this year’s Tour de France event, which kicks off with a two-day jaunt around, you guessed it, “some of the more scenic bits of Yorkshire”.

The official timetable for the TdeF itself predicts that on the morning of Samedi 5 Juillet the main cortege of riders will be passing by Commander T’s very front door in scenic commuter resort Addingham, en route from Leeds to Harrogate via quaintly named places like Starbotton, Aysgarth, Worton, Muker, Grinton, Masham, Wormaid Green and Killinghall.

The following day they will return southwards, passing Commander’s T’s door at around the same time, en route from York to Sheffield, having already passed Greenbeck, Starbeck and the infamous Côte de Blubberhouses, with Keighley, Haworth, Mytholmroyd and Thongsbridge still ahead, not to mention the Côtes of Ripponden, Greetland, Holm Moss, Midhopestones, Bradfiled and Oughtibridge.

For further details of this exciting itinerary (some or all of which Bankstone and friends will be following a week or two before the men in lycra, although it might be prudent to give Leeds and Sheffield a miss), see the Tour website here.

To sign up for your chance to participate in this unique event, email Commander Tyson today (own stripey blue and white teeshirt, beret and garlic rope an advantage)!


January 16, 2014

The Ministry of Justice is pushing hard, it emerged this week, to have whiplash-assessing medical panels up and running before the end of the year.

As with all its other policies, Paul Edwards of Hill Dickonsin suggested to Post Magazine, the current government is keen on the Medical Panels solution to whiplash “because it’s quite hard for anyone to object to.”

Edwards noted that it remains unclear who is going to pay for all these new assessors, whose attendance fees, productivity bonuses, and intensive one-day Whiplash Expert training courses will, Bankstone News can only suppose, inevitably carry costs.

Logically, perhaps, it should be insurers, in the same way they’ve stepped in to fund police anti-fraud activities. But might this attract unworthy suspicions that assessors’ judgement could somehow be influenced by their source of income?

In reality, of course, each one of the several thousand medical professionals called up to staff the Medical Panels will be scrupulously objective in the manner in which they look applicants in the eye and ask them in a very serious voice whether or not they really do have whiplash – or whether they are simply claiming to, in the cynical knowledge that there’s no real way of telling.

Whether initial appearances before the judging panel will include – not only whatever verbal and physical prodding and probing assessors are allowed to do before claimants cries of real or feigned pain become insufferably loud – but also lie detector tests remained unclear at the time of writing.

Or maybe claimants, like the sadly afflicted/persistently shamming author of this deeply self-pitying Telegraph article, will simply be “treated like meat” until they go away.

Perhaps the simple prospect of appearing before a panel will be sufficient to put off all those shameless would be whiplash winners.


“You do realise, do you Mrs Paphillipidedeles, that if you persist in this ridiculous pretence I shall have no other choice but to subject you to a protracted series of uncomfortably intrusively but ultimately inconclusive medical examinations?”

January 16, 2014

If there’s one thing everyone’s been talking about non-stop over the past few days* it is surely BIBA’s newly published 2014 Manifesto.

The front cover of this year’s eagerly awaited document is cunningly disguised as a brown paper envelope. This, on closer inspection, turns out to be a reference – not to bribery or anything dodgy like that – but to the document’s overarching theme of ‘delivery’.

BIBA’s new manifesto trumpets its intention of “delivering’ for consumers, ”delivering” for business and “delivering” for the insurance industry. Which sounds suitably butch and purposeful, until one pauses to reflect that many of the things BIBA promises to deliver may not be entirely or uniquely under its own control.

For example, the manifesto commits BIBA to “delivering an appropriate regulatory system.” It is less than clear exactly where and how BIBA will be delivering its “appropriate regulatory system” or indeed what view the incumbent insurance regulatory authorities will take of this initiative.

In total, the word delivering appears no fewer than 47 times across the 36 page document, with a fair smattering of  ‘deliver’ and ‘delivers’ thrown in for good measure.

Among the things BIBA undertakes to deliver are the following:

‘a competitive tax system’
‘a fair compensation system’
the above mentioned ‘appropriate regulatory system’
‘competitive business rates for UK companies’

Busy year ahead, for BIBA then.

As for Bankstone News, if we ever hear the word delivering again it will be a good deal too soon.


* Disambiguation: there isn’t.


January 16, 2014

Another week brings yet more hilarious YouTub footage of crazy crash for cash capers. On this occasion, Bankstone News is indebted to Feet News, the journal of choice for commercial vehicle operators everywhere for pointing us in the direction of a short film in which a lorry is driven along a busy dual carriageway at 50mph until… suddenly, the car in front slows to a halt, the lorry stops, and some other vehicle (unseen) rear-ends the POV vehicle, said course of events causing our driver to exclaim first “Are you ….ing nuts?” and then “AAAAaaaaaouooough!!!”

Little suspecting that the POV cab might be fitted with a patent Eyespan camera supplied by the Vehicles Group (or indeed the more subtle point that a commercial goods vehicle might not be the most intelligent form of motorised transportation in front of which to brake suddenly), the driver of the abruptly stopping blue Peugeot initially maintained that the collision was entirely our driver’s fault. But, thanks to the unique Eyespam camera supplied by the Vehicle Group, truth won out and another would-be C4C bandit was sent packing!

Vehicle Group person Elliot Guff told Feet News that with C4C action at an all time high, “the video goes to show not just the financial gain but also the safety of the driver in the event of a staged accident,” which it probably does, at some point, but we only watched it quickly and may have dozed off during that bit.

At any rate, it is certainly reassuring to learn that the Eyescab camera supplied by the Vehicle Group “gives enough clarity for a business to make out vehicle registrations” and provides “a detailed insight into the true causes of accidents.”

Fortunately, it seems it is also fitted with automatic expletive deletion capabilities soundtrack-wise.

In the meantime, Bankstone News looks forward to viewing many more such action-parked C4C videos on YouTuba, regretting only that the UK still has someway to go before we can boast footage of a standard to rival these DashCam dramas from Russialand.

Safari - ▶ Eyescan camera shows clear 'Crash for Cash' scam - YouTube

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