How Addingham got on the tour trail

January 30, 2015

In the latest in the long line of completely exclusive revelations with which Bankstone News is constantly regaling you, Dear Reader, we can this week reveal the real reason why this year’s Tour de Yorkshire bicycle race will once again pass, not once but twice, through the picturesque hometown of Bankstone director Dickinson Trousseau.

It seems a top-level delegation of prominent burghers from the historic hamlet of Addlingtonham (internationally renowned as the birthplace of Sisters of Mercy bassist Craig Adamsfamily) travelled all the way to London to engineer this prestigious sports-hosting coup for the Wharfedale beauty spot.

Having overcome their initial repugnance at the filth and depravity of our nation’s so-called capital city, they bearded Mr C in his top secret Downing Street lair and told him that if he didn’t tell the tour organisers to go via Addlinghamtonbury, not once but twice, something very bad indeed would happen to him. Something… let’s not go into unpleasant details, but… something involving a great length of roughly-sewn bunting.

While they were there, the leading Addlingtonians presented Mr Cameron with a vividly realised artists’ impression of how downtown Addingtonham would look chock-full of blokes on bikes (courtesy of local artist Rachel Ribbly) and an equally vivid sotto voce word picture of what happened to the last fellow who got the bunting treatment.

The rest, as they say, is history.

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January 30, 2015

Saga’s sensational swoop for Bennetts this week surely proves what most of us have long suspected, that bikes are for old folks only, and that no self-respecting youngster would want to be seen dead on one, or indeed anywhere nearby.

Once they’ve got over the youth-friendly smash-and-grab convenience of dirt-cheap Asian scooters, today’s young people increasingly recognise that (like wearing a panama hat, joining the bowls club, or taking The Telegraph) getting on a bike put years on you (at the same time, paradoxically, as taking them off your life expectancy).

Even among bike insurance providers, Bennett’s book looked decidedly one-foot-in-the-gravish, with a doddering 77% of its customers aged 40 and upwards. Almost half of all Bennetts Blokes are over 50, according to this week’s Guardian newspaper, who devoted a full-page splash to Saga’s swoop.

As a point of comparison: one in three bikers in the UK have passed the Big 5-O (and we’re not talking about the mid-Pacific US state from whence those groovy oldsters source their favourite ‘party shirts’).

Old folks dominate the bike market to such an extent now that one manufacturer has actually started offering bi-focal helmet visors that allow their users to check their revs, fuel, and speedo whilst still having some vague idea of what’s hurtling towards them as they corner mid-stream round leafy commuter-belt lanes.

Bennetts have apparently told the Guardian that, rather like Vicki from the chippy in Whelpsdale, they plan to continue servicing bikers of all ages for the foreseeable future, but will obviously have a range of specialist services, from cruise packages to Silver Singles nights, to offer bikers of, shall we say, a more mature vintage.

“There is a growing interest in motorbiking among the over-50s,” said a Saga spokesman, who has clearly not yet learned to call it motorcycling. Reassuringly, he added that: “a growing proportion of them are taking a motorbike test.” So perhaps they’ll be alright out there after all.

Still, Careful how you go, Grandad, eh!

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That is seriously not cool, Dude

January 30, 2015

A recent article in leading bizpolecon publication The Eucumenicalist has caused a stir by suggesting that auto industry safety innovations could soon result in guns overtaking cars as the leading cause of death among the demographic segment so memorably identified by Dr David Bowie of Berklee College, Boston as ‘Young Americans’.

Road deaths Stateside have dropped by an alarming 24% since 2004, according to the National Highway Traffic Safety Administration, to the point where ‘just’ 32,719 people were killed in road accidents in 2013, a figure that will drop to zero once everyone drives a GoogleMobile and they’ve ironed out the whole ‘hacking by GTA fans’ problem.

With gun deaths riding high at 32,351 in 2011 (the last time anyone could face adding them all up), it looks like a mere 500 odd fatal shootings (or a few more airbag deployments) should suffice to tip the balance and establish guns as the number one peace time threat to US citizens. Swimming pools, before you ask, kill fewer than two thousand, even in a good year.

Bullets are less of a worry over on this side of the Atlantic – although we do have exploding Teasmades, scone-induced asphyxia, and Polonium-laced Lady Grey to fret about here. All of which are significantly less of a threat in the US.

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Suge Knight: a foot (allegedly) in both camps

 

 

January 29, 2015

According to insurance comparison outfit GoCompario, at least a quarter of UK parents could soon find themselves effectively banned from driving.

Why? Because they’ll have been blacklisted by insurers, and hence be barred from buying motor insurance, without which, of course, they cannot legally drive.

Shocking as that may sound, the law demands it, and the law must have its way. It’s the law.

In any case, it’s all their own fault because they’ve been fronting for their offspring, and fronting’s an offence most foul.

More specifically, as regular readers will recall, fronting is the act of pretending that your kids’ cars are your own and insuring them in your name, with the nippers as supposed occasional users. One in four parents openly admit to this, and it’s a safe bet many more of them are doing it on the quiet.

Insurers, quite understandably, are up in arms at being denied the chance to target young drivers with premiums that properly reflect their mania for road-based mayhem. Fronting is fraud, GoComario stressed this week.

Perhaps the 50% of parents who whinge that young driver premiums are a rip-off would like to pay more themselves to even things out a bit – instead of fraudulently insuring their offspring for the same bonus-oldster rates they’re lucky enough to enjoy themselves.

Lying, conniving, cheapskate scum! You people don’t deserve insurance.

Hopefully, once we know who they all are, insurers will ensure they’re never offered an insurance policy again.

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Grant: genuinely sorry

January 23, 2015

Anyone who thought Bankstone had finally given up on all that monkey bike nonsense had better brace themselves for a rude awakening. The charity fundraising tour of Yorkshire on undersized motorcycles thing is back!

Bandwaggoning shamelessly on the Tour de Yorkshire hoopla, this year’s theme is hill climbs, with the two-day itinerary taking in the ten toughest ascents in all of Yorkshireshire (cue: inevitable mechanical failure, foul language, bike abuse, interminable delay etc).

Yellow jerseys will be the order of the day on 4-5th July* this year as Bankstone and friends (yes, they have friends) will be taking to the tarmac to raise funds for life saving charity YAA (as seen in TVs Helicopter Heroes).

A snappy name for the event has yet to be hit upon. Previous “snappy names” include Monkey Monopoly, Monkey Moviestars, Medieval Monkeys and Arctic Monkeys (that last one might not have been ours actually). All suggestions welcomed via editor@bankstone-news.co.uk.

If you would like to take part, you probably need to stand back and take a deep breath, quickly followed by a long hard look at yourself: has it really come to this?!

If you honestly believe it has, contact dtysoe@bankstone.co.uk and prepare to live out your every childhood fantasy of toiling up and down a seemingly endless sheep-fringed ribbon of road draped carelessly across the bleak and windswept Yorkshire uplands in company with this lot:

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January 23, 2015

Old Stovian, ex-soldier, and former vehicle recovery kingpin J. R. Attlee, 3rd Earl Artillery, 131, has waded into the ongoing debate on young driver risk with some remarkably forthright and incisive comments this week.

The Stoat-educated Tory pier claims the Government has “wimped out” by failing to tackle the menace of young people driving cars. The question of whether and when such persons should be permitted behind the wheel needs some serious looking at, the former Trainspot Secretary argued, alluding darkly to something called ‘graduated driving licences’.

Her Majesty’s Government must be held accountable, @lee argued, for ducking the challenge of reining in these sui/homicidal young hooligans. Measures such as ‘restricting’ them, banning them from driving after dark, and/or banning them from driving around with their friends in the car should all be looked at, right up close, with a good pair of spectacles on.

Also, the Old Stowisher queried: why are car makers still permitted to sell ‘motor cars’ that can go faster than 70 miles an hour, which is as fast as anyone is legally permitted to travel on four wheels in this country? Surely such practices must be stamped out as a matter of the utmost urgency.

Transport Mistress Baroness Kramer (Little Democrat), however, suggested that the solution to young drivers should be ‘evidence-based’. Rather than ‘restricting’ young drivers or their rides, she suggested, introducing a surveillance-based regime could hold the key to rooting out the threat of young driving.

She said the Government is actively looking at extending and taking advantage of the telematics-based in-car tracking already installed in many young people’s vehicles to monitor their every move and crack down if they get up to no good.

Now there’s a thought!

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January 23, 2015

Automotive fencing firm Carp Loans 4U have this week revealed that hundreds of thousands of Britons are driving around in cars that are barely roadworthy and certainly not safe because their owners can’t afford to repair them.

Yes, times are tough in cash-strapped Britian, and many UK citizens simply can’t afford to make their vehicles properly roadworthy. But, with the price of oil plummeting towards tuppence a barrel, they can at least afford to drive them (see last week’s in-depth coverage in Bankstone News).

Insurers may, of course, be less than thrilled to learn that it’s not just drivers of matchstick-flimsy classic cars who are riding about in deathtrap-dangerous mobile accident hotspots.

A survey carried out by the car fiancé firm found that many drivers are ‘flouting the law’ in cars with key safety features (including brakes, tyres, headlights, seat belts and windscreens) either compromised or missing altogether.

Within a sample of just 2,000 drivers, Cart Loons 4U found 5.1 million vehicles with bald tyres, 2.9 million with broken or missing wing mirrors, 2.8 million with broken headlights, and two million with malfunctioning brakes.

But even when their cars develop fundamental problems like these – or like broken brake lights or power steering – they dare not take their hideous rust buckets anywhere near a repair shop a) because they fear a host of other costly issues will emerge and b) because they can’t afford it anyway.

One in four in CL4U’s survey felt they needed to replace their entire vehicle, but simply didn’t have the funds. If only there were a friendly and professional lender ready to offer them a loan on truly affordable terms.

Guess not.

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January 22, 2015

Personal injury claims may be down (as reflected in a report issued this week by the Faculty and Union and Council of Actuaries), but sadly they are not yet out. Sensing that more needs to be done to bring about the fuss-free world all forward thinking businesses dream of, HMG has unveiled bold new plans to make justice less affordable.

Increases of up to 600% in the cash deposits required of anyone planning to bring a claim to court, should help deter those who might otherwise be tempted to go grubbing after cash handouts every time they sustain some trivial wound or injury. Initiatives like this are exactly what we need to cut the drag of rag-tag damaged-goods human detritus on the forward thrust of Business Team GB.

Predictably, whinging legal bods are already bleating on about how unfair it is that people can’t afford to go to law. What’s eating those parasites is that there’ll be less work for them! Former Chelski midfielder and alternative rock legend John Spencer, currently with lobby group P.I.L., has been banging on about how “some seriously-injured people will be expected to pay £10,000 up front to bring their cases to court, and many simply won’t be able to afford it.”

Well, sorry John, but Justice costs and right here is where your malingering layabout something-for-nothing clients are going to have to start paying.

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January 16, 2015

In the latest instalment in Bankstone News’ long running nose recognition challenge, we’ve introduced a welcome touch of novelty by giving you not merely a nose but also some lips to look at.

Next time we might do some eyes or something. It’s hard to predict such things in advance. Although, strictly speaking, that’s really the only way you can predict things.

If you think you know who it is, don’t hesitate: simply email your best guess to editor@bankstone-news.co.uk and you could win a not-to-be-sniffed-at prize of some kind.

To be honest, it’s pretty unlikely you will. But, let’s face it, what have you got to lose? Seriously, you of all people!

Terms and conditions apply.

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January 16, 2015

What a great big fuss about nothing. Insurance brokers had got their collective knickers in a terrible twist and a tizzy over tough-talking regulator Dennis Wheatley’s ‘shoot first’ regime. Now it turns out the guy’s a total pussy cat. New figures concocted this week by leading industry journal Insurance H reveal that the FCA has pretty much given up bothering brokers.

“Broker-specific” fines, the paper reports, were down a massive 750% in 2014, from £9.76 million in 2013 to a piffling £1.3 million. And that was mostly down to the hefty fines meted out to former staff of Salford-based brokers Swindleton over their shady dealings, Bankstone News understands, with someone called PPI Miss Ellie.

“Essentially what this means,” comments Franz-Hans Fliebler of business dynamics consultancy Gamblin Gibbons, is that brokers can relax, take a breath, and then clear out all the compliance managers, compliance consultants, compliance this, compliance that, basically all the dead wood that’s been littering the place up and putting a drag on the true entrepreneurial spirit over these last few years.”

Compliance consultant Banco Bjelzebubbalobl, however urged a note of caution, insisting that the low level of fines seen last year was merely a blip, couldn’t last, and would hopefully be way up again before long. “I don’t think [the FCA] have taken their eyes off the ball,” Bjelzelobbalobba warned, alluding to the visually distracted condition that can sometimes prevent professional football players from performing to their full potential.

Tel Clark of compliance consultants Robin Hood Associates echoed Mr Bjelzeburble’s comments, noting that a nice chunky wad of claims could simply be backed up in the penalty pipeline, as “It can take a couple of years for results to come out, because it’s a complex legal process, and obviously there’s the right of appeal.”

Now, in other words, would be precisely the WRONG time to start skimping on compliance advice.

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