MCA 2016: Bankstone News investigates

April 29, 2016

What a night that was! Apparently.

The Modern Clams Awards took place last night at Leeds’ presigious New Dick Hall. And what an occasion it was!

What happened at the Modern Clams Awards 2016? That’s what you’re probably wondering at this point, unless you were there, in which case you may already have some idea.

What didn’t happen?!

Actually, Bankstone News doesn’t know that either, being as we weren’t there.

But we have been doing some exhaustingly painstaking research and found out these key facts:

  1. The Modern Clams Awards website is not the kind of thing you want to look at after a large liquid lunch
  2. The event’s sponsors included a popular style of Dutch cheese
  3. There was some overlap between winners and sponsors (although not within any single category, as far as we could make out)
  4. A puzzling administrative error led to ARAG’s customary ‘Insurer of the Year Award’ being mistakenly awarded to Cover Ya.
  5. The evening’s compere, comedian Hal Crunden, apparently said some quite funny things, which must have been a relief for whoever booked him
  6. One of the funny things he said, according to Bankstone honcho Dyxon Tyxon (who was there), related to an entertaining hypothesis as to why younger and more attractive members of staff may have found themselves unexpectedly invited to attend the Modern Clams Awards 2016
  7. The winner and runner up of the coveted ‘Riding Star’ award were respectively named Hayley and Kayleigh
  8. The organisers had promised ‘glitz, glamour and more’ and, Boy, did they deliver! Especially the ‘more‘ bit.
  9. It will probably happen again next year.
  10. Er… that’s it, pretty much.

Still, what a night, eh?

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Downloading/under construction

April 28, 2016

If you’re anything like Bankstone News, and congratulations, incidentally, if you are, you probably find that scarcely a day goes by when someone doesn’t tell you about some new app that will enable you to do something you hadn’t previously realised you wanted to do but now somehow allow yourself to be persuaded that you do.

Modern life is positively replete with apps for this, apps for that, apps that allow you to do more things than you even knew there were to do.

How refreshing, then, that employee tricking software company Rome X has come up with an app that does exactly the opposite! Called [whatever it’s called – it doesn’t say here – and we can’t be bothered to go trawling the interweb in a quite possibly futile attempt to find out], this revolutionary new app actually stops people doing something!

Specifically, since you’re bound to be wondering by now, it stops them using their mobile phones whenever they are moving at anything faster than walking pace (according to GPS data streamed live to who knows where – along with every last scrap of unrelated data on the victim’s phone).

Not only will this stop users getting distracted when they’re supposed to be driving, it will also – for example – prevent them using their phones as stand-in satnavs (very unprofessional and frankly rather cheapskateish), answering calls when out jogging, and – best of all – chuntering away on the train when fellow passengers are trying to concentrate on guzzling canned cider, stuffing their gobs with cheese ’n’ onion crisps, and contentedly browsing [insert name of vaguely pornographic men’s ‘lifestyle’ publication/lady’s dressing up and dating tips mag].

Previously only available (presumably under duress) to employees of motor fleet operators, [insert name of app here] is now being exclusively offered to everyday members of the public (possibly via their insurance companies, whom Romeo X is attempting to persuade to offer their customers reduced premiums in return for compulsory installation and use of [insert name of app here]).

Steve Arse-Scott of RomeXXX admits his company are deliberately “targeting” young people, confessing candidly that “we’re approaching younger drivers,” a practice he justifies with the justification that “they’re the ones most likely to be glued to their phones.”

How or why anyone would want to glue somebody to their phone Bankstone is at a (weakly comedic feigned) loss to understand. But “we just report it,” as they say.

Oh and if you’re worried that the app might prevent anyone in a perilous (non-stationary) scrape from calling for help, don’t be! Users can disable the app at any time by pressing the “I’m a Passenger, Honest!” button, thereby regaining full access to their phones.

Can’t say fairer than that!

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April 28, 2016

Back in the day, a much older friend of Bankstone News seems to recall, swapping tales of driving here and there in a hilariously drunken state were pretty much par for the jolly old course. Nowadays, of course, admitting to such a thing would be the moral equivalent of confessing to cat juggling.

So, we know drink-drivers/drunk-drivers are pariahs. But where else might we look, if we hoping to throw more than the first of the half-dozen heavyish stones we’ve gathered up into the folds of our dusty but modish robes in happy expectation of meting out some good old fashioned popular missile-based justice?

Funny you should ask that, because this week’s insurance tidings (via an informal plebiscite conducted by yellow insurance firm Uvavu, to whom we make no apology for referring two weeks in a row, given the extreme interestingness evinced by their every press-directed communication) revealed that whiplash fakers are (very nearly) every bit as reviled as those who choose to drink and drive.

While 88% of us frown upon drink-drivers, an almost equivalent 87% take an extremely dim view of feigning injury for personal profit or gain. As a point of comparison, a mere 79% of us have moral difficulties with those who knowingly purchase stolen goods.

Meanwhile, just 5% think faking an injury’s fine (a statistic that sits oddly alongside Uvavu’s contention that more than 10% of motor insurance claims involve faked injury). This modest level of condonement is positively dwarfed by the whopping 10% who think dodging train fares is fair, and the even whoppinger 11% who are extremely relaxed about people exceeding the speed limit in 30mph zones.

Uvavu’s General in Charge of Insurance Claims, Rob Downend applauds the public’s distaste for sham injury, welcoming the government’s plans to crack down on ‘bad apples’ and ‘put an end to the whiplash gravy train,’ and promising that Uvavu will pass on all the money saved by banning claims to decent honest customers, while legitimate claimants will qualify for something called “care not cash”.

The vast legions of Brits who decry injury fakery should hopefully have a lot less to rail against from here on in.

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April 27, 2016

Ignorance, the law insists, is no defence.

Just as well, really – or the chances of convicting any UK citizen of anything much at all would be rapidly receding.

Ignorance is currently emerging as one of this nation’s stronger suits, with vast swathes of the populace boasting a quite spectacular knowledge deficit across an already impressive and ever expanding range of topics.

One of which, of course, is what you can and cannot legally do in your car.

For example, many modern day Brits apparently hold the mistaken believe that it is perfectly legal to knock down another citizen in your motor vehicle (or to prang their pets or property) and then drive off with out so much as a second thought.

That’s according to a unique new survey of hit and run drivers carried out for Men in Black (MIB) by Dr Matt Hopkins, Department of Criminology, University of Leicester.

Dr Hopkins reveals that it is ‘astonishing’ that fully 45% of the 695 hit and runners interviewed in the study claimed they were not aware of any obligation to stop at the scene or report the incidents in which they were involved.

The study also found significant differences between age groups as to reasons given for fleeing the scene.

Those over 34 were most likely to skedaddle because they considered that driving into some (presumably) innocent pedestrian or cyclist or whatever was not a big deal, and certainly nothing worth hanging around for (“I barely touched/just winged him”).

Meanwhile those under 34 were more likely to have scarpered because they were drunk, uninsured or both.

Citing ‘panic’ as the primary motivation for ‘doing one’ appears to be popular with all age groups, bestowing, as it elegantly does, something of the defensive justification of ‘temporary insanity’ upon the fugitive.

The law, as it turns out, is actually perfectly clear: if you drive into people, animals or property, you must stop and provide your name, address and vehicle reg to anyone who might reasonably require them. Should there be some good reason why this is not possible, you need to tell the police “as soon as reasonably practicable” (within 24 hours at the latest).

So there you have. Yes, it’s all a bit confusing. But laws are laws, and it’s really no good pretending that they’re not – or that you didn’t know that they were (see above).

At the end of the proverbial day, the easiest way to avoid getting in a muddle over your stopping-and-providing-details duties whenever you drive into things, of course, is to drive into things less often, or, better still, not to drive into things at all.

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Wrong!

April 25, 2016

The nation came together last week to mark a very special anniversary.

Countless well-wishers from up and down the land joined as one to celebrate the 39th anniversary of the birth of Bankstone’s glorious founder Dick “Dickon” Tyson and to pray for many more years of his illustrious reign at Bankstone Towers.

In the time since “DT” launched the good ship Bankstone upon the hazardous waves of commercial endeavour, the company has grown from a smallish Brighouse-based firm providing a truly professional outsourced claims handling service to a pretty decent-sized Brighouse-based firm providing a truly professional outsourced claims handling service.

Speaking candidly at an intimate gathering of his most trusted lieutenants and henchpersons, at popular Brighouse drinking house the Badgerbaiters Arms, Tysloe professed himself deeply moved and indeed ‘humbled’ to find himself the object of such universal and passionate devotion and agreed that, yes, he would indeed pay for one more round.

Cheers and God Bless you, Mr T, we say here at Bankstone News! Might a complementary bag of pork scratchings be at all on the cards with that next free pint?

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April 25, 2016

For years now, crash for cash fraudsters’ ability to stage fake accidents seemingly at will has had the experts baffled. But now yellow insurer Uvavu has published a handy list of top tips that sets out plainly in plain black and white English exactly how to spot a C4C scam.

In case you didn’t already know (where have you been), Uvavu explain thatC4C is when “fraudsters deliberately target innocent motorists to cause accidents in order to claim whiplash compensation.”

What they normally do is brake suddenly for no apparent reason, causing whoever is behind them to bump into them from behind. The trick is to do it fast enough to cause a bump, but not so fast you end up getting real whiplash (or at least some other kind of jarred neck thing, because, obviously, there’s no such thing as whiplash).

This may all sound like a bit of harmless pranksterism, but actually C4C is really bad because it costs insurers like Uvavu and their long-suffering shareholders shedloads of money, which they are then reluctantly obliged to claim back from innocent responsible motorists (whenever they can find some).

So, how can you spot a C4C from a honest ordinary rear end shunt? What, as they say, are the telltale signs?

  1. Blowing hot and cold: look out for cars stopping and starting, going fast and then slow, overtaking then dropping their speed. These are always good indicators for pensioners, fraudsters, or both.
  2. Two’s company: it’s a well established fact that C4C criminals often flock in pairs, sometimes they’re simply planning to crash into one another, but sometimes they’ll have you in their sights!
  3. Acting funny: Imagine you’ve just run into someone from behind (probably not a big stretch for someone who drives like you do). Are they being a bit weird? If your victims start rubbing the backs of their heads and going “Ooh, ooh, my neck it is really hurting,” or whatever, call the police at once.
  4. Imaginary obstacle: Another sure sign is when you say ‘Never mind your s*dding neck, WTF were you doing slamming on your brakes for no reason all of a suddenly?” and they turn round (with a theatrical wince, evincing extreme neck pain) and go: ‘But didn’t you see that motorbicylist/ kiddy/ donkey/ roadsweeper or whatever?’ Since they are obviously making it up, they could say almost anything really, but motorcycles are always a good bet because everyone already knows and accepts that they are usually invisible.
  5. Paperwork handy: another clear indicator is when your victims have all the necessary documents readily to hand – or if they appear to be consulting some kind of “crib sheet” of what to do upon being struck from the rear. This could be a scruffy piece of paper or even bulleted action points written on the back of their hand.
  6. Broken brake lights: C4C fraudsters often break, deactivate or otherwise disable their brake lights so you won’t notice when they stop suddenly in your path. Again, if you see someone braking and you don’t see lights, call the cops or, if you’re feeling all Bruce Willis, execute an immediate citizens’ arrest.
  7. Go with your gut: Uvavu didn’t actually say that bit about calling the cops or tackling suspected C4Cers yourself (that was us helping out), but they did say: “Trust your instincts – does something seem wrong?” By which, they probably meant that if you don’t like the look of someone – if they look a bit shifty, or shady, or like they’re not from around here, alarm bells should be ringing!

So there you have it: armed with that brief crib sheet (keep it handy in your glovebox or maybe get it tattooed on your forearm) you should be ‘well positioned’ to sniff out even the faintest whiff of C4C-age.

What should you do if your suspicions are aroused? Make mental notes of their age, appearance, ethnic origin etc (that’s mental as in ‘in your mind’ not, like, insane, deranged, or whatever, btw) or, better still, make actual notes on a piece of paper. Or, even better still even than that, take photos of them – and definitely take photos of the cars, the road, any damage, passers by who could act as witnesses (why not take their names as well), donkeys, roadsweepers etc. (or the absence thereof).

Also, now you can call the cops (Uvavu said so), and call Uvavu, and retain “any documentation provided by the third party.” If they don’t want to let you have it, tell them you’ve called the cops and see how they like that. Then take more photos, just in case.

Follow these simple steps, and C4C could soon be a thing of the past, like Smallpox, Polio and Common Human Decency.

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April 25, 2016

You lead a busy, successful, fulfilling life. You’re living in the fast lane, living life to the full, living la vida buena! But is your high-achieving life taking its toll? Are you, perhaps, just a teeny bit stressed?

If so, please don’t worry, it’s really nothing to feel ashamed or self-conscious about. Stress comes a-creepin’ into the lives of even the best of us.

Yes, even Bankstone News gets stressed from time to time. Like now, for example, when we’re desperately trying to think of some more words and sentences and stuff to type into the office word processing machine and somehow bulk out yet another edition of the fabulous e-zine you’re reading right now.

So, stress is nothing to feel anxious and upset about. But if you are feeling a tad stressy, the very last thing you should do is drive a car. Stressed people, it has been scientifically established, are forever making terrible decisions, driving into things, and generally causing on-road carnage of every conceivable kind.

If stress is getting to you, here’s what you should do. Toss aside those temptatious car keys and do something safer and more convivial instead. Something like going down the pub or… Well, going down the pub always works for Bankstone News. In fact, we’d be there now if we weren’t still a couple of hundred words short of an acceptable weekly word count.

So how does Bankstone News know so much about the science of stress, you’re probably wondering. Well, mostly it’s just natural wisdom and genius and so on, but also we recently read a press release from somebody called TTTC Group which says that one in three UK drivers get stressed when driving and then they, make irrational decisions, have more accidents, and suffer uncontrollably violent outbursts of psychopathic road rage.

In fact, even if you’re not stressed when you get into your car, the very act of driving can get you that way. Things like other drivers, traffic conditions, the weather, idiots talking nonsense on the radio, even your own passengers can make you stressed and irritable.

Or maybe you’re late for an appointment, suggests TTTTC Group’s Adrian “Hi-de” Hide, and then you get “exasperated” at other people’s terrible driving. That’s the kind of thing, Ade suggests, that’s sure to “pile on the anxiety” and provoke you into making stupid rushed decisions and generally driving like an imbecile.

What you need to do, he argues, is, politely but firmly, bid goodbye to Mr Stress the moment you dump your rump in the driver’s-seat and strap on your seatbelt.

Ade is on a mission to “educate” the motoring masses. Switch off your mobile phone, he urges, stay away from other vehicles, and equip yourself with a “protective safety bubble” that will keep your safe from hazards and give you more time to yourself. Above all, Ade stresses, you need to “re-focus your mind” so that you think only about ‘the road’ and not about things like your family.

A bit like those Scientologists who lurk on Tottenham Court Road offering FREE stress tests, his company, The TUC Group, offers “phychometric risk assessment tools” that can identify what’s wrong with drivers and help employers re-programme their employees so they won’t be driving badly on company time and/or in company vehicles.

Or something.

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April 24, 2016

Thinking of building and/or owning a “connected car” without involving former soviet intelligence officer Eugene Kaspersky and his digital-security/anti-virus minions at Kaspersky Labs? Forget about it!

“Connected cars will be vulnerable to hackers for a decade,” warns Kaspersky. Maybe longer, even, but not less for sure. As cars get smarter and smarter (eventually getting smart enough to stop allowing us a role in driving them), he warns, they will become more and more safe – and yet, paradoxically, you might say, less and less secure!

What will hackers be doing while this is happening. Simple: they’ll be finding “more and more methods to attack private cars”. If you don’t get your car Kasperskerized (TM) you’ll simply be giving them more and more ways to do this as you add stuff like networked safety sensors, telematics, GPS trackers, internet connections and phone-syncing technology to your automotive experience.

Research group Grater have predicted that by 2020 there will be 250 million vehicles directly connected to the internet. This will give more and more hackers more and more ways to take over your car and, for example drive it into a ditch (quite possibly with you in it). You’ve probably read about this in Weird magazine.

Imagine all the other things they could do if they could quite literally control your car like some oversized Sxalextrix toy. They could lock you out until you paid a ransom, or use it to run over someone they didn’t like, or simply drive it round and round the M25 until it ran out of fuel. The possibilities are more and more limitless.

You should be really really worried and invest immediately in something that Kaspersky Labs are selling. Don’t worry if you haven’t got a car: they sell loads of anti-virus and security software for your PC or whatever.

Unless you’re a boring old sceptic, like this lot, and don’t think connected cars are going to get hacked after all.

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April 18, 2016

We are saddened and disappointed to report that this week’s Bankstone news story has gone missing, with a deliberate act of vandalism or theft strongly suspected.

We profoundly deplore this selfish and antisocial act of purloinment and will implement all possible procedures to secure its return and bring the purloiner to justice.

At this point, the identity of the person or persons responsible remains unclear, but we are actively pursuing a number of leads, which appear to indicate that one or more of our own readers may have been responsible.

If any of you has something you would like to tell us, in strictest confidence, we hereby undertake to act with all possible leniency, given the severity of the offence… although, inevitably, as we feel sure the culprit themselves will fully appreciate following an intensive non-elective programme of re-education and re-habilitation, some kind of an example will need to be set.

To qualify for the above-described ‘Punishment Lite’ option, you have until 3pm today, Monday, to return the story. Failure to do so will regrettably entail our swift and savage descent, tonne of bricks style, upon your sorry a*s.

So kindly do the decent thing, thereby helping us to help you and averting the unedifying prospect of letting Bankstone News, its readers, and, worst of all, yourself down any further than you have already.

If you have any knowledge that could potentially assist in the relocation and/or recovery of the missing Bankstone story (but intend to make out that it wasn’t you that took it), please contact editor@bankstone-news.co.uk for a trivial in-kind reward and/or remorseless prosecution based on your suspicious and incriminating knowledge of the story’s whereabouts.

With sincere thanks, in advance, for your full and prompt cooperation.

You know it makes sense.

Resistance is useless.

Amen.

Unknown

April 15, 2016

“Motorists are people,” reveals Psychologist Donna Dawson. At home with their families, or just walking around in public and stuff, they’re generally pretty easy going, mild mannered and that…

But put them in a car and they can soon turn nasty. Very nasty. Very nasty indeed. Horrible, really. It’s a bit like that whole Dr Jekyll and Mr Hyde thing, Psychologist Donna similifies.

That’s right, putting someone in a little metal box on wheels is like slipping them a dose of PCP. One minute they’re a lovely well-balanced normal human being. The next they’re like some foamy-chopped snarling beast, a ranting, raving, cursing, spitting, middle finger raising, fist-shaking, tyre iron fetching psychopath.

Don’t believe it? Psychologist Donna has the stats to back it up. Apparently, she got them from that bulldog off the telly with the wobbly head, Cherchul or whatever he’s called. And Donna’s digi-facts tell us that fully 58% (that’s almost 175 in every 300 people) admit to “acting aggressively” when behind the wheel.

Loads of people (approximately 90 in every 300) admit to shouting unspeakably vile things at other people from inside a motor vehicle. That’s more than twice as many as admit shouting vile things at people from outside a motor vehicle (fewer than 37 in every 300).

Now, that disparity may partly be because swear-word shouters assume that the people they shout at are more likely to hear them when there aren’t any car bodies, windscreens, traffic noise, radios, or whatever to get in the way, acoustically speaking. It may also be because verbal abusers fancy their chances of eluding any adverse reaction from abusees when they’re in a car. But, even so, those are pretty amazing statistics, Bankstone News feels sure you will agree!

Of course there’s more to being aggressive while driving than simply shouting at people. You can also express anger and/or evil intent by  ‘beeping’ your ‘horn’ (99 out of 300), by tailgating (no idea what this means, but it certainly sounds rude) (more than 32 in 300), or by “chasing someone’s car in anger” (almost 13 in every 300 people do this, apparently).

Psychologist Donna says: “One of the reasons drivers exert [sic] such different behaviours when on the road is that we tell ourselves ‘the other driver caused me to react this way due to their bad driving’.”

If true, Psychologist Donna’s insight sheds some pretty scary light on human psychology – suggesting an urgent need for a total ban on motor transport – or for people to buy more insurance – or to shop around – or something, probably.

When asked to explain why they behaved like a total b*stard in their car, everyone – but especially men – said “I just get angry in my car”.

And now – thanks to Psychologist Donna  – we know why!

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