If someone asked you to form a mental picture of the typical Bankstone News staffer taking a lunchtime sandwich break, you would probably imagine an elegant Saville Row suited gentleman, one shinily shod athletic lower limb crossed lightly over the other, perusing a freshly ironed copy of the Financial Times with wryly omniscient amusement animating their cooly handsome features.

Whilst almost uncannily acurate in all other particulars, you might want to replace that FT with a grubby little Hipstreet Titan XK HS-7DTB4 tablet (once quite unfairly identified as the world’s worst tablet PC). If you really wanted to quibble over details you might also want to swap that suit for a Duckdale Beerfest 2003 teeshirt and pub-swaggy jeans, and maybe add a paunch or two.

But the crucial distinction between your mental image and reality is that you wouldn’t catch a BN reporter dead reading the FT because we don’t like books or newspapers or anything else that’s printed on paper, and we especially don’t read the FT because we can’t understand a bleedin’ word of it. Plus you have to pay.

Except maybe you don’t. Because Mad Malcolm from the Badgers is a man who knows how to get all kinds of things for free. Even things nobody wants. Mostly things nobody wants, actually. Things like the FT. And he just showed us this trick you can do on the FT website where if you click on an article and very quickly do ‘select all’ and ‘copy’ you can nab their articles before the paywall pops up.

Now Bankstone News cannot possibly condone such lawlessness and strongly believes that anyone taking advantage of the cluelessness of FT’s paywall defenders should be punched or taken out and shot in front of their families or one of those things Jeremy C used to advocate.

But when Mad Malc was showing us his quick-fire-copy trick we happened to notice an article reporting that Gaz Hoffman, the former Northern Rocker hired to apply his secret formula to top insurance firm Hashtings (a firm that does its underwriting on a Southern Rock) has declared an end to hostilities in the long running motor insurance price war.

This is clearly excellent news for all concerned – not least for decent honest policyholders who have had to watch helplessly as prices rose and fell on the ebb and flow of fluctuating motor market price war tides.

The price war has been particularly savage recently, after motor insurers became concerned they might start making too much money in the wake of L’ASBO and the war on claims.

But now it seems, like the continental European powers following the inconclusive Battle of Prague in 1648, insurance firms have lost the appetite for further conflict, paving the way for the motor insurance equivalent of the Peace of Westphalia which ushered in the modern era and put an end to three decades of paneuropean carnage.

Acknowledging that the sector remains “fiercely competitive” as of today right now, Gaz confidently predicts that “we would expect that the cycle has turned or is turning.”

This is excellent news and will create an ideal environment in which to float Hashtings sometime in the near future.

Not long from now, motor insurers will all be basking in an era of ever-increasing profits, looking back ruefully at the needlessly vicious price wars of the past few decades and solemnly intoning the hallowed mantra Never Again!



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