The European Commissioner for Competition has fined Google £1.3 billion for abusing its monopoly on online advertising over the last 10 years, acting illegally by barring its clients from displaying any advertising from rival advertisers. This, said the Commissioner, prevented Google’s rivals from growing and deprived consumers the benefits of free competition.

This is the third such censure of Google by the Commissioner, totalling fines of £7.1 billion. Last year Google were fined £3.7 billion for abusing the dominant market position of its Android operating system, and in 2017 were fined £2.1 billion for artificially boosting its own “Google shopping” price comparison service in search results.

The fines, representing 1.29% of Google’s 2018 turnover, are still a long way shy of the 10% of turnover the Commissioner could impose on Google.


British singer Ellie Goulding has not renewed her contract with Proctor and Gamble to promote Pantene shampoo.

Whilst no-one is saying why it is thought that P&Gs supply of 55% of the haircare market in China and the fact that all shampoos have to be tested for irritation by squirting them into the eyes of live rabbits before they can be sold in China likely has something to do with it, Ms Goulding being known as a staunch animal lover.


If so there is a lot of sinning going on, going on the fact that sales of the Mother’s Ruin have nearly doubled in the last two years, according to the Wine and Spirit Trade Association (WSTA)

Unlike whiskey (Irish), or whisky (Scotch) which only makes you frisky gin only takes a few days to make, against anything from 5 years up for a decent dram or two of Scotch or Irish.


Amusing to hear that Ryanair’s Michael O’Blarney attempted a joke about British Airway’s ill-fated flight to Dusseldorf that ended in Edinburgh offering them a copy of a book, “Geography for Dummies” on Twitter.

This side-splitter was answered by some Twitter wits who tweeted that one book the leprechaun could definitely use would be “Customer Service and Employment Law for Dummies”.



Someone else making a joke that rebounded on him, and his company was Volkswagen boss Herbert Diess.

Diess, or his speechwriter thought it would be a hoot at a recent company meeting to slightly amend the slogan “Arbeit macht frei” (Work makes you free) found at the entrance to the Nazi death camp of Auschwitz, Poland to “EBIT macht frei”, the EBIT being an accounting abbreviation for Earnings Before Interest and Taxation.

No doubt this hilariously clever play on words had Volkswagen underlings wetting themselves with glee, but it hasn’t played so well outside the firm where the links of Volkswagen to Germany’s shameful Nazi past have been recycled. Such as the fact that Adolf Hitler laid the foundation stone for their first factory in 1938, and that Volkswagen exploited concentration camp internees and prisoners of war as cheap slave labour to help build the wealth Diess and his firm enjoy today.

Time for a new speechwriter.


Three teenagers were crushed to death as they waited to get into a St. Patricks Day disco at the Grenvale Hotel in Cookstown, County Tyrone, Northern Ireland.

It is understood that around 400 young people were in the crowd waiting for the hotel’s club entrance door to be opened at 9.30 pm when the lethal pushing and shoving started by people desperate to get to the front of the queue, resulting in the deaths of Lauren Bullock, 17, Morgan Barnard, 17, and Connor Currie, 16.

The owner of the hotel, Michael McElhatton, 53, and a 40 year old man were arrested two days later on suspicion of manslaughter. Mr McElhatton has since been released on police bail.

In a sad sign of our times sick internet trolls quickly set up fake profiles mocking those who died.

The three-star, 11 bedroom hotel on the outskirts of Cookstown is a popular venue for weddings, with a capacity of 250, and conferences for up to 200.


Like lots of others we rushed to renew our passport early because of the possibility of a no-deal Brexit, which had more than nine months left on it Like lots of others we were impressed that HM Passport Office were pledging to add up to nine months that passports had to run to the expiry date. Indeed the helpful HM Passport Office information leaflet we got a few weeks ago from the Post Office, who processed our application, stated: “You can renew your passport whenever you want. You do not have to wait for it to run out. We will add any period your passport has left to run (up to nine months) to your new passport”.

Sadly this isn’t the truth. Apparently last September HM Passport Office quietly “altered their policy” and no longer add back up to nine months of validity. This is now made clear on their web site as their information leaflets distributed by the Post Office tell a very different story.

The concept of reduction in trust comes to mind…


The Vice-Chancellor of De Montford University, Dominic Shellard, has resigned over business links he had with the chairman of the university’s remuneration committee, Anthony Stockdale.

Shellard owned shares in the Metamorph Group, a holding company run by Stockdale, who approved a 22.4% salary increase for Shellard, the largest pay rise of any UK University Vice – Chancellor this year and one that bought Shellard’s salary to £350,000. Following Shellard’s resigning Stockdale has resigned his post on the university’s governing board.

The Office for Students watchdog has now launched a probe into “regulatory matters” at De Montford.


One concern many travelers have is being the victim of an infestation of bed bugs, something that unfortunately happened to the writer at the Moorfields Premier Inn, Liverpool last month.

So what’s it like? Well it’s horrible. The bites don’t really come out till two days after, when they itch maddeningly, and scratching too hard breaks the skin on the bumps that form and risks infection. Creams can stop some of the itching but I needed a course of anti-biotics and anti-histamine to properly clear it all up.

Just in case any of our readers, or their delegates, are similarly unlucky we are publishing the emails between ourselves and Premier Inn, part of Whitbread and these follow here.

1. From Premier Inn to Peter Cotterell 08 March 2019

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Shoah, for many was the ultimate Holocaust documentary, taking its French director Claude Lanzmann 11 years to shoot and spanning more than nine hours after the selections had been made from the 350 hours of footage shot. Shoah is Hebrew for “catastrophe”, also “calamity” and “destruction”.

The film, released in 1985 concentrated on four main areas – the Chelmo, Auschwitz-Birkenhau and Treblinka extermination camps in Poland and the Warsaw ghetto in Poland, and Lanzmann interviewed survivors from, witnesses to and perpetrators of what has been called the greatest evil of modern times. Excepting a poor reception in Poland, where the hatred of Polish peasantry for the Jews was exposed (without balancing this with the help given by many Poles to the Jews) Shoah was a triumph, winning universal acclaim, a 100% score on the Rotten Tomatoes website, based on 33 reviews giving an average rating of 9.2/10, and a BAFTA award for the best documentary.

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