Via an old colleague at the Guardian, I see that Business Secretary Peter Mandelson is unhappy with Starbucks Chairman and CEO Howard Schultz. The not-PG bits of Mandelson's tirade are after the jump:
The business secretary, Peter Mandelson, has launched an extraordinary tirade against the head of the Starbucks coffee empire, accusing him of spreading gloom and overly denigrating the state of the British economy.
Angered at remarks by the company's chairman, Howard Schultz - who said the UK was in an economic "spiral" with "very, very poor" consumer confidence - Mandelson accused him of spreading unnecessary misery and speaking out of turn.
Speaking at a diplomatic cocktail reception in New York last night, he said: "Why should I have this guy running down the country? Who the fuck is he? How the hell are they [Starbucks] doing?"
Mandelson's remarks, made in front of journalists at the official residence of the British consul-general, came amid mounting concern in diplomatic and ministerial circles over hardening US opinion towards Britain's economic woes.
The rest of the piece is here. Mandelson's worry -- that exaggerated alarm over the state of the British economy could become a self-fulfilling prophecy -- actually seems reasonable. But this probably isn't the best way to air his concern.