I picked up a copy of Vernon Coleman's 'England our England - a Nation in jeopardy' the other day.
It's not much more than a powerful set of blog posts, often turning into a prolonged rant as well, but it lifts several lids on the EU disaster waiting to happen. Naturally, our spineless administrations - and those as far back as Heath's as well, get a lambasting on every page. I just can't help thinking how much taxpayer's hard earned dosh is wasted by such enormous 'public' organisations, staffed by such incompetent but power-hungry people.
Which is what my point is all about.
As some old friends here might have established some time ago, my business is developing property - mainly hotels. ('Nasty, greedy old Git in a sheepskin coat' come some comments from those who think I drive a Hummer, and live behind electric gates...)! Wrong I can assure you, the 'Scrobmobile' is well qualified for scrappage - by three years - I just love driving it; and the gates have been non-existent for twenty years as I keep hitting them when I get home...
So my company takes enormous risks to get something built. There are no contentious issues with hotels, mainly because they have to be on big roads to be seen, or town centres, to attract business and tourism, and hardly anyone wants to live near those sorts of place anyway.
We search everywhere to find sites, and meeting as many people as possible to achieve our goal is the norm, which is why I usually go to big events like 'The Thames Gateway' exhibition. (see November posts passim, especially recalling the lovely lady, who still keeps in touch...). We definitely cannot afford to go to MIPIM, (big property bash in Cannes), which is good if you have several thousand quid to spread around, and end up so alcoholically re-adjusted, that you've forgotten who you met..), so I make sure I get around here in London mainly, but on a strict budget. (The bus pass even works for me too)!
I've just been informed by email that I 'should' consider going to yet another 'Local Authority talking shop'. Most of the delegates are from local councils and boroughs, but also hundreds of quangoes like SEEDA, BURA, and the like which control/degrade/interfere with every aspect of trying to get a simple building built for business. You'll count the commercial ability points on one hand...
This year, the Thames Gateway organisers are charging four times as much (£400) for private individuals (i.e. the tax paying companies which provide the wealth they fritter away), and even giving discounts to public services staff who don't create anything, except prolonged chaos in this weak, drowning government's task of ruining UK inc.
The latest one wants me to pay something similar, but for what?
...A chance to hear the views and learned discussion of various councils, unelected spenders of the public purse, dead-handed planners in sink boroughs, lessons from bankers (for Chrissakes), wise words from 'Learning and Skills Councils', regeneration experts - perhaps the sort of person which prepares the budget for the Olympics..., a smattering of MPs on expenses of course, loads more 'government' employees of a day out, someone in a pullover from the LDA, and a handful of bemused students who like to collect all the biros, sweeties and scratch pads from every stand!
These exhibitions are usually sponsored by private concerns, and they put up much of the money. The big names are there, but they can afford to, because they've got an ongoing project worth zillions lurking in the planning system, and anyway, I hardly ever come across them in our business, they're far too big. There are also a few housebuilders, who are hanging in too. Don't knock them, many of the good guys have gone now, and love 'em or hate 'em, they at least take huge risks, and bring something to the prosperity of a crap area, while councils wouldn't have a clue how to do it themselves.
So your correspondent will not be gracing any of these big events to meet nobodies, instead, he'll be doing what he normally does; wake up early, start thinking what to do next to earn a crust, get going on the phone early, email like crazy, get up to town the cheapest way possible, take a few Ryvita and a bottle of tap water for lunch on a bus between meetings, get excited rarely - but, when something goes well, you know it's despite government spouting rubbish, not because of it.
Oh yes; for one day, I will be at my monthly business meeting bash; (no public faces there, we don't want them), this Thursday, and I should know it works, because I started it over ten years ago!
And it costs nothing to arrange, you buy your own drinks, and it's free!