The Sunday Times and Croissants – pass the bedpan Sir Humphrey

The Sunday Times and Croissants 17th March

There is something special about Sunday morning, the Sunday Times, hot croissants with honey and butter, excellent.

Headlines –  “Pass the bedpan, Sir Humphrey” makes the headlines, civil servants in the health department are to be sent on work placements to hospitals, surgeries and old people’s homes to experience the NHS front line first hand. 2000 officials will be ordered from their desks to see how patients are treated. Excellent. The health secretary Jeremy Hunt told staff “I’m going to make it a requirement that you all have front line experience, I myself will be undertaking brain surgery”, sounds like a great plan.

Inspired by the idea, defence will send Mandarins to Helmand, DWP will instruct staff to live on welfare and staff from justice will be incarcerated at her majesty’s pleasure. Departmental savings will surely follow. Presumably the health secretary thinks his officials do not have friends, family or offspring, have never paid a visit to casualty or all get private health care as a condition of employment. Clogging up casualty will not improve the NHS but the abolition of perfunctory performance targets certainly will, minister.

Elsewhere, the new Archbishop of Canterbury Justin Welby reveals “My wife keeps an eye on my drinking” – shock news to husbands everywhere and an obvious plea for celibacy in the Church of England. “I never drink alone but always have a bottle for company”, the message for social drinkers everywhere.

David Smith, outlines “Five things that might just boost growth”. The list includes investment, infrastructure, housing and finance for business”. Who could not agree? On Thursday, we released the “Budget for Greater Manchester” which argued for more infrastructure spending especially in the regions. Boris Johnson plans to spend more on bikes in the next ten years than we have had to spend on all forms of transport in GM over the last decade. Time to drive recovery up the M6 and take positive steps to rebalance the economy.  Great coverage in the FT, Times, Guardian and the Daily Mirror – result!

Economics news, recovery is in sight and the pound is just right said Mervyn King the Governor of the Bank of England in a surprise statement to ITN news. Last week in the Saturday Economist we asked “Who speaks for sterling”, this week the Governor made the call. The Governor still believes the march of the makers will rebuild the workshop of the world with an improvement in net trade. Pity because the news from the ONS on manufacturing and trade this week was unhelpful. For more information check out The Saturday Economist.

Back to the day Job – no diary this week, most of the time spent, working on the budget release and the scripts for the Business Conference on the 22nd March. Yes, I shall be presenting the conference with Kirsty Wark. It really will be a fun show, so don’t miss that,  a few tickets still available, ring the office this week.

Tuesday was Gateway breakfast followed by coffee with Brian Sloan, then lunch with Simon Allport from Ernst & Young, nice day.

Wednesday, good meeting with Mark Hughes, the new head of the growth hub followed by coffee with Richard Bailey from Rothschilds. Finance committee meeting in the afternoon.

Thursday, catch up meeting with Colin Sinclair at Bruntwood and later with Weber Shandwick, digest the press impact of the budget statement. Cool.

Friday, day off – of sorts.

Saturday, working in the morning, the day starts as usual with tea, the FT, and the Economist app. The Economist leads with “The America that works”. A competitive surge is sweeping across the USA. Hurray.

In the afternoon, tennis, it’s a  3 – 6 loss, again, then England are thrashed by Wales. Oh dear.

Hope all is well, more news next week, don’t miss the conference on Friday!
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