Nigel "hard work" Griffiths, our valued construction minister, has been keeping a low profile of late. But he got into difficulties this week after he stuck his Midlothian oar into the increasingly turbulent Bath Spa row. Apparently, he invited representatives from Mowlem, Grimshaw and the local council to round table talks. It seems the Grifter succeeded in uniting those present to the extent that they all hate him as well as one another. Under the headline "Blair should get rid of this joker", the Bath Chronicle fumed about "the sheer arrogance of the man", and it urged the PM to "make sure that this joker is removed from the pack whenever the junior echelons of government are reshuffled". Sounds as if everyone should meet up for a day of aquathermal relaxation.
Nail my head on
Peter Weedon of public relations firm Salient Communication might need to brush up on his writing of press releases. Announcing the appointment of Steve Barker as business development director at construction services group Rand, Weedon informs us: "To demonstrate his sense of humour, Steve readily admits to being a keen supporter of Middlesbrough!" It gets funnier the further north you go.
First with the news
Ken Shuttleworth must have choked on his Sunday morning croissant after he read The Observer this weekend. The amiable architect received something of a monstering from Deyan Sudjic, the paper's normally mild-mannered architectural correspondent. In his article, Sudjic slated Shuttleworth's Building interview of this time last year. He described it as "breathlessly ill-judged" and claimed that Shuttleworth "was portrayed as a boyish genius with a pen in each hand who could design entire cities before breakfast" (talk about sexing up a story). He concludes by doubting whether he could make it on his own, as "outside the Foster machine he will have done remarkably well even if he can establish himself as no more than just a good architect in his own right". If you want my opinion, it sounds like a clipping to file in the "words, for the eating of" basket.
Television programme on buildings #153. This time Ruby Wax, the supernaturally irritating "star" of the small screen, is looking for construction bosses to feature in an upcoming series called "Ruby Does The Business"
(geddit?!?), where she will attempt to further her knowledge on the "workings of the business world". I hear the ditzy presenter is aiming high in her quest for industry leaders – she has approached no less a figure than Ray O'Rourke, chief executive of contractor Laing O'Rourke.
You will not be surprised to hear the great man turned down the exciting opportunity. Pity, it could have been quite a meeting of … er, well, I suppose they're both mammals …