Our diarist unsheathes the simple sword of truth and the trusty shield of British fair play to take a few cheap swipes at the Spanish and Americans …

Madrid’s bid is flagging

Watch out, Seb! The Madrid 2012 Olympic bid team has a secret weapon to bring the games to their nation. On 5 June, a 2.5 km flag decorated with the Madrid logo will be unfurled along the city’s Castellana Avenue, according to city mayor Alberto Ruiz-Gallardon. “We will see the largest flag ever spread out in any city in the world … to tell the whole sports world how passionate we are.” And, indeed, how desperate.

Lipton gets lippy

Sir Stuart Lipton clearly feels free to speak his mind since being bundled out of the door at CABE. At last week’s British Council for Offices conference in Paris, for example, the Stanhope chairman crushed a delegate who was praising the record of London mayor Ken Livingstone. “There’s no evidence in the past four years that there’s been any improvement in the public realm whatsoever,” he hissed. Ouch.

Holding out for a hero

Topping out ceremonies are generally slightly peculiar affairs, and Multiplex’s recent bash at 21 Manresa Road in Chelsea was no exception. The new structure behind a 120 m Victorian facade was the setting for an original twist on the “laying of the final brick” cliché. Instead of finishing off the brickwork, client Julian Simmonds clambered up some makeshift steps, accompanied by portentous music reminiscent of Eye of the Tiger. All very grand, but perhaps a slight case of overkill given that all he was doing was tightening the final bolt.

Fly, my proud beauty

You will no doubt be all too familiar with the feelings you get when a proposed scheme is up in the air as a result of planning wrangles. However, one developer on a former RAF site has more reason to grumble than most. Apparently the site in question is home to 57 aircraft hangars which, as they used to house bombers, were themselves built to withstand a direct hit. The local authority has stipulated that these mammoth structures should be removed before any development of the site can take place. And how much is this removal to cost? According to the council, £7000 a hangar. However, the developer had a slightly different take on the issue: it quotes £250,000 a time. Perhaps it ought to think about taking flight from this particular site …

A kick in the Poldarks

I was disappointed to miss what was probably construction’s biggest social event of the year so far – the wedding of Sir Robert McAlpine chairman David McAlpine and actress Angharad Rees, who is best known for her performances in the Poldark TV series in the 1970s. The nuptials took place earlier this month at the Royal Hospital Chelsea, of which David is a governor, and attracted 650 guests, a mixture of the industry’s great and the good and society high-flyers. I’m sure my invite was simply lost in the post.

Identity crisis

Oh dear. It seems there was some confusion last week over the identity of the new construction minister. Apparently dopey government officials cut ‘n’ pasted the responsibilities of the previous DTI parliamentary undersecretary, Nigel Griffiths, to the new one, Barry Gardiner. So although the prime minister had actually reshuffled responsibilities so that construction had been promoted to the department’s new minister of state Alun Michael, officials were busy telling leading industry figures that Gardiner was to be their new government representative. D’oh!