Bah humbug: raining on David Cameron’s parade, bloodthirsty board games on the Christmas do circuit, plus Cyril Sweett and the Ebenezers
Machiavelli would be proud
It was sad to see some political observers making a cynical link between the choice of last Monday for the government’s pre-Budget report and David Cameron’s victory in the Tory leadership ballot on Tuesday. But one construction industry bigwig went further. “I think they’ll launch the sustainable building code on Tuesday to spoil the Tories’ announcement,” he assured me. As a fanatical follower of our Reform the Regs campaign, I’d be quite happy to see the new leader of the opposition consigned to the inside pages of the national newspapers by our sustainability targets. Not so sure about everyone else in the country, though …
Ron and Don on the ropes
Ron Henry, a director specialising in sport stadiums at the US headquarters of engineering giant URS, brought a tear to my eye with a heartwarming tale last week. A former client of his was the legendary boxing promoter Don King. Apparently, the vertically coiffed one appointed Henry to help transform a little stadium King owned into a boxing arena. However, because of his advancing years, King decided not to go ahead with the development in case his wife, Henrietta, was left to deal with the arena halfway through construction. Clearly, even hardened fight promoters and one-time gangland racketeers have their sensitive sides.
Office parties can be murder
Lawyers, it seems, can now literally get away with murder. Law firm Winward Fearon has taken a decidedly bloodthirsty approach to the festive season by opting for a Cluedo-themed staff party. For those unfamiliar with the murder mystery game, in which one unfortunate staff member will be “done in”, the object is to uncover the murderer, the weapon and the scene of the crime. Obviously, once the assembled guests decide it was Professor Plum, with the revolver, in the ballroom, the next thing will be to find a defence lawyer who charges reasonable rates. Now that’s a different game entirely …
They just want to be loved
I hear that Multiplex has been struggling to recruit a new deputy managing director. For more than six months, recruitment consultants have been looking for a suitable person to report to Martin Tidd, but so far nobody has expressed an interest. With speculation rife that Multiplex is not long for these shores, industry big guns have been keeping their powder dry. However, a senior Multiplex bigwig has assured me that the UK and Europe are central to the firm’s expansion plan … but then he also said that Wembley would be completed on time.
Fun and games at the ODPM
The foyer at Eland House, the central London home of the ODPM, is mighty impressive with it large, comfy sofas and computer terminals to send that last-minute email. But don’t bank on the PCs’ ability to get your business done.
On closer inspection, they have only one application – the game solitaire. If the rest of Eland House runs on the same system, it could explain a lot.
Thanks (no, really) to those readers who pointed out the blunder in the wonder in last week’s Wonders & Blunders (page 42). Yes, the pub pictured is not the Lamb in Bloomsbury, but the Lamb and Flag down the road in Covent Garden. The fact that not a single journalist at Building spotted this mistake, we feel, has let down our profession’s reputation – both for factual accuracy and knowledge of drinking dens.
Sticking to the Christmas party theme, I hear multidisciplinary consultant Cyril Sweett’s do last Friday involved a novel seating plan. Instead of the usual place names, the 300 dinner places were adorned with pictures denoting the various consultancy professions. So, QSs sat where they saw pictures of Scrooge, project managers where there was a circus ringmaster and those in support services were caricatured as Santa’s little helpers. Wonder what pictures you’d get at an industry-wide event …