This week, a Tory minister demonstrates how not to impress the construction industry, Tesco picks up people in pubs and a Labour party member praises a great former leader

An exemplary tale

Alistair Burt, the shadow local government minister, was full of praise for the British construction industry at the Conservative party conference last week. In his speech, Burt singled out one project as setting a particularly high standard. “It is a wonderful, wonderful piece of work,” he rhapsodised. “When we do our projects well, they’re world class.” And to which famously successful construction project was he alluding? Why, the long-delayed, greatly over-budget, Australian-built Wembley stadium, of course.

Our lost leader

Jim Kennedy, of the Labour party’s National Executive Committee, began his oratory at last week’s conference by paying tribute to a notable retiree. “He was a great leader, he gave us a wonderful legacy and has left us far too soon,” announced the union representative. Just as delegates were about to spit out their tea, he added: “Yes, let’s bid a fond farewell to José Mourinho.”

Every little helps

You never know what you might get if you find a business card in a London pub toilet on a night out – an illicit encounter, a tempting loan offer or, it seems, a job with Tesco. Construction types have been leaving the supermarket giant in droves recently, so it hit upon a novel way of finding replacements. It has printed business card-sized fliers, advertising its search for property professionals, and asked staff to strew them across the city’s drinking establishments.

It's not my bag
Credit: Scott Garrett

It’s not my bag

The 20th birthday dinner of networking group Women In Property at the Claridge’s hotel was a sparkling affair, with everyone dressed in their finery to celebrate the achievements of women. Mid-way through the meal, guests fell silent for a raffle. After one lucky lady won a weekend’s stay at the hotel, a red-faced man shuffled onstage, amid laughter, to collect his prize: a new snakeskin handbag.

Banjo on my knee

News that another of the government’s city academies has just topped out will bring a smile to Gordon Brown’s face. The fact that the Bridge Academy in east London, which will specialise in maths and music, is shaped like a banjo will, no doubt, also be music to his ears. What might be less well-received is news from one member of bank UBS, which sponsored the scheme, that the banjo was sketched out on the back of a napkin during a working lunch. Apparently a treble clef would have been too confusing.

Under surveillance

In a recent celebration, Gleeds hired a double-decker bus to take chief executive Richard Steer and 2012 ambassador Sir Steve Redgrave to Glasgow to mark the QS’ 21st anniversary of business in Scotland. The idea was to arrive at a local school where Redgrave would regale the kids with his Olympic tales. Sadly, the bus arrived severely late, after encountering a number of low railway bridges barring its path. Lesson for the day: always survey your route.

The sound of the Bow bells

Based near Spitalfields, architect Child Graddon Lewis is more of an Eastender than a City-slicker – instead of creating plush headquarters for HSBC in the Square Mile, it opted to design 30 of its branches around the South-east. It’s gritty credentials became even clearer after it held its 15th birthday party in the boiler house of Old Truman’s Brewery, disproving, as partner Simon Child pointed out, the notion that architects couldn’t organise a piss-up in one.