Sunday, April 25, 2010
I began to feel sorry for Gordon Brown the day he moved into No 10 because it was obvious he was the wrong man for the job. Everyone knew except, sadly, GB, himself.
Not that GB is a bad man, his personna is simply not fit for purpose as a Prime Minister in the 21st century. His brain, intellect and political savvy is outweighed by his aggressive style, inability to listen and economic use of the truth.
The televised leaders' debates have shown up all his flaws more than his attributes and it is now clear that he will be the scapegoat for Labour's inevitable poor showing on 6 May. It is not surprising he had to be dragged into the TV studios.
He alone is not entirely to blame..the Government as a whole have not done themselves - nor our country - proud over the past 13 years and while they can point to some limited achievements they lost the economic plot under GB's "Prudence Period" as Chancellor of the Exchequer.
He's now getting a mauling for his pledge to end 'Boom & Bust' and I sense it may get worse before the election is over and his Labour colleagues toss him aside.
posted by David Davis at 7:21 AM
Tuesday, April 13, 2010
Just over a week in and I'm already bored with the General Election campaigning; and there is one word which has started to make me cringe...it is 'PLEDGE'.
Just in case you are unaware of what 'pledge' means the dictionary definition is: "a solemn promise or agreement to do or refrain from doing something".
In the context of politics and particularly in the light of our experience of MPs behaviour, use of the word is a breach of the trade descriptions act and an insult to our intelligence.
Yet as each party's election manifesto is unveiled, the electorate is being peoppered with pledges, left right and centre; to get the idea of what I mean by watching the Leaders' Debates starting this Thursday and jot down against each party how many times 'pledge' is used; then at the end of the three debates count up the numbers and give your vote to the party with the LOWEST total.
posted by David Davis at 6:18 AM
Saturday, April 03, 2010
Kraft Foods may have bitten off more than they can chew in taking over Cadburys.
According to the Financial Times after the deal was done the US food group discovered an obscure clause in Cadbury’s pension trust deed that makes it almost impossible to close the scheme.
Apparently this unusual clause has existed for 30 years and could be linked to Cadbury’s Quaker heritage and and its doctrine of giving a fair deal to staff and suppliers
Now Kraft say the scheme is unaffordable and has issued more than 3,000 Cadbury employees with an ultimatum: face a three-year pay freeze unless they opt out of the confectioner’s final salary pension scheme.
PS:Earlier this week Irene Rosenfeld, Kraft Foods chief executive, was given a 41 per cent pay rise last year to $26.3m for services that included “exceptional” leadership in the takeover of Cadbury.
In view of the pensions' screw up, maybe this pay hike was somewhat too hasty.
posted by David Davis at 4:46 AM
Friday, April 02, 2010
I read somewhere recently David Cameron and George Osborne described as the 'posh pussy cats of politics'.
True they were well educated, true their families were wealthy, and true they wanted for little in their youth. Maybe 'posh' is a good enough description but 'pussy cats' never as they have shown in the run up to the general election.
I would start adding 'smart thinkers' when you consider the way Osborne, dubbed the 'weak link' of the pair, took the Government by surprise with his move on Inheritance Tax...he did it again this week by announcing the Tory opposition to Labour's increase in National Insurance which has won important influential support from Britain's leading employers' organisation and major business leaders.
Labour is now at war with the business community and the 'pussy cats' have begun to stir as 'politcal lions'
posted by David Davis at 3:56 PM
Thursday, April 01, 2010
I make no secret of my dislike for Peter Mandelson, largely because of his:
- Shady mortgage deals
- Iffy friends
- Unjustified claims of achievement
- Curled sneer when he disagrees with his many critics
However until today I regarded him as politically savvy, then came his early morning attack on a group of leading British business executives whom he accused of being 'cynically deceived' by the Conservative plans to overturn Labour plans to increase National Insurance.
Hardly had he stopped speaking when the group publicly hit back followed by many influential business organisations such as the British Chambers of Commerce and the CBI, which also came out in support of the Tory strategy.
Somehow Mandelson seemed to have forgotten he was Secretary of State for Business & Industry and you simply don't insult in public the people you are supposed to support, even if they happen to disagree with you.
His outburst was a serious blunder and certainly no vote winner for Labour.
posted by David Davis at 4:00 PM
Wednesday, March 31, 2010
As I stepped out of an office in Oxford yesterday a young man literally ran from the office opposite shrieking 'I have done it, I have done it'.
For a few moments I thought I was a witness to a terrible crime until he planted a big kiss on my cheek and gasped 'I needed to tell someone that I have done it'.
When he calmed down I inquired 'Done what?' to which he replied 'Passed my proficiency driving test'.
All the way down in the lift he continued to shout 'I have done it' and as we got out he went to kiss me again. This time I was ready for him and we shook hands. I can honestly say I have never seen anyone so excited before and it sort of my day as well.
posted by David Davis at 6:07 AM
Saturday, March 27, 2010
At this moment Israel is going through a black period in its short history, being at odds with essentially all of the world’s most powerful nations including best friends the United States and United Kingdom.
While at home Prime Minister Netanyahu is in the grip of the political right wing, whose support he needs to maintain in government.
But there is a silver lining to its current problems as my good friend Moshe Triwaks, publisher and founder of the leading public relations agency in Israel.
He reminds me that the economy is doing well, thanks to higher than ever exports, particularly of technology products and services, strong consumer spending and a strong shekel.
Israel's economy emerged from a recession at a far stronger pace than previously expected, growing an annualised 4.9 percent in the final three months of 2009 and the forecast is 3.5 percent growth in 2010.
Pictured above is the man given credit for this remarkable achievement, Stanley Fischer, Governor of the Bank of Israel for the past five years and who has agreed to stay on for a further five year term.
He was recently voted one of the world’s top bankers by Global Finance Magazine because “he intervened aggressively in the foreign currency market and thus guaranteed that the rising value of Israeli shekel would not harm the economy………he had succeeded in minimizing the impact of the global economic crisis on Israel and that his purchase of millions of dollars had bolstered exports.”
posted by David Davis at 8:46 AM
I want to make an important confession today - I was one of the first people to stop buying newspaper in Britain.
Some 10 yearss or more ago my monthly bill for every daily and Sunday newspaper topped £100. As a journalist and public relations consultant they were essential reading but reality didn't justify the cost. After I had jettisoned special sections, colour supplements, sales leaflets and money-off coupons, I was left with the actual newspapers. They mostly carried the same stories so one by one I reduced my order until left with the Financial Times and the Sunday Times.
Then suddenly I discovered the Internet and free reading of more newspapers and magazines I could possibly cover in a month of Sundays and brought to a swift end my newspaper buying days.
When the FT started to charge I contined to read the brief headlines but quickly discovered many alternative online sources of the same news and information.
That's going to be my strategy - and I sense that of millions of other readers of The Times and Sunday Times - when News International introduces charging for online access to these two important newspapers.
The charges are modest and I can understand the reasons why they are being introduced. It is a brave decision in an attempt to offset seriously falling sales and will be watched with close attention by competitors. The Murdoch empire has some genuine evidence to support its strategy with both the New York Times and Wall Street Journal racking up millions of online subscribers since charges were introduced but these are specialist financial newspapers which are paid for by companies and on expenses.
For me, I will not be going back to old habits.
posted by David Davis at 7:25 AM
Thursday, March 25, 2010
Went for a spin the other day in the latest vehicle soon to be seen on the streets of London. Not the newest hybrid motor car but the 'Rolls-Royce' of ambulances; customised to transport every type of high dependency patient from one weighing 30st to a newborn baby in an incubator, it is one of 20 being added to the 400 strong fleet of Medical Services, a leading independent provider of patient transport services to the NHS.
From 6 April the company will be launching an Intermediate Care Ambulance Transfer service for hospitals in central London, helping the London Ambulance Service cope with the increasing demand for responding to emegency calls.
I sat in the back during the journey to the QE11 Conference Centre where the ambulance made its public début. It was an exciting experience as we drove at a safe speed through the crowded rush hour morning traffic....thankfully, unlike all future passengers, I was able to step out on arrival at the conference centre.
posted by David Davis at 1:25 PM
Sunday, March 21, 2010
The recent presentation ceremony of bravery medals for British soldiers killed and injured in Afganistan was a poignant reminder of the nation’s cost of this conflict with the Taliban.
But the dignity of the occasion was scarred by the way that Christina Schmid had dolled herself up to accept the posthumous George Cross for her bomb disposal husband hero Olaf.
Her black off the shoulder number would have been more in place at a ritzy cocktail party than a military ceremony in honour of fallen heroes.
Today she is pictured wearing the same dress for an interview with the News of the World in which she complains about the £4,000 a year war widows pension she will receive.
For her next photocall may I suggest Mrs Schmid turns to an outfit more befitting her situation.
posted by David Davis at 7:01 AM
Friday, March 19, 2010
Today's forensic exposure by the Daily Mail of Tony Blair's mega million pound secret deals puts into the shade MPs' fiddling of their expenses and even the Lord Ashcroft tax scandal.
Pugh's cartoon says it all
posted by David Davis at 5:49 AM
At last Toyota has woken up to the fact that the best form of defence is attack.
The under-seige Japanese car giant has been slow and somewhat naive in its crisis management to date as reputation for safety has been attacked by media, lobby groups and politicians on both sides of the Atlantic.
Now the company's communications specialists have moved into second gear with its strongly worded demand for a public apology from ABC News for a badly stitched together television piece.
Toyota is a worthy company which makes fine and safe cars; its management has not handled the current situation as well as it should have done and it will pay heavily for its mistakes but I hope it will continue to fight back against lies and inuendoes from whatever the source.
posted by David Davis at 5:22 AM
Thursday, March 18, 2010
Most days for nearly the past four years I have driven up Stanmore Hill in North London and been stopped at the traffic lights at the corner of Common Road.
Until recently the lights acted normally allowing 6-8 vehicles to pass before they turned to red. Now I have noticed the lights change so quickly that there is barely enough time for 2 vehicles.
Local police nor the local authority was able to tell me what's happened to the lights and this made me wonder who's actually responsible for managing the lights. To summarise the answer is a combination of local authorities and the Highways Agency under the Highways Act.
Somewhere near me is a man sitting in front of a computer deciding how long I should be held up at the lights. If he is reading this post please speed up the lights just enough to let me get home just a little sooner.
PS: To really know how traffic lights are managed read this interesting BBC article.
posted by David Davis at 5:12 AM
Tuesday, March 16, 2010
If at the end of all the speeches you're still unsure as to which party gets your vote I suggest you check candidates' birth signs to select the one who makes you the most comfortable.
As a starter these are the Zodiac readings of the three main party leaders:
Gordon Brown born 20 February is a Piscean
Pisces is the mutable/water sign. Pisceans adapt emotionally to their environment. Often painfully shy, they are adept at imitating the mannerisms of other people in order to hide their own personalities. A Piscean can too easily become a victim by identifying with the personality and problems of other people, because this severely restricts the development of their own personality and talent.
David Cameron born 9 October is a Libran
Libra is the cardinal/air sign. Librans accomplish things because they intellectually evaluate what needs to be done, then they charm others into cooperating to achieve the goal. By unselfishly sharing the success of accomplishment with those who have assisted them, Librans nurture the cooperative efforts of others. They have to learn how to deal with confrontation. Their fear of hurting others and also of hostile situations can keep them from reaching their goals.
Nick Clegg born 7 January is a Capricorn
Capricorn is the cardinal/earth sign. Capricorns are natural goal setters. They willingly handle many tasks when it helps them get what they want. Many things are accomplished, because Capricorns always strive to reach higher goals. They need definitive guidelines. Rules and regulations provide the structure they need to establish their own behavioral patterns. They must learn, however, that the end never justifies the means.
posted by David Davis at 5:10 AM
Sunday, March 14, 2010
The Football Association has drawn up the game's first "10 commandments" for male and female footballers which it will hand down from its headquarters in Soho Square, London before the start of the World Cup in Africa:
1. Thou shall not covet for your own desires either in deeds or thoughts a relative or friend of any team colleague outside the transfer window;
2. Thou shall not utter a false insulting word more than 4 letters long while you are on the field of play;
3. Thou shall not drive in public any motor vehicle with a purchase price more than the cost of a normal family saloon;
4. Thou shall not accept an annual remuneration more than the amount awarded to the Prime Minister of the day;
5. Thou shall not use Twitter or any other social media network other than to praise the wisdom of the Football Association;
6. Thou shall not tatoo any public and/or private parts of your body;
7. Thou shall not enter the field of play unshaven except wearing a beard which has been licensed by the manager of your club;
8. Thou shall not listen to any popular and/or rap music whilst travelling to and from a match;
9. Thou shall not wear coloured boots, other than the regulatory black or brown;
10. Thou shall not leave the field of play at the end of the match without affectionately hugging the referee and all other officials.
posted by David Davis at 7:02 AM
Saturday, March 13, 2010
Forget about the leaders' television debates...important yes but just the same old stuff we hear at PMQs every Wednesday.
What about a television debate between the Leaders' Ladies...Sarah Brown, Samantha Cameron and Miriam Clegg... visually more appealing and certainly more interesting?
posted by David Davis at 8:57 AM
Friday, March 12, 2010
If our lawmakers have nothing else more constructive to do, they should look in the mirror and ask themselves: 'Is this really my contribution to a better life for the people of Britain in 2010?".
posted by David Davis at 6:10 PM
Thursday, March 11, 2010
For me last night's sparkling Manchester United's win over Milan was marred when David Beckham left the pitch at the final whistle wearing a green and yellow scarf to demonstrate his support for the 'hate Glazers' campaign.
He should mind his own business because the club's future ownership is nothing to do with him - or is it? Maybe he has joined the so-called Red Knights, a group of mega-millionaires who want to buy the club from the Glazer family who, in turn, have declared it is not for sale.
David, you're still a fine footballer so continue to ply your trade flitting between Italy and the USA but keep off the grass in Britain. You have every right to invest your money on whatever you want to do with it but what you did last night justified a red card.
posted by David Davis at 5:47 AM
Saturday, March 06, 2010
The Prime Minister must have returned to No 10 yesterday relieved and smiling after his appearance at the Chilcot inquiry into the Iraq war. He gave a bravura performance denying that he put the lives of British troops at risk by starving the military of equipment when he was Chancellor of the Exchequer, and then shamelessly he switched the blame on to the Generals. In today’s papers the Generals tell us their side of the story.
He was given an easy ride because the questioning was weak and not one member of the inquiry committee laid a glove on him; like many others I was left me wondering who are these five people appointed to investigate one of the most controversial political decisions in modern times.
They allowed g the PM to ramble on and on and I do not recall him giving a simple direct answer to any question, nor was he ever pressed to do so.
I have no doubt the committee members are fine, upstanding and honourable public servants but judge for yourselves if they are the right people to get to the truth judging by their qualifications:
Sir John Chilcot, Chairman. Currently independent Chairman of the Building and Civil Engineering Group, a not-for profit group set up in 1942 to deliver pensions, health and welfare and other benefits to 6,500 firms and almost a quarter of a million employees in the construction industry. He is also Chairman of the Police Foundation, an independent think-tank
Sir Lawrence Freeman. Professor of War Studies at King's College London since 1982. He was appointed Official Historian of the Falklands Campaign in 1997 and has written extensively on nuclear strategy and the cold war, as well as commentating regularly on contemporary security issues.
Sir Martin Gilbert. Taught history at Oxford for 10 years, is the Official Biographer of Sir Winston Churchill and has lectured widely on political and military history and international affairs.
Sir Roderic Lyne. A former diplomat, he is Deputy Chairman of the Royal Institute of International Affairs (Chatham House); a Governor of the Ditchley Foundation; a member of the Board of Governors of Kingston University; and a non-executive director of Peter Hambro Mining.
Baroness Prashar. Chairman of the Judicial Appointments Commission, a Governor of the Ditchley Foundation, a Trustee of Cumberland Lodge and President of the Royal Commonwealth Society.
posted by David Davis at 6:05 AM
Wednesday, March 03, 2010
Is Britain broken? Brown says no, Cameron says yes.
In reality both are right because like the curate’s egg our country is good in parts – but that doesn’t mean we should not try to repair the many parts that are broken.
Today’s newspapers that one of the killers of Jamie Bulger in 1993 was now back behind bars are being released on licence 10 years is a reminder, if we needed one, that there is a fundamental flaw in our way of life.
Hardly a day goes by without headlines of shocking crimes and animal like human behaviour…at the core are dysfunctional families broken by drugs, drink, unemployment, spiralling debt, and an overwhelming demise of family values and mutual respect for each other.
Over the past 10 or more years those who had nothing then are even worse off today while those who had everything today have more….the gap between rich and poor is getting wider by the day.
Where are the role models for our citizens of tomorrow? Wallowing on football pitches earning more in a week than most people take home in a lifetime and living a care-less life which ought to make most parents ashamed. Somehow it doesn’t and that’s the rub.
I can’t give you a solution but I do say that before we start to tackle the environment in the air we must begin to repair the broken bits of our society on the ground.
posted by David Davis at 8:58 AM
Tuesday, March 02, 2010
Curiosity got the better of me tonight and I decided to watch East Enders on BBC Television for the first time to find out what I had been missing for 25 years.
It took me 20 minutes to discover my loss was essentially a slide presentation of different room/street sets, opening and closing of doors, a variety of wobbling staircases, actors who weren't really acting, and in this particular episode a middle aged husband and wife who constantly passed a baby to one another as if it were a rugby ball and with more accuracy than an England XV.
I just cannot believe the show attracts 16 million plus viewers an episode. No matter how hard I tried, I just couldn't stop myself grimacing at virtually every line uttered. It was sheer torture but I did promise my wife a that I would watch it again on 2 March 2035 when this soap opera celebrates its 50th anniversary.
PS: I have never watched Coronation Street either and I have no intention of sampling it after my visit to Albert Square.
posted by David Davis at 8:16 PM
Sunday, February 28, 2010
The forthcoming General Election will celebrate the coming of age of the Internet in a political history.
Hundreds of websites are mushromming every day, each expressing a point of view while there are even more blogs from individuals from every walk of life, each with a point to make.
The parties have recruited their own blogging brigades and specialist writers to flood Twitter & Facebook with their messages - we have already experience cyber piracy of politicans as well as fake photos.
Maybe a future election will be fought online...wouldn't that be much more exciting.
Just to get the idea please vote for the party's website you like the most?
PPS: I have heard a rumour that the leaders' TV debates may not take place after all because there are continued wrangling over the format.
posted by David Davis at 7:32 PM
Saturday, February 27, 2010
I witnessed an amazing passenger transformation on a Jubilee Line tube train yesterday.
At Edgware Station a female who looked like she had been sleeping rough on the street sat down opposite me. As the train pulled off she rumbled in a Sainsburys orange plastic bag, pulled out a pouch from which she started to take a collection of different sized brushes, containers, plastic bottles and various implements - it was her travelling make-up kit.
Before the train stopped at Colindale she had cleaned her face with a liquid and by Hendon Central she had creamed and powerdered it. Next came a series of swift dabs of mascara and pencil markings around her eyes followed by a few minutes tweezer work on her eyebrows. Last was paintwork on her lips and as we pulled into Euston she had brushed her cropped hair and filed her nails.
The change was dramatic but she wasn't finished. From the same Sainsburys bag she took out a classy looking pair of glasses as well as a change of shoes and a jacket which she put on.
Suddenly the bag lady had become a smart looking business executive and as she got off the train at Angel I joined other passengers in clapping what was a truly remarkable artistic performance.
posted by David Davis at 7:48 AM
Friday, February 26, 2010
A financial genius I am not but there is something strange going on at the Royal Bank of Scotland which I and the rest of the nations' taxpayers own.
Yesterday RBS reported losses of £3.6bn of our money - but will Pay staff £2.9bn, making 100 of them millionaires.
Last night I heard the bank's chief executive Simon Hester (he's waived his mega bonus for 2009) try to justify on TV this payout which leaves me and most other taxpayers really angry. His sweet talk and City jargon just didn't wash; where was the Government's tough talk to cut the banks down to size.
As always, the banks like the bookies, never lose.
Stop Press: Lloyds Banking Group, another bailed out bank, has just announced a £6.3bn loss. The Chief Executive has waived £2.3bn bonus but other staff will pick up pretty hefty payouts.
posted by David Davis at 6:53 AM
Thursday, February 25, 2010
The Government has called it a management failure but no one has been held responsible and now the families are demanding a public inquiry to find out what happened to their relatives and who was to blame.
This is the worst ever NHS scandal and the Government must accept the families' demand so that they and the whole nation can find out the truth.
posted by David Davis at 6:54 AM
Wednesday, February 24, 2010
Long gone are the days when you shopped at your local supermarket.
Today, thanks to the credit crunch, you don't have a favourite supermarket and instead you go on a shopping expedition armed with list planned with military precision.
Yesterday Beryl took me on her 'best value for money' tour as official basket pusher and this was the schedule:
- Marks & Spencer, Brent Cross - Fruit
- Morrisons, Hatch End - Fish
- Sainsburys, Stanmore - Meat
- Lidl, Stanmore - own brand detergents, canned fish & vegetables
- Waitrose, Harrow - Meat, fresh vegetables, all other Essentials
- Flacks, Bushey Heath - Eggs, smoked salmon
- Time of tour from start to finish - 2 hours 45 minutes (including stops for coffee & a natural break)
- Mileage - 13 miles
- Cost of petrol - £5 (estimated)
- Verdict - We didn't save any money but an experience in witnessing the change in shopping patterns in 2010. Recommended for all husbands and partners.
posted by David Davis at 3:23 AM
Tuesday, February 23, 2010
I am not denigrating the skills of the actors and the seemingly endless people who make films when I say it is about time that the organisers of the BAFTA Awards Ceremony re-think the way it is presented to television viewers (and possibly even those in the black-tie live audience).
The other night’s TV event was more boring than usual and I decided to turn in for the night well before they got to the main awards.
I simply had my fill of listening to the unfunny jokes of Jonathan Ross which left the audience in silence; watching presenters peering into the beyond to read mush off an autocue followed by a procession after procession of giggling and apparently embarrassed individuals thanking everyone in sight.
Surely the creative might of Britain’s film and TV industry can come up with a new fresh and exciting format….how about using avatars?
posted by David Davis at 2:46 AM
Sunday, February 21, 2010
I wonder if we haven't seen today a moment in political history which spells the end of Gordon Brown's reign as Prime Minister.
If the claims of his mistreatment of staff made by Andrew Rawnsley in his book "The End of the Party" do not inflict the lethal wound, then the later claims made to the BBC by the Chief Executive of the National Bullying Helpline that some of Brown's staff had called them, might well do the trick.
This story of Brown's periods of what Rawnsley has described as "volcanic eruptions" has been around for a number of years and has the ring of truth; it would not be a surprise if more allegations don't come to light.
The No 10 PR machine has already made one major error - getting Brown to deny on television that he had never hit anyone, a claim that has NEVER been made. The strategy was designed to enable him to avoid answering the claims that were made and in the days ahead his advisers will have to act with care and due diligence to avoid any further mistakes.
Whether in the final analysis Brown's tempestuous personality will have a decisive impact on the result of the upcoming General Election is yet to be seen but even if the unlikely happens and Labour win, the likelihood of him staying in his job is unlikely.
posted by David Davis at 6:31 PM
The Sunday Telegraph reports today that the man convicted of the Lockerbie is living in a luxury villa in Libya six months after he was released from prison with three months to live.
The longer he lives the more the family of the 247 victims will hurt and suspect that his release was part of a political deal
posted by David Davis at 4:00 AM
Saturday, February 20, 2010
Went to my dentist yesterday to fix a damaged filling. It took him less than 20 minutes and I left with a frozen face and a bill for £120, the equivalent of £6 a minute.
The feeling in my face quickly returned but I am still suffering after shock at the size of the bill.
Apparently it is the norm for a private dentist so I checked if next time I could be treated as a NHS patient. 'Sorry' said the practice administrator 'your dentist cannot take any more NHS patients'.
She offered me the NHS service of another dentist in the practice and when I inquired about his experience and credentials she said: 'Oh, he's just as good as your own private dentist'.
What's it all about, I am now asking myself. Seems the only difference is who foots the bill - me or all taxpayers.
posted by David Davis at 9:45 AM
Thursday, February 18, 2010
Dear Gordon & David
My wife and I are two of Britain's older generation over whom you and your parties are publicly squabbling to prove who will look after us best when we are no longer able to look after ourselves.
It is heart warming that our plight is uppermost in your minds at a time when you must have so many other issues in your daily thoughts. But turning us into a political football to benefit your own general election is not the smartest thing you can do.
Please immediately stop all the public in-fighting over your ideas for a new funding system for social care; instead in your printed election manifestoes put forward a clear and irrefutable proposal with a committed timetable of implementation.
We can read and will give you our answer at the ballot box.
David & Beryl Davis
posted by David Davis at 6:30 AM
Wednesday, February 17, 2010
Travel anywhere nowadays and it seems everyone is carrying a bag...any type any style from a plastic bag wrapped around something to eat to a black one with a computer inside. So far I don't have any problem with these bag people nor with those females and their bulging shoulder bags in which they transport their make-up kits and a change of clothes for an after work night out.
My bitch are those bags which are carried on the back and designed as 'walking wardrobes'. They become offensive weapons when taken on board crowded tube trains during rush hours. Yesterday on a packed Jubilee Line train I witnessed an innocent passenger being knocked to the floor by a back packer who swung suddenly around; more people were endangered as he then struggled to remove the bag from his back.
Fortunately no serious harm was done but it would have been much safer if Transport for London enforced a 'no back packing on board during rush hour' rule; at the same time it could enclose suitcases on wheels which are just as dangerous in the hands of a learner puller.
posted by David Davis at 6:11 AM
Tuesday, February 16, 2010
I first met Richard Sambrook many years ago when he was head of news at the BBC and I was President, International of Medialink, then major provider of video news releases for television.
Richard had sent out an edict to BBC journalists that they must never use any VNR footage in broadcasts because they breached the BBC's policy of independence. It was pretty alarming for, if carried out, our business would have been terminally harmed.
He agreed to discuss the situation over tea at the Langham Hotel opposite Broadcasting House in London. In what became quickly clear Richard was a PR man at heart when he explained his edict was designed to satisfy the critics of VNRs inside the BBC and also put the official policy in the public domain; however he knew his journalists would not follow it to the last letter if they VNR content was highly newsworthy and they couldn't get it from anywhere else.
New media technology has changed all the rules completely and what was then forbidden by broadcasters is today coveted to get the stories out to the widest audience as quickly as possible.
Richard has been in the forefront of this revolution and he has now taken the ultimate step by switching from journalism to PR and by a strange coincidence he has agreed to join Edelman, my old firm where I spent 24 years, ending up as vice chairman of the worldwide organistion.
Congratulations to Richard who could not be joining a better company and to Edelman for a real hiring coup.
posted by David Davis at 2:55 AM
Monday, February 15, 2010
The papers re full of pictures of Mr and Mrs John Terry kissing and cuddling in the Dubai sun to prove that they are still in love after his indiscretions and British troops surging across the sand in Afganistan in the latest effort to rid the country of the Taliban.
In their own different ways both are worthy causes but lets be honest in any other circumstances thay are what the media would deride as 'just PR stunts".
JT is a scoundrel and if he wasn't a fine footballer and ex captain of England his behaviour wouldn't have seen the light of day; yet we are treated to near X-rated photographs of him and his missus taken by the world's press who happened to be passing by and his PR agent Jon Hall denying that it is not a set up for the media. Hall is the former editor of the News of the World which happened to publish the best pictures.
Operation Moshtarak is in a different league of PR stunts. Soldiers and civilians are already getting killed to win, according to the Ministry of Defence, the hearts, minds and trust of the locals living in a strategically important Taliban stronghold. The MoD is putting on a major PR offensive, including a specially assigned frontline unit to feed Twitter, to report how well our troops are doing - no where have I seen the fact tht the Taliban had already vanished into the mountains, waiting to return when the NATO forces have gone.
I am not seeking to defend PR stunts but simply pointing out that they have become a staple social and political tactic in the 21st century.
posted by David Davis at 6:10 AM
Sunday, February 14, 2010
Went shopping yesterday with Beryl and one of the items on our list was a cleaner for our granite kitchen work top.
We were shown a range of different cleaning kits selling at £20.50p each but to our surprise the shop owner said: "Don't both to buy any of them...just use a sponge and hot".
We left £20.50p richer which made me think. Back home I discovered under our kitchen sink and in a bathroom cupboard 14 sprays, squeezy plastic bottles, and aerosols each claiming to clean virtually every different surface in our home....there were even multi-purpose products
Maybe, I wondered, why we needed so many products when one, possibly do, would do. Unsurprisingly Beryl argued that each was specially formulated for a specific task but she promised to experiment by not replacing empty containers.
The question now: Will she beat the slick marketers of SC Johnson, manufacturers of most of the cleaning products used in every room in British homes. Their brand names dominate supermarket shelves and are known to most of us.
The company started out with one product in 1886, a wax for cleaning wood floors. Today it sells hundreds in 70 countries across the globe, employs 12,000 people and generates revenues of around $7.5 billion.
The company's website is a masterpiece of online information listing, among other nuggets, the names and formulations of every product.
Alas there is one pertinent fact missing - annual profit. As a privately owned company, SC Johnson has never revealed this information which suggests to me that it is a pretty big number.
To be fair, SC Johnson has a glowing reputation as a great employer, with strong environmental policies and generous donor to charities of 5% of its profits.
That still leaves 95% for the family shareholders of SC Johnson.
posted by David Davis at 8:10 AM