Sunning myself on the Croisette as thoughts turn back to Dear Old Blighty

England beckons...... Last day at MAPIC and a quick whirl around the Palais to scoop up any last minute bits of gossip or goodie bags.

I am rather notorious for being something of a cheapskate on the freebie front.

Indeed for a couple of years in the aftermath of the last recession (when ‘imself was out of work and I was barely hanging on in there) I did the kids’ Christmas stockings out of nick-nacks picked up at MIPIM (and kept under my bed for the rest of the year).

I had a veritable gang of folk who would liberate three of everything from obscure Eastern European stands for me. Some of it was quite good kit! Indeed, some of it we’ve still got!

And – at least at the time – the kids never complained about Crest Nicholson jigsaws or Hammerson stress balls, although of course in recent years the kidult has been darkly threatening to retrospectively report me to the NSPCC for parenting-under-false- pretences.

She can’t have it both ways, say I in retaliation: she’s still doing a roaring trade in a job lot of USB sticks from a certain local authority, who will remain nameless!

It is blazing sunshine here today on the Croisette, and the sea is the most vivid blue. And it’s warm enough to sit out in shirt sleeves. (I tell you this because I’ve just spoken to me old mum and she tells me it’s been cold in London.)

Of course, we are all attempting to digest the implications of the Director General appointments at CLG; Bob Kerslake said he’d have his direct reports sorted by the end of November and he is already ahead of himself here, and with the minimum of fuss, which is to be hugely applauded.

My congratulations to Messrs McCarthy and Prout. He (Bob) also said he’d have the next level (the directors) pared back from 21 to 15 by Christmas, and let’s hope he can press on with the same resolve with which he has started. We need a settled team to support the rebuilding of things.

I was delighted to learn also (although clearly I’m well behind the curve on this – I’ve been dozing at the back) that David Cameron has seen, at least partial, sense on the “vanity staff” appointments I was railing about. Credit to anyone who admits they’re in the wrong. And who cares if the message managers attempt to sneak out the release under cover (they’re only doing their jobs after all).

To make myself clear: I’m not na├»ve enough not to understand that all premiers need teams of such people in a media age, I just believe that the structuring of it was so utterly crass at a time when (like many of the CLG civil servants) people face the chasm of unemployment and few or no options or choices.

It’s a shame he didn’t deal with all five of the individuals concerned, but I guess it was a start. There is more pleasure in heaven at one sinner who repenteth etc etc….

What troubled me about the episode was that it smacked of double standards. Let’s get the same rules firmly established for everyone - at this time (of all times) the government needs to be seen to be playing fair.

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