It is an understatement to report that my audience, predominantly bottom-up localist types of course, warmed to this considerably. Much to the disappointment of the gossips in the audience (ie, all of them), and perhaps predictably, no mention was made of Andrew Altman's decision that he will leave after the London 2012 Olympic Games this August. But you get the serious impression that there is a new broom sweeping.
Localism is certainly building momentum in east London. And it was a relief then that at the ResPublica breakfast with Eric Pickles the very next day, that there was further serious indication that such activity would be welcomed and nurtured. Mr Pickles is a formidably bright man and it was illuminating to listen to him speak of this genuine devolution of power, this extraordinary experiment in public policy.
Apologies to Ted Jeory and others, but I did not get the chance to ask Mr Pickles about Exemplar's Fruit and Wool Exchange, as I teased yesterday (although I did make some pointed remarks about the woeful shortcoming s to be found in both the private and the public sector, the breakdown in trust and the need to find new ways of working). But we had a great discussion. "Intermediate trust platforms" comprised of local investors are the order of the day; a theme already picked up by the UKR/Estates Gazette Regeneration Commission of course, and I look forward to doing more work on this front with ResPublica and others.
But I need not have troubled Mr Pickles with mattes of Fruit and Wool (and, the bigger question of course: whither localism when your local authority is as mad as a box of frogs?) as on leaving the event I received a number of texts and tweets informing me that Boris has intervened at Tower Hamlets on the Exemplar scheme. Well hallelujah for that! Sense has prevailed, and not before time. Wyn Evans asked whether this meant that Boris will be intervening more on planning matters now that he has settled into his second term and we watch with interest.
Talking of tweets (which I wasn't really) you may know that, much to the amusement of the regeneration community, Grant Shapps's Twitter account got hacked yesterday. Whoever managed it started tweeting in Spanish. At least one was about chocolate. He's deleted them now, but through the magic of top journalism you can see them here, although you can't really enjoy them properly unless you speak the lingo.
So we have obtained translations of some of the better ones: "Joy is very important in life and enjoy it if you like" and "Those who worship statues that are filled with grief and blush, as you boast of their idols." And (my personal favourite) "It's amazing how someone can break your heart, and yet still loving with each of the bits".
One east London wag said when he heard about this "I'm off to hack Eric Pickles account and approve a few large schemes". Which would suggest that Exemplar could have a fully detailed consent for the Fruit and Wool Exchange by this very evening. This would indeed be a turnaround in fortunes for Clive and Dan, "still loving with each of the bits".