Not sure what the parallels are between the garments trade and Whitehall – but I guess we’ll soon find out. Less easy to outsource mandarins to low-cost factories in the Far East.
By the by, Sir Philip is to austerity what his friend Simon Cowell is to self-doubt. For his 50th birthday the retail tycoon invited 200 friends to a three-day toga party in Cyprus, entertained by Tom Jones and Rod Stewart. He also owns a solid gold Monopoly set, a gift from his wife.
Given the stringent security measures planned for Tony Blair’s book launch, there is some concern building over access to other big upcoming political events. Profile Books have kindly sent out a note to ensure there’s no confusion over Chris Mullin’s launch. We always applaud irony.
Following a number of enquiries Profile Books announce that those attending Chris Mullin’s events this autumn will be permitted to bring cameras and mobile phones with them. Wristbands will not be required. No special security has been arranged.
An eagle-eyed reader points out that there are quite a few receptions at several luxury hotels enjoyed by DCLG staff, and not only the one picked out by Paul Waugh earlier.
CLG EVENTS ORGANISATION THISTLE HOTELS 5,077.90
CLG EVENTS ORGANISATION TATE GALLERY RESTAURANT 3,760.00
CLG EVENTS ORGANISATION WALDORF HILTON 5,145.00
CLG EVENTS ORGANISATION ST MARTINS LANE HOTEL 1,440.00
CLG EVENTS ORGANISATION RUMMER HOTEL 1,276.86
CLG EVENTS ORGANISATION RUBENS AT THE PALACE HOTEL 16,959.61
CLG EVENTS ORGANISATION ROYAL HORSEGUARDS HOTEL 1,967.50
CLG EVENTS ORGANISATION RADISSON HOTELS 2,003.62
CLG EVENTS ORGANISATION PARK PLAZA HOTELS 8,851.70
CLG EVENTS ORGANISATION JURYS HOTELS 4,191.85
CLG EVENTS ORGANISATION HYATT REGENCY HOTELS 5,844.33
CLG EVENTS ORGANISATION GROSVENOR VICTORIA HOTEL LTD 7,829.10
CLG EVENTS ORGANISATION GRANGE WELLINGTON HOTEL 4,428.50
CLG EVENTS ORGANISATION CROWNE PLAZA HOTELS 2,348.75
It turns out that the Audit Commission spent £8,000 at the Newmarket Races. (The AC are the body which make sure that councils are spending money wisely).
If there’s a rational explanatation I’ll make sure to update this later.
The results of Eric Pickles’ austerity drive at the communities department are laid bare today: any spending over £500 is being published.
Pickles says that the receipts are evidence of ministers and officials “going on a spending spree with other’s people’s money” on the nation’s credit card.
Ken Follett, author of Eye of the Needle and Pillars of the Earth, has given the ailing Ed Balls campaign £100,000. Mr Follett – whose wife is Barbara Follett, former Labour MP (1997-2010) – is one of Labour’s more loyal supporters in the arts world.
His next book, incidentally, is called Fall of Giants.
Labour is in something of a dilemma about how to deal with the Lib Dems. On the one hand, it is an easy attack to claim they betrayed their voters by doing a deal with the Tories and to portray the party as patsies for the real party of government. After all, some of their own have said the same thing.
But Ed Balls, among others, has warned the party not to get sidetracked by attacking Lib Dems and moving the focus away from the Tories. And party leaders have realised that a Lib Dem collapse in the next election just makes a Tory majority more likely.
That dichotomy is summed up in Labour’s attitude to Vince Cable in particular. Adrian Bailey has told me he regards it as part of his role as chairman of the business select committee to “reinforce” Cable, especially in his attitude to manufacturing. He says he thinks Cable is being undermined by other departments and worries that the Tories are not showing him enough political support.
In David Cameron’s speech about tourism this morning – at the Serpentine Gallery – he lets slip that he has been swimming in the North Sea during the spring. Without a wetsuit.
Or the “Mediterranean” coastline that Gwyneth Paltrow was washed up on at the end of Shakespeare in Love which was actually Holkham beach in Norfolk where I went swimming one April