Thursday, 29 January 2009

See You in Court

I am following the High Court hearings against Christine Laird, Cheltenham's former Chief Executive, with great interest. Ms Laird is being sued by her former employers for £750,000. Cheltenham claims she falsified her CV in order to get the job - some people in County Hall Taunton have muttered darkly about my qualifications too, but as anyone at the Universities of Kent and Liverpool will avow my Masters degrees are totally correct. And Plymouth University will confirm I am still a familiar face among the qualified expert staff there. In Cheltenham, however, the council is also angry at the amount of time Ms Laird took off (on full pay of course) when relationships between her and the council's ruling Liberal Democrats reached a low ebb. In fact Ms Laird was brave enough to report more than a score of allegations against the Council leader to the Standards Board. It takes true grit for a Chief Executive to face up to a politician and I should know. Stress is a real and enduring condition for we men and women at the top. It deserves proper recompense. I am therefore throwing my weight behind the raven-haired Ms Laird. I believe that Chief Executives forced out of office by small minded politicians deserve every penny they can extract. Good on her and she is welcome on my team at any stage. I have already consulted her on the advisability of Cheltenham joining the super soaraway success story that is SouthWest One. Fingers crossed!

Thursday, 22 January 2009

The legacy of Nicholas Chauvin

There are several important things to remember about Napoleon. He was diminutive but had huge ambitions and a libido to match. Those who liken me to the great emperor are flatterers. He also went bald when young. But in the practise of warfare it was one of his officers who surpassed him - Nicholas Chauvin. Chauvin was so devoted to his country that he may have damaged Napoleon's chances of victory. This was the point I was trying to make in my comments to the Local Government Chronicle last week. I referred to the "instituional chauvinists" of Devon and Cornwall who have, so foolishly, chosen to reject the growing empire of SouthWest One on the grounds of seeking to keep local jobs for local people. What blinkered fools they are. Just like the institutional terrorists who lurk within our great organisations. In this new year I intend to campaign against all these accursed "ists" - the psychiatrists, protagonists, pragmatists, reflexologists, therapists, timpanists, materialists, sentimentalists, dermatologists and institutionalists. You have been warned.