The train now waiting ... is just the right place
You know that feeling of euphoria when you just happen to be in the right place at the right time?
Well it happened to Birmingham businessman Peter Wall the other day.
There he was on the 4.43 from Euston heading back to God’s Kingdom from the capital where he had been at a CBI meeting debating concerns to raise with the Government … when who should he find at his side waiting to get off at New Street but Business Secretary Lord Mandelson.
And while they are stuck in the tunnel for ten minutes holding for the train to be allocated a platform there was an opportunity to broach the issues directly.
How fortuitous was that?
So Peter pinned him on the possibility of short time working subsidies, though failing to win any promises.
And he explained how the recession was impinging on his own firm, WG Eaton, a specialist in heat resistant and thermal insulation products.
It has a turnover of £750,000 and employs 14 but, he told Lord Mandelson, was operating way below capacity in line with the general suffering of the manufacturing sector.
“Seeing him on the train, I just introduced myself,” said Peter. “He asked how I was finding business and I was able to go through a list of key issues.
“I did say that I considered the short time working subsidy scheme was vital – it would keep people both in employment and off the unemployment register. However, he seemed to feel it was very ‘open ended’ and would be difficult to control.”
Anyway it turns out that Lord Mandelson is speaking that night at a political dinner being held at the Hawthorns, home of West Bromwich Albion.
What was the best way to get there?
Well, of course, Baggies fanatic Peter was just the man to ask.
“He did say his team was Hartlepool United – poor West Brom might be playing them next season!”
And Peter noted: “The next time Mandelson was approached by a member of the public, he got a face full of green custard!”
We’re so much more polite in the Midlands.
Best wishes to Jo Geary, this paper’s internet nerd, on her move to The Times.
She’s going to be living on a barge moored somewhere between Canary Wharf and Billingsgate fish market.
You have to have your key on a cork in case you drop it in the Thames.
Hope she isn’t prone to oversleeping otherwise her nickname is going to be Jo “Kipper” Geary.