Saturday, November 29, 2008

Viva Bob!

What a great speech by Sir Bob Geldof this afternoon before he turned on the Margate Christmas lights. He didn't pull any punches with his remarks and it was both funny and entertaining at the same time.

All in all the whole event went very well I thought. Well attended with no howling wind and a mild afternoon temperature, the crowd included, I found myself standing next to Gazette columnist Jane Wenham Jones and 'Rock Doc', councillor Alasdair Bruce. In fact, Alasdair and I were both supposed to be somewhere else today and managed to get back to Margate in time for the grand switching on of the lights. These duly came on when Sir Bob squeezed the "six inch knob" that was handed to him - his joke not mine I should add - and whether this was the most exciting part of his evening, as he left rapidly for Heathrow, we'll never know!

As I left, the musical entertainment was in full swing on the piazza and twenty or more Honda Gold Wing motorcycles were lined-up on the harbour arm flashing their lights.

All credit I think to the Margate Charter Trustees and the Mayor's office for putting-on such a good show. At a difficult time there was a noticeably warm and enthusiastic spirit from everyone gathered around the piazza and the open-top bus for the ceremony.

On a more sombre note, to illustrate how tough it's getting out there in the economy, two good friends of mine both lost their jobs this week. They join thousands more workers around the country faced with the worst possible news before Christmas but in this case, what's so unusual, is that they are both UK directors of one of the world's best-known US computer software companies. Not the type of persons - both highly qualified - that you might expect to be made suddenly redundant and illustrative of the bloodbath that is presently sweeping the IT industry as companies suddenly see huge orders cancelled.

The knock-on effect of all this will only start to be seen, I estimate in about March. It's a slow train-crash we are seeing now and if the Government's emergency financial measures, announced last week, don't have an immediate effect over the Christmas shopping period, then we'll see the supply chain impact in about three months. As an example, the business of another person I know has become a sudden casualty of one of the two high profile retail chains that collapsed last week. He's owed, I understand, close to £750,000.

It all rather explains why it's rumoured that the Chinese plan to buy huge amount of gold bullion as an insurance against any further financial meltdown Of course, we can't buy anything significant in this country, firstly because as a nation we are only one-step above selling 'The Big Issue' outside Somerfield and secondly because our Prime Minister, the fiscally prudent Gordon Brown, sold-off most of our gold at a baragain price, soon after becoming Chancellor.

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