"First the good news," said our head of regeneration. "I have just heard that Bwillmuzchyskie Andripzov are to build the new Regional IT Centre in Bogcaster". "If that's the good news, I can only assume the bad involves mass species exterminations, my own imminent demise and the relegation of Wolverhampton Wanders to League 1 of the Championship," I responded.
In fact it was worse than that. In order to secure the deal to bring 15-20 call centre jobs to the science park, Bogcaster City Council has signed a strategic partnership deal with Regional IT Centres, a "government supported" company trading with local government.
A Companies House check on our new partner reveals it has yet to file any accounts. However, the list of directors is interesting. They include a disgraced former IT manager, a thoroughly disliked IT management pundit, and no fewer than three refugees from recently wound-up government bodies.
Jonathan, our new partner liaison officer from Regit, came visiting. He made an appointment for 2pm - not a good start. I ate in the canteen. Returning at 1.55pm, I nodded to him as he sat in reception. The Times Suduko was particularly difficult today, so it was nearly 3pm before I was able to see him.
He started pleasantly enough, but then the demands started. Can he meet with my senior staff? Answer, "They are very busy, maybe the second week of November?" Can he have an office? Answer, "Certainly, I will get Mavis to arrange that." Can he have a pass? Answer, "Certainly, as soon as we have completed the security clearance. Just hand your birth certificate, NHS registration card, last six years of bank statements, full set of school reports, dental record card and blood and urine samples to Mavis on the way out."
Mavis has found an office for Jonathan. It is at our local office in the centre of the Old Forest housing estate. In terms of comparative social development, Old Forest makes East Manchester look like Richmond upon Thames. Local people have been know to emigrate to Sierra Leone in search of a safer environment and better job opportunities. The life expectancy of someone called Jonathan, wearing a suit and driving a new Mondeo with a full year's road tax clearly displayed, ought to be measured in minutes, if not seconds.
Department closed for St Patrick's day. None of us are Irish, but we do like Guinness.