Down The Procurement Pub with LUPC, Consultants, Lady Aurelia and Let’s Eat Grandma

Here is another scene from the LUPC/SUPC university procurement customer conference event this week, with Gerald Dickens, the great author’s great-great grandson, performing at the after-event reception.

OK, it’s not a pub, I admit, but I did have a glass in hand when I took this. He was brilliant, by the way.

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We’ve had another week when it is hard to get into any sort of light-hearted spirit really, or to care too much about football, with the massacre in Florida, Donald Trump’s response to it, the tragic and senseless death of Jo Cox, and the increasing vitriol of the EU referendum campaign in the UK. We’re still sitting on the fence on that, but have we ever previously seen a Chancellor blackmailing his own citizens, as George Osborne did this week? Threatening tax rises and goodness knows what if we have the temerity to vote Brexit - quite extraordinary. The economic hit he feels Brexit would cause, and would drive the need for an emergency budget, is half the annual amount by which he has missed his own deficit reduction plans, by the way. So the question is why he has not taken all these drastic measures already, given borrowings last year and this year are each £50 billion above his forecast from 2010?

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The UK central government spend on consultants has gone up for the second year in a row, reports Civil Service World. The figures from the Management Consultancies Association show another year-on-year rise in public sector consultancy spending – but totals remain well below 2009 peak. Last year, the total was £1.123bn, just marginally up from £1.109bn in 2014 and £1.107bn in 2013. However, the total 2015 spend on consultants remains well below its 2009 peak, where spending stood at £1.803bn before Francis Maude imposed controls after the 2010 election, and I decided Spend Matters might be a better bet than government consulting …

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Anyway, for a little bit of a lift perhaps in depressing times, we would argue the most impressive sporting achievement this week was not even human. Even if you aren’t a horse-racing fan, and I’m not really, the performance by the two-year-old US bred filly Lady Aurelia was quite extraordinary. This is a top-class field she was up against at Ascot on Wednesday, but in a short (five furlong) race, I’m not sure I have ever seen a horse suddenly make all the others look like they have stopped in their tracks. Wow! Incredible acceleration and speed – never mind drugs testing, can they check she doesn’t have rockets in her hooves?

You can watch it here on the Racing UK website.

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Our musical choice this week is two very interesting seventeen-year-old girls, called Let’s Eat Grandma. They are habitually described as “almost twins” because they both have very long brown hair – and let’s face it, that is enough for most men to consider them pretty much identical. They are talented musicians and songwriters, their debut album came out this week, and here is one of a number of weird and generally rather wonderful tracks. “Are they Icelandic?” said my wife, hating the vocals but probably spotting the Bjork influence.

Almost, I said. They’re from Norwich. Big street cred points if you mention them to your teenage kids, I suspect.

 

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