Cruickshank's PR offensive

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An open letter from Don Cruickshank, director-general of telecommunications, to whom it may concern: "As some of you may have heard, I've decided to quit Oftel when my contract comes up for renewal next April, by which time I will have spent five gruelling years before the mast. I know it seems a bit of cheek to call a fully fledged press conference to announce this, but these things can easily be misinterpreted, and given that I'm going to be looking for jobs in both the private and public sector shortly, I don't want any of that. There's no row here, no snub from the new Government. I wouldn't even get that upset if ministers were to turn down my grand plan for subsuming most of the Independent Television Commission within my own regulatory empire (though they would be stupid to do so).

No, I'm going because I've done all I want to. Economic regulation of telecommunications will soon be a thing of the past and Oftel will become wholly a competition authority.

This is a considerable achievement in which, I would like to think, I played a not inconsiderable part. Regrets, I've had a few, but then again too few to mention. There's only been one failing since I've been here, and that was the Government's refusal to reverse the burden of proof on regulatory issues, so that British Telecom would have to demonstrate it was not behaving in an anti competitive way, rather than me having to show that it was before I could do anything. I thought this lot might have been a bit more sympathetic to my approach, but it doesn't seem they are. Instead they talk about forming a "partnership" with BT and other business monopolies. Silly really.

But honest, I haven't fallen out with them. I'm a Blairish type of bloke really and I'd really like to help him out if I could. Which brings me onto more important matters. Under the rules, Nolan or whatever, I'm not allowed actively to start looking for a job until I've gone, and I'm not at all sure I can do anything connected with telecoms even after that. That's why I'm giving good notice of my departure - so that all you head hunters out there are aware that come next April I'm on the market. Not that I can instruct you of course, but if you were to start looking for me, remotely as it were, I would find that most helpful. As would my fellow regulators. Stephen, at Offer, will definitely be on the market shortly. Clare and Ian, at Ofgas and Ofwat, will probably be moving on as well. We've fought our battles, served our time, and we'd all rather like a fresh challenge, you see. Offers in writing only please.

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