Business Diary: Michael Gove gets educated on PFI
Friday 29 July 2011
A wonderfully malicious piece of gossip doing the rounds at Westminster. Word is that Education Secretary Michael Gove's decision to reintroduce the private finance initiative so as to fund £2bn of schools came about because he finally understood how the system worked. Gove had been so anti-PFI because he thought that the private company took ownership of the school after its 25- to 35-year contract had ended. So it's a Diary dunce's hat for the Rick Moranis lookalike.
That sponsorship money's worth it
Still at Westminster, with the Olympics countdown now in full swing, there is disappointment for the US conglomerate General Electric, which is spending millions as an official sponsor of the Games, partly for the access to the rich and powerful that the event provides. The pollster Populus has been studying which brands have been able to associate themselves with the event in the minds of MPs, and it's bad news. Just 6 per cent of our parliamentarians identified GE as a sponsor. On the other hand, almost a third picked Nike as a sponsor, when it is no such thing. Makes you think these MPs are just making stuff up.
New newspaper boss tickled pink
"I am gay to make known Ashley's appointment," Johnston Press chairman Ian Russell apparently says in the newspaper group's press release announcing Ashley Highfield as chief executive. Er, come again? A Dow Jones Newswires story that clearly went through the wringer of Google Translate a couple too many times became a hilarious hit on Twitter last night. The "informal journal publishing house" has made Mr Highfield an "arch executive", we are told. The story so tickled the new boss that he retweeted it.
Road rage breaks out over Virgin
Good to see the behind-the-hands briefing war between the nation's telecoms companies breaking into the open. Spin doctors who gleefully point out the bad numbers in each other's subscriber figures usually stay in the shadows, but The Sun quoted a BT insider, saying "the Ferrari's out of first gear, it's now in reverse", referring to its self-proclaimed Ferrari broadband. Will Virgin respond? Time to check the BT vans for slashed tyres.
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