Iain Cameron's Diary
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2005-04-06 - 12:32 a.m.

Weather much worse today here in the West Midlands as I went to the supermarket after work. Mushrooms and claret with Staffordshire pancakes.

I have to go to Longbridge on Wednesday - I worked out how to get there by rail via Birmingham New St. This is the home of Rover and there is some dramatic news about the company today - a former female colleague has ruled that the public money loan should not be made. This looks like a trick to make sure that the of official advice is over-ruled by Ministers - which they have to do with the election looming and so many marginal constituencies in this area. The colleague joined the dept the same year as me and emerged as the most successful of that entry - but she is resigning after the election. I can see why. This is the Sun’s account of the situation:

‘TRADE Secretary Patricia Hewitt was caught up in a cash-for-cars row last night.

She has offered a £100million loan to stop the collapse of MG Rover — and save 6,000 jobs. But her top civil servant is REFUSING to back the deal.

Ms Hewitt will now have to override the concerns of Catherine Bell, Acting Permanent Secretary in her department. An official said: “Bell has made her views clear to the Secretary of State. “The decision to do the loan is a political one — the economic arguments don’t stack up.”

The cash would be to keep MG Rover going for six months — as Chinese giant Shanghai Automotive Industry Corporation negotiates a takeover. But the deal has been dealt a further blow with a report from accountants Ernst & Young suggesting MG Rover’s parent company is technically bust. The £200million deal depends on the company — Phoenix Venture Holdings — being solvent.’

Surprised to find myself talking to Mark about the intellectual origins of the Cambridge English faculty.

My sister has been appointed as librarian for the Stationers Guild in the City - the archive is in fact more interesting than the library. The archive goes back to the 16th century and records all the interesting volumes the library was given when it was the national library of record. They got rid of most of the books - like the Shakespeare early editions.

Exchanging ideas with Steve for the show we are doing in a week’s time. He is Sandhurst this week. Talking of which I saw Laurence’s mate Chris on UKTV History at the weekend talking about killing - as far as I know this is the only person I have met who is equipped so to do.

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