Wednesday, June 27, 2007

'Don't let her go Gordon!!!'

Where she belongs- in Southampton!!!

'Save the QE2 for Southampton!' ask the petitions on the Downing Street website - I'm sure that was the first thing Gordon was pouring over after being briefed on how to 'push the button' by Defence Chiefs! -Incidently, one of the petitions was instituted by Bedford Conservative Councillor and regular QE2 passanger Andrew McConnell
As The Telgraph reported, the plan was for the flagship of Britain's merchant marine to become a floating hotel off the coast of Dubai. However there is a bit of a backlash developing centred around Cunard's failure to consult and have any sort of bidding process or auction of the great liner. Further, it now seems that the ship will be sold as a going concern with the unique collection of art, models, silver and Cunard memorabilia being included in the sale.
It now seems that a collection of Hampshire businessmen want transform the ship into a major tourist attraction, conference centre and hotel on Southampton's waterfront. I wish them well but they are going to need a lot of expertise. Really I would of thought a partner with huge experience of running visitor attractions such as Tussaurds or an operator with huge hotel and banqueting experience such as Marriott or Radisons, (not to mention financial muscle) is required.
As usual the hapless John Denham got the wrong end of the stick when he tried to jump on the band waggon. He suggested the City Council, now run by the Conservatives for little over a month, had missed the trick by not securing the great liner. Well some back of the fag packet sums reveal that to raise £50million, council tax would have to increase by about 71% - that is £800 extra for a band C council taxpayer !!! Why he thinks this is an appropriate use of public money is beyond me, even if it was politically acceptable!!!
What the council can do however is be an enabler and a facilitator. The council does have expertise over a huge range of areas, contacts in the port and is able to provide practical advice or support.
All you CEOs and Private Equity Bosses who read my blog need to get in touch with the Council's Chief Exec!
You can here an interview I gave on the subject on Wave 105 HERE.


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