Thursday, March 04, 2010

Business in Havant, in Hampshire, and David Willetts’ book “The Pinch”

On the Monday afternoon, I spent a while at the Havant Borough 50+ Forum at Havant Civic Offices. Among the subjects that came up, one involved problems with obtaining replies to letters written to Havant Borough Councillors and Hampshire County Councillors, as well as to Council Officers. None of that was any great surprise; I was well used to problems of that type, particularly with Havant Borough Council, to the extent that I routinely published all correspondence with Havant Borough Council, whether by letter of E-mail, on the Internet. I mentioned some of my problems with Business Link Hampshire, saying that I had found public funded bodies in general, including the Councils, well out of reach as far as obtaining any redress are concerned. We pay those who use public funds but most seem beyond any control other than that they choose to exercise themselves.

While in Havant, on the Tuesday, I tried to find Julie Gallagher, of Hampshire Trading Standards, with whom I had a conversation at the Havant Borough 50+ Forum coffee morning in February, principally about the faulty computer I had bought at a small shop in Havant. It was at the same meeting that I had appraised County Councillor Ann Buckley, of the Liberal Democrats, about my problems with Business Link Hampshire discriminating against me, the County Councillor being somewhat taken aback by that, let alone my views on the atrocious level of business support in Hampshire; effectively, if anyone decides to come to Hampshire with their business, or develop one in the County, they should ensure that they keep all of their out of Hampshire, lines of communication, advice, finance and publicity open, join the Chambers of Commerce and smaller organisation such as Southern entrepreneurs but assume that all other organisations are useless, or hostile.

Julie Gallagher was not there but I had a very useful conversation with other representatives of Hampshire County Council, including, Trading Standards, who had some tables set up in the Meridian Centre. Mostly, the conversations I had were about the problems I was having with the shop where I had bought the faulty computer. However, I took the opportunity to confirm what I suspected, that organisation like Business Link Hampshire were outside the jurisdiction of trading Standards and similar, as problems with them were a business and civil matter rather than a criminal matter. On the other hand, I did find out something about the Havant Borough Council employee who had claimed to be a Member of the Institution of Electrical Engineers, as it was then, by including MIEE on his business card, though that membership, it transpired had lapsed some twenty years earlier; nowadays that is definitely a criminal offence and likely was then, though will need some double checking. However, none of the several people I informed about that deception knew that, apparently, including Councillors, Council Officers, or members of the supervising Board of the Borough Partnership, such as a College Principal and the Business Link representative.

It was suggested that I speak to people in the Economic Development Office of Hampshire County Council, particularly about the situation with Business Link Hampshire. It was more likely that I would need to find alternative avenues to business development.

What was particularly amusing, at least in the black humour sense, so do, if you are a budding entrepreneur coming to Hampshire, do remember to bring that brand of humour with you, was that David Willetts, Member of parliament for Havant, had just brought out a book, entitled “The Pinch”, Atlantic Books; it is about the “baby-boomer” generation, of which I am one, making money out of the younger generations but not doing much to give, put, any back. The irony is that, since the 1990s, I have been trying to do just that but Havant Borough Council wrecked my project and five years work, David Willetts, who had never helped anyway, said that it was a dispute between Havant Borough Council and myself, and that he could, therefore, not intervene; I still have the letter. So Havant Council prevented me contributing to local business, putting anything back from my generation and David Willetts could do nothing about it, yet David Willetts’ book criticises my generation for not contributing.

There was irony on Tuesday in the form of Mac’s Cartoon in the Daily Mail. The cartoon involved two men, hanging by chains, being whipped by a mostly naked woman in boots. Above and on the door was “Madam Whiplash (Sado-Masochist) Specialist in Prolonged Torture. Impaled on a bed of nails was a newspaper with the headline, “Opinion Poll Shock”, a reference to news stories about the apparent collapse in support for the Conservative Party as we approach a General Election. Well, if Mac regards life under the current labour Government as torture, with which I do not necessarily violently disagree, he should try life in Hampshire in general and Havant in particular, especially business life.

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