Wednesday 30 September 2009

Leaving Brighton, arriving Oxford...

Well ,that's quite enough of that. But let me leave you with a few vignettes from the fringes and receptions. James Purnell, oh how we miss him , was waxing lyrical at the guardian reception on when to wear a tie. If you have a suit , then you should wear a tie with it. If it is jeans and a jacket then not! Good advice I'm sure- I dispense it to you.

The Irish Embassy reception is a hoot. Of course this is my country's reception as I am proudly half Irish. And the Ambassador is an old friend from Oxford days so we reminisce. He reminds me that when he was President of the Union I spoke in one of his debates. He introduced me as; "Steve Bubb, Christ Church, and I'm sorry we couldn't get his more famous elder brother Beeleze Bubb". Any repetition of this slander in Charity Finance will be frowned upon! Then there was a certain famous broadcaster from a programme not un adjacent to Newsnight who observed acidly at the Irish reception that "you'd think they'd caused enough trouble at the Grand Hotel before". And a better be unnamed observor commenting on the Brown proposals for removing pregnant teenage girls who dubbed it an " Institute for Fallen Women" it does rather reflect the oddity of this idea. It is strangely unthought through, and uncosted. If they have money for this sort of thing it would be better spent with the Children's Charities who know what they are about.

I bump into Steve Richards, the brilliant columnist and commentator for the Independent. He says he remembers me from when he interviewed me as a local government reporter and I was on the glorious Lambeth Council.

My staff have been an excellent aid to the CEO cause down here. My Deputy Dr Kyle (who appeared to have had his suits stolen), two brains Ralph Michell and the widely respected Seb Elsworth. A hugely talented team working away for the sector's Chief Executives. All CEOs need support from an effective Director team. I am grateful to have one of the best the third sector has to offer. We were ably supplemented by the Sector's top headhunter David Fielding , always on the look out for passing talent(even offering his card to passing Cabinet Minsters who assured him they wouldn't need them!). Hope they will be refreshed for the glories of Manchester.

But overall another good chance to push the third sector and lobby for our causes. We have had a series of side meetings on issues like gift aid and the SIB. It is always a good time to get people away from civil servants and in a more relaxed atmosphere. Its a key role for an umbrella body like ACEVO.

But now I'm on my way to Oxford to a reunion at my old College to celebrate 40 years service by 2 of our PPE tutors. I shall join my Brother Nick and lots of old mates for a magnificent dinner in the medieval splendour of the Christ Church Hall, now famous around the world for having been in the Harry Potter films. Its 34 years since I was there reading PPE. It will be a time for nostalgia and trips down memory lane! And fine wine too naturally, which was not on offer at Brighton. Every good boy deserves a treat!

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