David Parkin on some absurd holiday reading, changing the face of board rooms and going downmarket

David Parkin on some absurd holiday reading, changing the face of board rooms and going downmarket

ANYONE who tells me they enjoy reading my blogs and then invites me to an event is almost certain of my attendance. And so it was when a complimentary email arrived from Douglas Adamson, inviting me to the launch of his second novel. Having never read the first one, I thought I ought to play catch up and go along to the impressive Mercer Gallery in Harrogate last Friday to find out what former advertising man Doug is up to. I liked the idea behind his books – comic crime novels. As Doug explained: “My novels are dark comedies set in an imaginary North Yorkshire town during the 1960s.  Life in the 1960s was another world from today but the same human traits were writ large, often under a veil of genteel respectability.” When he then went on to tell the audience at the book launch that the town he has created, Windelton, has been described as Cranford meets The League of Gentlemen, then I liked it even more. I knew the compliments wouldn’t last. He told me that I would enjoy his books as they featured an enterprising local newspaper editor who spends much of his time inebriated. Why would I like that? North Yorkshireman Doug, explained a bit more about his fictional creation. “I have based Windelton on an amalgam of small Yorkshire market towns I know well and where hierarchical societies and deference were still thriving in the 1960s. Whilst the young people were throwing away their parents’ values, there was still a distinct pecking order of the good and the not so great. “Today they...
David Parkin on farewell to a banking success, a TV switch off and why gangsters get beaten by Pokemon

David Parkin on farewell to a banking success, a TV switch off and why gangsters get beaten by Pokemon

JUST to confirm, the photograph above isn’t of Theresa May’s new Cabinet, or even a recreation of the meeting of the five families from The Godfather. It was taken this week in the boardroom of Yorkshire Bank’s headquarters on Merrion Way in Leeds at a retirement lunch for David Maybury, the head of the bank’s business and personal banking operations in Leeds. After 23 years with Yorkshire Bank, David has decided to take early retirement and head off to do other things. Immediate aims are playing more golf at Otley Golf Club, walking in the Yorkshire countryside and spending time with his grandchild, with another soon to be on the way. I’ve known him for about 16 of those years and dealt with him and his team while I was at the Yorkshire Post. Then when we launched TheBusinessDesk.com in 2007, it was Yorkshire Bank that backed us via the Small Firms Loan Guarantee Scheme – probably the last one out of the door before the credit crunch hit. And more recently it is David and his team that have supported my new business COPA. And not just with just banking, it was David who secured athletics legend Steve Cram, a Yorkshire Bank ambassador, to speak at the Lord’s Taverners Balloon Debate that we organised in May. So I wasn’t going to miss a chance to mark the end of an era at Yorkshire Bank and wish David a fond farewell. Hosted by Yorkshire Bank chairman Richard Gregory, the guests round the table were a mix of customers, advisers and referrers that David has dealt with over the last...
David Parkin finds fun in ferrets, Playboy bunnies and Boycott

David Parkin finds fun in ferrets, Playboy bunnies and Boycott

IF you’ve been feeling a bit unsettled given the political and financial uncertainty of the last few weeks, then a trip to the Great Yorkshire Show is one way of reaffirming your confidence in the world. Tens of thousands of people descend on the Yorkshire Showground in Harrogate for the countryside’s annual three-day shindig. You need a map to traverse an event that is the size of a small town, but for all the many thousands in attendance, there is a really friendly, family atmosphere. Mind you, I did think that the recent political backstabbing and underhand plots at Westminster were going to be replicated at the Great Yorkshire Show when a dairy cattle exhibitor was disqualified on the first day after an animal was “tampered” with. The Yorkshire Agricultural Society confirmed a “substance” was used on the cow’s udders, contravening show rules. I was there on Tuesday but never touched any udders. The event always presents some interesting sights – including the juxtapositioning of a bull semen specialist’s stand opposite a stall selling pork and beef baps. Tourist organisation Welcome to Yorkshire always has the biggest stand at the show and this year it included ferret racing, alpacas, a steam locomotive and cricketing great Geoffrey Boycott. Geoffrey was in a good mood, posing for photographs with Welcome to Yorkshire chief executive Sir Gary Verity, eating ice cream sitting on deckchairs on a mock up of Scarborough beach. Lauded in Yorkshire, Boycott’s single minded approach to his sport means that he is not universally popular. A politician once told me that one of their proudest achievements was blocking him...
David Parkin on a powerful opportunity for the North, getting in the zone and a resigning trend

David Parkin on a powerful opportunity for the North, getting in the zone and a resigning trend

IF there is one thing that has emerged since the vote to leave the European Union, it is that businesses are looking to focus on the positives amid the uncertainty. Whether you voted to remain in the EU or leave it, the reality is that financial markets and the pound have been hit hard by the uncertainty created by the result. And things haven’t been helped by David Cameron resigning as Prime Minister and the official opposition going into a tailspin. We now have to wait another two months to find out who will replace Cameron. That’s eight weeks before someone leading this country sets out their agenda on how to deliver the Brexit the majority voted for and to galvanise the economy and lay out a pathway to further future success. It seems to me that this vacuum provides a big opportunity. With little leadership coming nationally, now is the time for our regions to seize the initiative, not wait to find out what is going to happen in London. While Chancellor of the Exchequer George Osborne has driven the Northern Powerhouse initiative, it seems likely he will not be in the same role when the new Conservative leader takes office. What is important is that the Northern Powerhouse doesn’t wither on the vine. You might remember that under the last Labour government, Deputy Prime Minister John Prescott was responsible for an initiative called The Northern Way. That got shunted into the sidings pretty sharpish, mainly because anyone who listened to Prescott’s speeches didn’t have a clue what he was on about. But then neither did he. And...
David Parkin on a European double, a taste of Italy and playing a Trump card

David Parkin on a European double, a taste of Italy and playing a Trump card

IT’S been a funny old week. Last week’s blog was sent out just as we all were digesting the shock EU referendum result. And the vote was quickly followed by England’s defenestration from Euro 2016 by Iceland. For the UK to reject Europe via the ballot box and then for the England football team to self-destruct on the football field in a European tournament in the space of four days just felt a bit profligate to me. I was once made to write 200 lines by an English teacher when I didn’t produce a homework essay twice in a row. He made me write: “To err is human, but to do it twice is unacceptable.” He knew what he was doing, writing the word unacceptable 200 times is murder. I was reminded of those lines after the events of the last week. The smug, triumphalism of Nigel Farage aside, not many people appear to have wildly celebrated the referendum result. They perhaps expected the long haul we face in the coming weeks, months and years to exit the European Union. The last seven days illustrate that. Financial markets first went into meltdown followed by our two main political parties. The population, or a large chunk of them, took to social media to either celebrate the referendum result or bemoan it. Some posts I read couldn’t have been more downbeat than if the four horsemen of the apocalypse had just come riding over the horizon followed by a plague of locusts. Whatever way you voted (and I voted Remain) we now have to accept a result that almost half the...