David Parkin on a Strictly seaside myth, tourism stars and a date with Beyonce

David Parkin on a Strictly seaside myth, tourism stars and a date with Beyonce

I’M thinking of reporting the BBC to trading standards. Not because I’m consumed by that ‘licence fee waste’ paranoia that obsesses some newspapers. But I’m worried that many innocent people may be planning trips to Blackpool after the Strictly Come Dancing special from the seaside resort on Saturday. The way the presenters Tess Daly and Claudia Winkleman spoke made it sound like a stunning Mecca where dreams come true. And clearly the contestants also looked to have been brainwashed, their bids to get to Blackpool sounded like Dorothy and her companions in the Wizard of Oz in their quest to find the Emerald City. It is a few years since I visited the Lancashire town with the tower but I remember a bleak, windswept wasteland that has got more in common with a Remainer’s post-Brexit economic outlook than the lush Oasis portrayed by Strictly. The front is lined with tacky gift shops, fast food outlets and ‘fun pubs’ with nowhere in sight to get a decent meal or enjoy a relaxed drink without getting a karaoke mike shoved into your mitt. Behind them are streets filled with guesthouses and B&Bs with withered palm trees in the front gardens and inside, behind the net curtains and china cats, are establishments that haven’t changed much since Les Dawson used to talk about landladies offering bed and breakfast and evening meal for a week for £10 with full use of cruet. FROM the worst of tourism to celebrating the best of it. The White Rose Awards which Welcome to Yorkshire holds to celebrate the best of Yorkshire tourism and hospitality are always...
David Parkin hears inspiring stories in a spectacular setting and remembers a gritty pugilist and smooth operator

David Parkin hears inspiring stories in a spectacular setting and remembers a gritty pugilist and smooth operator

IF there is a more historic and impressive venue to celebrate your degree graduation than York Minster, I’d like to see it. Oxford and Cambridge colleges boast so much heritage amid their dreaming spires, but when it comes to breathtaking buildings, York Minister takes the biscuit. I joined an audience of well over 1,000 people there this week to see one of the six graduation ceremonies held at the Minster by York St John University. Invited by former Royal Armouries chairman Ann Green, who is the university’s Pro Chancellor, I watched as several hundred students received their degrees from Chancellor Dr John Sentamu, Archbishop of York. The university also bestowed honorary doctorates on Yorkshire sporting champions, paralympian Hannah Cockcroft and rugby league great Jamie Peacock. If you’ve not seen the Archbishop of York in action, he’s great fun. He even pretended to throw Jamie Peacock his honorary degree scroll as if he was passing a rugby ball. It all helps to put the students at their ease on a nerve-wracking day when they collect their degrees and head out into the wide world. One who rushed passed Dr Sentamu too quickly for a photograph to be taken was called back so his big moment could be captured on film. Both Cockcroft and Peacock gave brief but impressive addresses to the students. Jamie made the point that everything he has won and all the plaudits he has gained, including receiving an honorary degree, was down to being part of a team, so his team mates also deserve the credit too. He told the students that they also had a team...
David Parkin on a big night out, cafe culture and embracing a Trump future

David Parkin on a big night out, cafe culture and embracing a Trump future

I’VE been to enough events to know what makes a bad one. I’m sure you have too. So when discussion turned to an event that the region’s corporate finance community would enjoy attending, we knew what it shouldn’t have. The Big Ticket night out for Yorkshire’s dealmakers will have no awards, no bow ties, no bland three course meal and no egos. Ok, there is one of those that I can’t guarantee. The event, on February 2 next year at the Belgrave Music Hall & Canteen in Leeds will serve up street food, live music, relaxed conversation and plenty of personality. Oh, and a well stocked bar. And, most importantly, it will raise money for a fantastic charity. Yorkshire’s corporate finance community is renowned for its talent and personality. From management buyouts to multi-billion pound global deals, the region’s advisers and funders add huge value and make the difference for their clients. They are also passionate about the region in which they live and work and want to put something back. The Big Ticket will bring together the people that help business tick and raise lots of money for Maggie’s Yorkshire. Maggie’s will be a cancer care centre in the grounds of St James’ Hospital in Leeds designed to feel like a welcoming refuge or a home from home for cancer patients. A private fund-raising campaign has already raised £3m towards the £4m cost of building Maggie’s Yorkshire and The Big Ticket will support the campaign to raise the final £1m to make it a reality. The Centre has been designed by Heatherwick Studios, responsible for the Olympic Cauldron...
David Parkin on the Commons touch and dressing down for Halloween

David Parkin on the Commons touch and dressing down for Halloween

TO London at the start of this week for the annual Barclays and CBI reception for Yorkshire MPs and business people. If the aim of the event was to encourage clear thinking debate then they certainly achieved it: there wasn’t an alcoholic drink in sight, just soft drinks and tea and coffee and industrial quantities of canapés that the waiting staff were doing their best to shift. It was interesting that a question and answer session with three MPs – Labour’s Hilary Benn of Leeds Central, Dame Rosie Winterton of Doncaster Central and Conservative Transport Minister Andrew Jones, the Harrogate MP – didn’t feature one question about Brexit. The audience of Yorkshire-based business people and advisers were more interested in other issues such as devolution and transport. I suppose it is because issues like that will have a much bigger long and short term effect on their businesses while Brexit, for all the speculation about the opportunities and threats it might bring, is still something of an unknown. The discussion was held under Chatham House rules which means it can’t be reported, which is useful because I don’t think my creaking shorthand note-taking would have been up to it. But what struck me was how much all three MPs agreed with each other on how the country and Yorkshire approaches the future. Given Dame Rosie and Hilary are no longer part of Jeremy Corbyn’s Labour opposition front bench then it has probably given them more freedom to say what they think rather than following the diktats of The Bearded One. Having sat quietly listening to the discussion for an...