David Parkin on the power of business, Trump tales and dressing for success

David Parkin on the power of business, Trump tales and dressing for success

PRIME Minister Theresa May’s early attitude to the Northern Powerhouse idea didn’t appear very enthusiastic. She certainly didn’t back it wholeheartedly and her appointment of the MP Andrew Percy as the Northern Powerhouse Minister came almost as an after thought to the majority of her ministerial moves. The fact he has a portfolio of other ministerial roles too didn’t bode well and you couldn’t exactly call him a political heavyweight. He’s probably about as well known in his constituency of Brigg and Goole as he is in Parliament. There was welcome news this week of a cash injection of £556m for the Northern Powerhouse project. The money, which will be allocated to Local Enterprise Partnerships across the North of England but there did seem to be a lot more heading to the North West ahead of Yorkshire. The new funding was announced by the Prime Minister Theresa May at the same time as a new industrial strategy. I don’t think I was born when we last had one of those. Mrs May reiterated her belief, outlined the day she entered No 10, that there is a need to “drive growth across the whole UK”. And while she has backed the Northern Powerhouse, I don’t think it will be the priority for her that it would have been if its creator, George Osborne, was still in government. But that doesn’t worry me. The North of England has become very self sufficient and certainly doesn’t sit waiting for handouts. The Local Enterprise Partnerships, with very little early funding, have become effective organisations which blend both the public and private sector. They...
David Parkin hits the gin trail, enjoys stories about a true sporting hero and gets battered by names

David Parkin hits the gin trail, enjoys stories about a true sporting hero and gets battered by names

OTHER than this weekly blog (which has variously been described as “ramblings” “scribblings” and “drivel” – and that’s by the people who enjoy reading it) I haven’t really written anything seriously since leaving TheBusinessDesk a couple of years ago. And when I bumped into former journalism colleague Jo Francisco, now press officer at tourism agency Welcome To Yorkshire, in a bar in Leeds last summer I was quick to tell her I didn’t do any writing any more. As a regular reader of this blog she told me she liked the style and asked would I be interested in writing a feature for Welcome To Yorkshire’s highly thought of Y magazine which promotes the best things to do and see across the region. I ummed and aahhed and asked what she might want me to write about. “How about Yorkshire’s gin trail?” said Jo. “I’m in,” I replied in a flash. I’ve written here before about the Slingsby Spirit of Harrogate gin and tasting experience. But that is just the tip of the ice cube. Yorkshire is a veritable haven of gin makers and gin bars. Alongside Slingsby’s distinctive blue bottles are the family businesses behind Masons Yorkshire Gin made in Bedale, Whittaker’s Gin from Nidderdale and Sloemoton Sloe Gin produced in the village of Barton-le-Willows near Malton. And gin bars are springing up all over the place. York has a clutch of popular venues including the Best Western Monkbar Hotel which has doubled its range of the trendy tipple to more than 50, whilst the Whippet Inn (great name) has a dedicated gin bar and Sutlers Bar &...
David Parkin on tricky times for Trump, remembering Taylor and maid in Harrogate

David Parkin on tricky times for Trump, remembering Taylor and maid in Harrogate

IN a week’s time President Elect Donald Trump gets given the keys to the White House. And those hoping that since his election win in November he has had the chance to reflect and perhaps become more statesmanlike only had to tune into his press conference this week to realise there is not a cat in hell’s chance of that. The event in the lobby of Trump Tower in New York had been set up to allow The Donald to explain what he has done to distance himself from his business interests when he becomes president. But that was a sideshow to the main circus surrounding lurid allegations about a Russian plot to compromise him. “Fake nooze!” bellowed the entrepreneur at gathered journalists, his lips pursed as tight as a cat’s backside. Presumably that would be filed in the same fake news folder with the claim that Barack Obama wasn’t born in the USA – a story once peddled by Trump. He dismissed a question from a reporter from CNN, one of the biggest and most trusted news outlets in America, because he doesn’t agree with their approach. There was hardly time to address the details of how he is stepping away from involvement in his vast business empire and handing control to his sons. The pile of brown paper files theatrically placed on a table next to the lecturn presumably meant to assure us that this has happened. However it didn’t appear to have convinced the director of the US Office of Government Ethics, Walter Shaub, who said the plan does not match the “standards” of US presidents...
David Parkin on words of wisdom and a plumptious honour by Jove!

David Parkin on words of wisdom and a plumptious honour by Jove!

WADE through the umpteen gongs for Britain’s Rio Olympians and Paralympians and the honours given out to civil servants for simply doing their jobs and there were some interesting and worthy recipients of New Year Honours. I’m not saying our sporting stars didn’t deserve recognition, but the volume dished out did tend to obscure the many other honours that were awarded by the Queen. Two were of particular interest to me. Firstly an OBE for veteran Leeds accountant Colin Glass, a man known for supporting small and start-up businesses and who I approached for help when we were looking to launch TheBusinessDesk.com. And secondly the knighthood for Liverpudlian comedy legend Ken Dodd, still performing at the age of 89. What a recognisable figure: toothy, wearing an old suit and careful with money – Colin’s been a familiar figure on the Yorkshire business scene for years. Somebody once referred to him as “the Yoda of Yorkshire business” because he’d been around for so long. And what a tattyfilarious honour for Sir Kenneth Dodd of Knotty Ash. Whip out your tickling sticks and form a guard of honour and serve up jam butties all round All together now: Nick, nacky, nick nock, nicky nacky noo. How tickled he must be missus. ::: ONE of the best Christmas presents I received was Alan Bennett’s latest volume of diaries: Keeping On Keeping On. I’m sure the Leeds-born writer, who sprang to prominence with Peter Cook, Dudley Moore and Jonathan Miller in Beyond The Fringe back in 1960, must have turned down many offers of honours over the years. In my opinion he’s Britain’s...