Monday 31 December 2007

2007: annus mirabilis

This was the year that the North-East finally earned its rightful place on the map. Prior to 2007, there was only a white patch in most atlases, with a drawing of a man in a flat cap smoking a tab and leading a whippet, and the inscription “Here be working class people with funny accents”.

As soon as the MP for Sedgefield retired (what was his name again?) the region at last fulfilled its manifest destiny by becoming the place where everything important happened. The first run on a British bank since 1866, the loss of the personal details of half the population, the bizarre Labour donations scandal; even the strange case of the amnesiac canoeist. All born and bred right on our doorstep. Every time I picked up a newspaper, my heart swelled with the same sort of local pride I get whenever I see a Greggs pasty commercial.

Spookily, a year ago I was pointing out that my catchphrase “What could possibly go wrong?” really was the most important question anyone in business could ask themselves. I hate to say “I told you so”, but all this year’s disasters could have been avoided if those concerned had applied their minds to that very question.

Originally published in The Journal, Newcastle upon Tyne.

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