Sunday, May 06, 2007

Another Media Moment...

Well the photoshoot and the TV news are all done and dusted.
David Cameron has kept his promise to come back and congratulate my hard working councillor colleagues who successfully overturned the Lib Dem majority on Torbay Council.
The story behind the headlines is more amusing though, the visit was, er, slightly last minute and as a result not quite as smoothly planned as his previous arrival two weeks ago.
Initially he was planned to fly to the Palace Hotel; but at the last minute the landing was changed to Torbay Boys Grammar school, we get there to find the gates locked and an instant change was decided.... "back to the Palace".
Then with seconds to spare the caretaker arrived and opened the gates and our cars raced onto the playing fields; only to find the pilot hovering a mile away preparing to land - in the wrong place!
So we were to be found on Friday afternoon -with ten minutes to go before his live broadcast was supposed to have started- negotiating over the mobile phone with the helicopter pilot as to just where we were. My chairman and I were madly waving our arms like shipwreck survivors until at last we were spotted by the pilot and Mr Cameron safely landed.
Then it was a mad dash across town to hit the news deadline, a live interview and a couple of recorded sessions; then back in the cars and back to the Grammar school to find ... no helicopter.
The pilot had gone for fuel and decided that taking off there when full of passangers was too dangerous, so another dash across town - back to the Palace Hotel. We said our grateful goodbyes and left them in the cosseting embrace of the palace hotel staff; awaiting the 'copters return.
By now it was getting on for 8.00pm and Mr Cameron had been up all night and then been racing across the country all day. His staff were fretting although he was amazingly laid back and relaxed about the whole thing.
I went home for tea with my kids and as we heard the helicopter pass overhead I settled down to relate the story to guests we had staying for the weekend.
My phone rang - "Marcus, there is a problem at the Palace; David and co are still there - there is a problem with the helicopter, can you get back there and help?"
Apparently in fading light the pilot decided he was unhappy about the Palace lawn and wanted a better spot to take off from!
There was talk of trains from Exeter, would I ferry them there? Or Exeter AIRPORT perhaps, there was just time for helicopter and passengers to meet there....
In the event Paul Uphill of the Palace Hotel provided the solution and suggested a suitable alternative landing spot that the Pilot was happy with and eventually Cameron and co got away at about 8.30pm.
If David Cameron regretted his impulse promise to come back to Torbay he showed no sign of it.
Meanwhile I'd just like to apologise to Mrs Cameron for the late arrival of her husband home from work on Friday.
I expect the news that we won nearly double the number of council seats we were expecting nationwide was enough to compensate, though!


Anonymous said...

We have got so used to politicians like Tony Blair making lazy promises and just as lazily breaking them.

I never thought he would return and was frankly amazed that he did.

A good sign, and I say that as a cynical (old) Labour man.

Anonymous said...

Even just reading this made me feel tired.