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Diary

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Name that sculpture

Modern art has its critics, but what city or region doesn’t want its own iconic symbol to rival the Angel of the North?

Sadly, Manchester City Council’s ‘B of the Bang’ sculpture has become more of an ironic symbol, and the authority is soon to sue four contractors for£2m in costs at the High Court over successive problems with the 184ft artwork.

Inspired by sprinter Linford Christie’s claim to start races on the “B” in the bang of a starting pistol, the sculpture is still surrounded by fencing after one of its spikes fell out in 2006, causing structural fears.

Perhaps ‘B of the barrister’ or ‘C you in court’ would be more appropriate would be a more appropriate name.

Pack your bags

When the going gets tough, the tough get going. The scale of Labour’s defeat in the local elections earlier this month may have taken many by surprise, but that it would be a bad night was never in doubt.

With that in mind some of local government’s leading Labour figures decided 1 May would be a good time for a holiday. Local Government Association Labour group leader Sir Jeremy Beecham led the charge, jetting off to a wedding in the south-west of France.

Also racking up the air miles was former minister and New Local Government Network director Chris Leslie who whisked his wife off to the Caribbean for a long weekend.

And when confirmation of Boris Johnson’s victory in the mayoral contest in London finally came in the early hours of Saturday morning, LGC knows of at least one Labour party official who fled for the safety of leafy Cambridge.

A low shot

It’s open season on prime minister Gordon Brown’s embattled U-turning, S-bending government, with more personal insults flying around than in a New Labour quit-and-tell and that’s just from their own back benches.

Tory leader David Cameron never one to miss a chance for a cheap gag was more than happy to get in on the act last week giving a speech to the Campaign to Protect Rural England.

After criticising Mr Brown’s ambitious target to build three million new homes as overly top down, he said: “The prime minister is not in charge of building houses, which is fortunate, because he’d barely be able to erect a garden shed.”

Wicked whispers

Which local government communications supremo recently spent a Friday night on an enlightening voyage of discovery in Brighton, hanging out with Baltimore Burlesque duo Trixie Little and the Evil Hate Monkey?

Temptress Trixie might have been the only one dressed in sky-high platform shoes and thigh-high fishnets at the start of proceedings but by the end a long old night, who knows

It sounded like it was going to get more debauched than a late night stroll on Hampstead Heath with a bunch of Liberal Democrat MPs.

Tips come a-flying

British Airways’ über-cock up of the opening of Heathrow Airport’s fifth terminal might seem an unlikely source of inspiration for local government.

But according to the Improvement & Development Agency’s ever-imaginative executive director Lucy de Groot, BA boss Willie Walsh’s (pictured left) decision to take full responsibility for losing everyone’s luggage offers valuable tips for councils setting up shared services projects.

Surely Mr Walsh would have some tips on mollifying angry “customers” too?

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