The CIH Homeownership and Leasehold Conference is probably not the first place one would expect to see a former Fleet Street editor, but Eve Pollard of Mirror and Sunday Express fame was pretty good value as the keynote speaker. Her theme was something like, 'what to do when your backs against the wall' or 'dragging your sorry asre out of the swamp.' So there were clear links to the wonders of leasehold managment.
Fortunately she stayed largely away from the thrills of the Right to Buy or Leasehold Valuation Tribunals. Instead she gave us some much more cheery insights. Nice line 'You have Robert Maxwell to thank for me being here today...... He took half my pension.' Made a passionate defence of the press against Government regulation,(and yes she would wouldn't she). But on the balance of 'What is in the public interest' and what is merely 'Of interest to the public' she made some considered points.
The press needs to be free to expose wrong doing in high places. Hacking phones is wrong. Stories about people affairs probably are not really in the public interest, unless it is about exposing hypocracy. She picked on sad old Mr Huhne, posing with his wife as a happy family man at the last election when he was about to leave her, as a case in point. From when I am standing if the press adopted that kind of definition of what should or should not go in, they would not go too far astray.
Asked which politicians she would trust, she initially offered Thatcher and Robin Cook on the basis that no matter what one thought of their views they were pretty clear about them. Of the current crop she commented that as career politicians they had lived in a bubble, and to concious of the need to be, in her words, 'groovy.' Cameron's desperate assertions of affection for The Smiths and Eton Rifles came to mind . Interesting she suggested Ed Milliband was the one she would Trust most.
Accepting that it was just another gig for Eve, I thought she did a pretty decent job, armed with a quiver full of anecdotes about the rich and powerful that may or may not be wholly true. I went off to my workshop on Private Sector Leasehold Managment with a spring in my step. Was brought crashing back down to earth soon enough by that though. Now what was it she said about.....