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Old January 15th, 2010, 10:49 AM   #81
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Good News . . .

AEI Cables and Pyeroy awarded Royal Navy contracts
Jan 15 2010 by Alastair Craig, The Journal


HUNDREDS of North East jobs were secured last night as two firms were awarded multi-million pound contacts to supply parts for new Royal Navy warships.

AEI Cables in Birtley, Gateshead, has won an £8m deal to provide all cabling and wiring for the Queen Elizabeth Class Aircraft Carrier Programme.

The £3.8bn project will create two 65,000-tonne vessels over three times the size of the current largest ships in the armed forces.

Meanwhile, a joint bid by coatings specialist Pyeroy, of Dunston, Gateshead, and Cape of Wakefield, has already secured a contract to provide £105m of paint and all scaffolding required during the build process.

AEI, which employs 310 workers, will be designing and manufacturing the full range of cable and wiring to supply power, lighting, data communications, fire protection and alarm circuits for the warships. The 2,500km of cable for the project would stretch further than from Birtley, where AEI has its headquarters, to Moscow.

Jim Duffy, the company’s chief executive, said: “We’re delighted to win such a major contract and contribute to such an innovative, ground-breaking project.

“This award recognises our technical expertise and manufacturing capability as our products are required to meet the very highest levels of quality and safety standards.” Pyeroy’s managing director Hugh Pelham said: “Securing this contract represents the culmination of over two years of planning and detailed contract negotiations, and is fantastic news.

“Our collective experience in the marine sector is second to none, and we look forward with confidence to working on the ships.”

Pyeroy is the UK market leader in the provision of specialist protective coatings within the marine sector, and has been involved with over £100m of Royal Navy contracts, including the three present aircraft carriers: HMS Ark Royal, HMS Illustrious and HMS Invincible.

The new carriers will be the biggest and most powerful surface vessels ever constructed for the Royal Navy.

HMS Queen Elizabeth and HMS Prince of Wales are due to enter service in 2014 and 2016 after completion at the Rosyth shipyard in Scotland.

Each ship will provide four acres of sovereign territory wherever they are stationed in the world.

The development programme is being run by the Aircraft Carrier Alliance.

The partnership’s director Geoff Searle said: “Once in service, these ships will provide the UK Armed Forces with a vital and extensive naval capability, so it is equally important that we use suppliers who will share the our commitment to ensure we deliver the best ships possible.

“Equally as important, these contracts will support local economies and jobs throughout the UK regions.

“Continuing this level of momentum is essential and the signing of these contracts is testimony that it will continue through 2010 and beyond.”
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Old January 25th, 2010, 11:07 AM   #82
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This issue is very relevant to both 'Business' and 'the Arts' . .

The Journal launches Case for the North East campaign
Jan 25 2010 by Adrian Pearson, The Journal



THE Journal today launches a campaign to preserve our regional identity, our regional pride and our regional voice.

The region’s contribution to the UK has never mattered more as the political parties put their faith in the new technologies and manufacturing industries already established in the region.

Today The Journal is sending out a clear message to Whitehall outlining the dangers to our progress if the region is dismissed as just one part of a generic North.

Case for the North East will act as a re-affirmation to ministers and civil servants that we as a region are a huge contributor to the economy with a key role to play in its future.

With an economy worth £41bn-a-year it is clear the country’s leaders, both current and future, need to do more to safeguard this contribution and offer targeted measures to get the most out of our businesses.

At the same time The Journal is calling for recognition at the highest level that our cultural renaissance and our regional voice should not be further jeopardised.

Over the last two years the region has been increasingly silenced in key areas as national arts groups, TV production companies and cultural bodies are forced to take a pan-Northern approach.

This has threatened to water down the North East’s individual identity and undermine a cultural revival which has brought global attention to a region once known for its heavy industry alone.

That success means three North East plays will be seen on Broadway this year. But major changes to how the region is allowed to work together could mean those days are never seen again.

The North East has attracted millions of pounds in investment and seen thousands of jobs predicted as a direct result of councils and businesses putting aside their rivalries and working for a regional good.

The threat to this is that a new Government could follow the lead set by current ministers and remove the very organisations which brought in that cash.

A regional approach has already seen £125m brought to the region in a European loan fund and saw Nissan pick the North East as the first regional partner in its race to create the green cars of the future.

Those gains would be ruined if the region returned to the days of powerful city groups competing against each other for every pound.

So The Journal campaign is highlighting the four key areas of economy, culture, voice and connectivity against which any potential leader will be judged.

We intend to set out the Case for the North East to ensure an army of civil servants in Whitehall are as aware of our contribution to the economy as we are.

It is important that as the Government looks to grow the economy out of the recession, with warm words about the potential of green energy jobs and promises to avoid over-reliance on London’s financial sector, we act as critical friend for how best to achieve this.

Alongside is a warning that the best way to achieve those aims is to treat the North East as a region in its own right and not one that can be covered by a “super-quango” for the entire North.

Our region has a lot to gain from working with Manchester and Leeds, but as different Government departments put ever more focus on those two cities, we will be spelling out why the North East is just as important.

Over the next week and beyond we will be outlining what we see as the challenges and opportunities facing the region, and setting out what people in the North East want to ensure our continued success.

This Case will be used to judge any attempt to win over the North East ahead of the election and will form the basis of the region’s efforts to ensure it retains its own voice in the UK.

A region well able to take its own decisions

A DILUTED North East would be powerless to attract the funds vital to its economic recovery.

That message has been stressed by everyone from top business leaders such as those working to bring Nissan’s electric car production to Wearside to those politicians eager to see the region help itself out of the recession.

They are among many who claim plans to "split up" the North East by handing new powers and funds to sub-regional groups based around cities would spell the end of a successful partnership.

The Journal’s Case for the North East will this week set out the risks to the region if it is broken up and left without a voice.

Most recently the European investment Bank has praised efforts to set up England’s first loan fund using EU funds.

The 5,000 jobs hoped to come from the £125m loan pot are dependant upon the region’s ability to set out a case to some of Europe’s most important spending chiefs. Any threat to dilute this voice could rob us of similar funds in future and for this reason it is vital the region has a powerful negotiating presence in other spending decisions.

North East council chiefs will know the chances of them ever independently convincing a reluctant UK Treasury to hand over similar powers on a city basis are limited.

One option open to ministers over the next 12 months will be to introduce so-called "city regions" similar to the old Tyne and Wear County Council.

Funding will be passed down to them and they will be forced to act together to address major planning issues.

At the same time as these groups, as many as three in the North East, are competing against each other Whitehall could introduce one office for the North.

This would be tasked with looking after the economic concerns of everything from Liverpool to Berwick. The idea has been touted once by the Conservatives.

Already there are worries the Northern Way, a quango joining together the three Northern development agencies, is not doing enough to support the case for a viable North East.

The Journal’s campaign aims to convince decision makers that the region is well placed to decide its own future – and to warn strongly against any changes which diminish this.

Revival threat

TOMORROW The Journal will set out the threat to the region’s much-praised cultural revival.

Arts groups which have helped change the face of Tyneside and beyond have seen a drastic Government-led restructuring which has the potential to rob the North East of a powerful voice.

With further shake-ups likely and funding set to be cut in the coming years, we will be sending a message to ministers that the region’s arts base should be considered a source of national pride and not undermined by centralising control outside of the North East.
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Old January 27th, 2010, 11:24 AM   #83
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North sees no evidence of market improvingTHE lettings market in the North East is showing no sign of improvement even as the London and the South East market is taking off, according to a new survey.

But the report has been criticised for being overly-pessimistic on the back of some major deals in late 2009 and strong signs that investor confidence is returning.

The Royal Institute for Chartered Surveyors (RICS) North East commercial property market survey showed little change in the final quarter of 2009, in marked contrast to the improving situation in London and the South East.

In the region, demand for space across all three sectors (office, retail and industrial) remained unchanged between Q2 and Q4 2009 at 0, as did surveyor confidence for increased activity.

Kevan Carrick, commercial property sector spokesman for RICS North East and partner in JK Property Consultants, said: “Although we are not seeing any considerable improvement, the fact that the market appears to have bottomed out is positive in that we are not experiencing the sharp declines of the past two years.”

Other figures from the North East showed a region that is still struggling. Rental expectations were down across the board and available floor space increased.

One area that did show improvement was occupier inquiries in the office market.

Other regions, especially the Midlands, the North West and Northern Ireland, are also struggling while in London and the South East there is cause for optimism. Here demand for business property increased in the latter part of 2009.

Ian Parker, director of agency at GVA Grimley in Newcastle, said: “It seems to me this is overly pessimistic given what I can see is going on in the market place. There were some big investment deals with strong demand for well-let investments.

“And industrial sites are performing well as witnessed by the recent BAE Systems 350,000sq ft investment at the former Dunlop factory site in Washington.

“But there are little signs of speculative investment returning and that is likely to remain the case until empty property rate relief is reintroduced.”

The RICS survey showed investment transactions rose across all sectors with 35% of chartered surveyors reporting a rise, up from 7% in the third quarter.

The second half of last year saw a raft of investment deals in the region which included the sale of Number 1 St James Gate and St Anne’s Wharf, both in Newcastle.
http://www.nebusiness.co.uk/commerci...1140-25689772/
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Old January 27th, 2010, 06:50 PM   #84
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not the best of news. still no signs of lettings at Wellbar Central either. i wonder if that is holding up the completion of the building.
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Old January 27th, 2010, 06:55 PM   #85
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not the best of news. still no signs of lettings at Wellbar Central either. i wonder if that is holding up the completion of the building.
Probs, so long as scaffolding is up on a building then they do not need to pay council tax, so I'm assuming they are finishing off the interior first, then the outside, which is why it may appear to us that it is taking longer then usualy to finish off.
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Old February 9th, 2010, 11:01 AM   #86
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North East showing signs of climbing out of recession
Feb 9 2010 by Chris Knox, The Journal


Business leaders believe the North East economy has entered a period of recovery after new figures revealed that the region was the only one to record an acceleration in private sector output in January.

The latest Purchasing Managers’ Index (PMI) report shows that the North East has started 2010 on a firmer footing, with business activity expanding for the seventh month in a row, beating the UK average.

An increase in new work also saw one in three North East firms record an increase in activity since December, with anecdotal evidence indicating that improved economic conditions were the main factor behind the expansion in new orders.

The findings put the North East second behind London in terms of output and orders, while Yorkshire props up the table among English regions with its figures the worst for six months.

However, the report also found signs that the effects of the economic downturn are still being felt as job losses accelerated further over the month, with narrowing margins forcing employers to make redundancies as a way of managing costs.

Cost pressures within the North East private sector also reached a sixteen-month high, which indicated a marked rate of inflation, with survey respondents highlighting greater raw material and fuel costs, as well as unfavourable exchange rates and a return of VAT to 17.5% at the beginning of the year.

Alan Hall, region director of manufacturers’ group EEF, said: “The report supports our belief that the North East is beginning to enter a period of recovery.

“The North East is in a strong position to lead the fight back due to its strong transport infrastructure and network of business support.

“We are starting to see more investment within the region’s private sector as companies prepare themselves for the upturn.”

The national picture shows that heavy snow led to slower growth, with seven of the nine English regions citing the cold snap as a reason for the setback in recovery momentum.

Workforce numbers dropped in eight of the nine English regions, continuing the trend seen in the previous month, with the North West proving the only exception.

Andrew Sugden, director of membership and policy at the North East Chamber of Commerce, said: “The PMI confirms what we have found in our own research, that the region is moving into a position where it can begin to recover from the recession.

“Although output is a long way off the levels seen in 2007 and early 2008, it is encouraging that the North East is continuing along a positive pathway.

“I think we have now hit the bottom and are showing signs that we are pulling ourselves out of the downturn as a region.”

Allan Little, economic adviser at One North East, said: “There are some encouraging figures to take from this report, however, we continue to face extremely challenging times and will continue our work with partners to support North East companies and workers through 2010.”
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Old February 9th, 2010, 02:22 PM   #87
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Onwards and upwards

It's good to see a bit of post-recession momentum building up in the city, with work progressing on sites ranging from Downing Plaza through to New Bridge Street, with even some movement on EPS. The ES extension opening will also demonstrate some significant expansion of the retail economy. I'm picking up signs of green shoots - the Journal today reports that the NE is actually progressing faster than other regions.

What do others think? My only concern at present is that we're in the middle of a "W" shaped recession, not a "V" shaped one, and that a region dominated by the public sector will be very badly hit by spending cuts which are inevitably on their way. The architecture / development sector has already taken some hefty hits in the region and many firms were concentrating on securing public sector work like colleges, schools, and hospitals. Unfortunately I can't see many more of these schemes coming down the track for a while.
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Old February 9th, 2010, 02:30 PM   #88
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my worry is about public spending, we'll get hit more than most when services start getting cut. This will only be amplified if the dastardly tories come into power. i don't think cuts are inevitable, at least they shouldn't be. it's natural that a govt should build up a deficit in a recession. when we were doling out billions to help private sector banks it was seen as 'stimulus' - so why on earth shouldn't public spending, which actually buys you something positive, be seen as the same thing?

It is good to see plenty of schemes coming close to fruition, though a bunch of them seemed stalled very close to construction. inevitably some will fall through or be revised down.
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Old February 9th, 2010, 02:47 PM   #89
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I think you're right to be concerned about the number of public sector jobs in the region. From the construction side of things, it certainly seems like things are picking up. I agree that the public sector work will dry up a bit, and companies that specialise in stuff such as NHS work will find it a difficult year. On the other hand, I think the commercial market will pick up, certainly from the housebuilding standpoint. They've been riding out the end of the recession (by end, I mean the last few months, I've no idea when you can really call it over) with partnerships to deliver social housing, in part funded by cash from the HCA. I think as the year goes on, they'll start to dig out some of the spare bits of land they had, or schemes that had got planning or nearly had, and try and get them built out. It'll still be a slow year though, but archiotectural practices are starting to hire again, just in dribs and drabs, but it's a start, and there'll be several practices that will know that the best candidates will go first, and if they want a chance of getting them, they might need to bite the bullet and go early.
I think it's great that several fairly big schemes in the city centre have been able to rumble on through the difficulties, hopefully sorting out all the problems in the slow period so that now, with things looking more rosey they can get a crack on. It's amazing to think really that in what was a pretty bad financial crisis, we still had a large extension to a shopping mall built, several schemes for hotels submitted through planning, and we're about to have a whole new quarter to the city centre start on site.

It will be interesting to see if, from a retail point of view, when ES is fully up and running we actually have more retailers in the city centre than before the crunch! Or at least better ones. It bothers me not that Zavvi have gone.
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Old February 9th, 2010, 02:52 PM   #90
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Originally Posted by johnnypd View Post
it's natural that a govt should build up a deficit in a recession. when we were doling out billions to help private sector banks it was seen as 'stimulus' - so why on earth shouldn't public spending, which actually buys you something positive, be seen as the same thing?

It is good to see plenty of schemes coming close to fruition, though a bunch of them seemed stalled very close to construction. inevitably some will fall through or be revised down.
Unfortunately the Govt was running a deficit ever since 2000 - i.e. through the boom years - and has now overspent so hugely that there's no choice but to start paying off the national debt, because we're getting to the point where the lenders are starting to get nervous about our ability to repay....
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Old February 9th, 2010, 05:39 PM   #91
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Dropping occupier demand, huge falls in commercial property, must have kyboshed most of the development appraisals for schemes in the city (and elsewhere for that matter) in the last couple of years.

A rush of money back into the property investment sector over the last six months has seen capital values regaining as yields harden (meaning some of those appraisals start to work again), but you have to wonder whether the amount of money sloshing about is creating another fragile asset bubble that could quite easily go pop. If this happens I wonder how well those appraisals will hold up.

Bearing in mind a lot of the larger office requirements over the past few years have been public/quasi public bodies, and that it is likely further requirements in this sector won't materialise due to impending cuts; other than Tesco's bank call centre, it is difficult to see where all the large requirements will come from?
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Old February 9th, 2010, 09:02 PM   #92
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Originally Posted by johnnypd View Post
my worry is about public spending, we'll get hit more than most when services start getting cut. This will only be amplified if the dastardly tories come into power. i don't think cuts are inevitable, at least they shouldn't be. it's natural that a govt should build up a deficit in a recession. when we were doling out billions to help private sector banks it was seen as 'stimulus' - so why on earth shouldn't public spending, which actually buys you something positive, be seen as the same thing?
The problem is that the productive half of the economy (private sector) is shrinking. Therefore the vastly overweight unproductive half (public sector), bankrolled by it, simply has to be brought back into equilibrium. And Labour will never do it.
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Old February 9th, 2010, 11:07 PM   #93
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Firstly, I would agree that spending cuts in the public sector are inevitable, sadly. The national debt is now at an incredible level. If we don't cut it, we'll be pouring massive amounts in just to cover the interest payments. It's going to be pretty tough and as Greg says, it's going to hit the North East hard because of the size of the public sector within the NE economy.

That's not however to say that there aren't some pretty huge savings to be made through simply cutting out some of the huge inefficiencies within the public sector currently. I don't want to see the public sector gutted - David Cameron's an idiot if he honestly believes that "Big Government" and "Big Society" are an either/or choice - but it does need to be run efficiently.

As for the projects now starting to come through again, I'm a little worried too about there being a double dip, even just in the NE. Although I think even the Tories have started to realise that they mustn't cut too hard too early. If unemployment starts to rise again, we could be in serious trouble as I can't see the government having any cash left to bail anyone out.

And for the record, recession or not, new development must be of an acceptable quality. The buildings we put up today will be around until most of us here are dead and buried, so if the quality isn't there yet it's better to leave sites empty for another few years, despite the political pressures.
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Old February 13th, 2010, 09:51 AM   #94
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Decision Near on Vital Contract
Feb 13 2010 by Adrian Pearson, The Journal


The fight to bring defence jobs to Tyneside is nearing its end after more than a year of effort.

BAE Systems have spent months calling on the Government to make a decision on whether or not to bring manufacturing jobs to the region.

Bosses there say even a decision that went against them would at least provide some certainty and allow them to start planning now for other potential uses of the workers at the former Vickers factory.

At least 217 jobs are expected to go at the Scotswood Road site in the west end of the city. However, many of these jobs could be saved if the contracts are awarded to BAE Systems.

The cuts, amounting to a third of the workforce, were originally set to result in 50 posts being axed. But BAE claims that “damaging” Ministry of Defence contract rules mean it has to ensure it has a workforce built around the Government’s Defence Support Group in Hampshire.

Staff had been hoping they would win a new contract to build the Army’s Future Rapid Effect System (FRES) vehicles and upgrading the Warrior combat vehicles and subsequent contracts.

In 2008 The Journal was reporting of a risk to jobs following a collapse in other contracts.

In effect troops in Afghanistan have spent two years waiting for a vehicle they desperately need.

BAE Systems has said it is hopeful a final decision will be made by the end of next month.
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Old February 16th, 2010, 04:28 PM   #95
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Not sure if this is the right thread for this but I couldn't find another suitable...

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Tyneside bakery Greggs aims to rival coffee shop chain
GREGGS will sell skinny lattes with its sausage rolls in new-look stores. The Tyneside-based firm is bidding to take on coffee shop and sandwich giants including Starbucks and Subway.

The high street chain hopes to build its reputation outside the North East with new shops and an ad campaign that promotes the freshness of its food.

The company plans to refurbish some shops with wood furniture and soft lighting.

Greggs chief executive Ken McMeikan said the change is designed to help the firm survive in a more competitive high street.

He said: “By making it a much more enjoyable shopping experience, the customers get to see more quality, more of the products and we’re seeing more customers come in who have not tried Greggs before.

“This is a more crowded high street than five or 10 years ago.

“There was a pressure point at the queue, with shoppers feeling a little pressured because you had people behind you and you have to make a decision.

“Our appeal is much more universal than people give us credit for. We have got everyone from barristers to builders.”

The company believes its commitment to making food fresh in its shops and 10 bakeries has been eclipsed by its reputation for value.

“We feel that everyone deserves to have a Greggs near them. We are proud of our reputation for good value, freshness, quality and taste and that won’t be changing,” he added. “But we are listening to customers and what they are telling us is they would like more space in some shops to browse, check special offers and, in some stores, sit down with our products.”

As part of the relaunch, Greggs has dropped Phoenix Nights comedian Paddy McGuinness from its promotional campaigns in favour of a new advert set to the Gracie Fields song If I Knew You Were Coming I’d Have Baked a Cake.

Greggs was founded by Jack Gregg as a bakery in 1939 and the firm opened its first shop in Gosforth in 1951.

Today it has 1,400 shops across the United Kingdom.

In October, the firm revealed plans to open 600 new shops and create 6,000 jobs in a national expansion.

Between 50 and 60 new Greggs outlets are in the pipeline for this year and it plans to launch at least 70 a year from 2011 – more than double its usual rate of new openings.
http://www.chroniclelive.co.uk/north...2703-25844555/
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Old February 17th, 2010, 04:16 PM   #96
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Gordon Brown is in town tomorrow to make a major announcement about the offshore wind turbine development at Walker.... good news, if only a week behind Nick Clegg.
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Old February 17th, 2010, 04:23 PM   #97
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Gordon Brown is in town tomorrow to make a major announcement about the offshore wind turbine development at Walker.... good news, if only a week behind Nick Clegg.
The thing is most of the Labour voters wouldn't of noticed Clegg's visit butwill lap up Browns, no doubt we will have people writing into the chronicle for the next two weeks saying how great it was that Brown came to the region backed up the windfarm developments and how no other party has backed it, when so far as I know both the Lib Dem's and Tories have backed it even before Labour did.

Infact I was reading the chronicle last night where someone wrote in expressing their concerns that the port of Dover maybe sold off to the French, he/she went on to say why don't we sell Scotland and every other piece of land that we have while we are at it. Honestly it amazes me at how some people remember to breath.
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Old February 17th, 2010, 04:28 PM   #98
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Bet you any money you like there will be a "brown-nosing" piece on these very lines from Adam Jupp tomorrow....
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Old February 17th, 2010, 04:30 PM   #99
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Bet you any money you like there will be a "brown-nosing" piece on these very lines from Adam Jupp tomorrow....
Oh yeah, the chronicle, and local news are going to be all over this, their will be banners and advertisements everywhere, "Brown came and sort of madea half hearted promise-rejoice".
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Old February 17th, 2010, 05:35 PM   #100
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I don't even know why Brown is even trying any more, he is absolutely ****ed.
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