HAPPY Birthday to us, happy birthday to us, happy birthday dear T4-2. . .
Yes indeed, T4-2, the construction industry's highly influential anti-taskforce initiative was founded exactly 1,562 days ago today.Actually, this momentous milestone almost passed by unnoticed - we've been that busy.With other things, admittedly.
There's no denying that T4-2 has been a phenomenal success. It has seen off every quasigovernmental industry-reforming buzz-wordridden gentleman's club to have emerged over the past four and a half years.
When did you last hear mention of the Movement for Innovation, or M4i as it snappily titled itself? Remember the Construction Industry Board, a virulent nest of besuited busybodies which liked nothing better than to get its victims into a windowless meeting room and bludgeon them about the head with a big heavy Powerpoint presentation? A quick chat over the phone just wasn't their style.T4-2 made short work of them, though.
Then of course there was the Construction Best Practice Programme.Actually, I believe it's still going, albeit on life-support.Now of course we have Constructing Excellence, a sort of bureaucratic circle of wagons around which the Cherokees of common sense are galloping while the Rethinking cowboys, crouched behind barrels, fire off the last of their ammunition.
That's ironic, isn't it? I didn't mean to describe the self-appointed saviours of British construction as cowboys - fate made me.How telling.
Well anyway I'm not one to gloat. But on the other hand, I should like to point out that T4-2 has achieved all this single-handedly and without a single penny from Government to support our effort.
Strenuous negotiation with the Office of the Deputy Prime Minister over a lengthy period has failed to elicit anything beyond this rather typical statement, apparently from John Prescott himself :
'This Government is committed to excellence in any way possible in the construction arena today and for tomorrow's children.We wholeheartedly back calls by industry and stakeholders for more effective means for our environment and support their effort.This needs a massive step-change in thinking. I'm not giving money to someone who wants to throw a spanner in the works so you can just sod off.'
Well, sod off we shall.Our work is done.The sharks are closing in on the Rethinking boys and in any case T4-2's landlord has given us notice to quit our Sydenham HQ - he's selling the entire terrace so Charles Clarke can build a new City Academy on the site.A brave new world beckons.
HEY, don't stop reading - I'm still here. I'm not looking for a new job or anything, 'though I've just found a very intriguing advert in my local paper.
North Devon College is looking for a 'part-time lecturer in trowel occupations'And, at up to £19.13 per hour, it's pretty good money.
It says here 'the appointee will be responsible for curriculum delivery and practical activities within the workshop delivering Trowel Occupations'What the bloody hell are they talking about?
Could 'curriculum delivery'mean, by any chance, 'teaching'? And how do you 'deliver' an occupation?
The biggest question, though, is what in the name of all that is holy on God's clean Earth is a Trowel Occupation?
Well, having considered it, I think I could be said to have a part-time trowel occupation, but I'm pretty sure the college doesn't want somebody to spend two and a half days a week teaching students to weed their carrots.
So if it's not weeding, it must be a different sort of trowel. . . my God, of course, they mean 'bricklaying'.
Clearly, when you're trying to entice young people into construction it doesn't do to call a spade a spade.