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Signoff: David Taylor

I SHOULD point out straight away that I'm writing this on Tuesday so, by the time you read this on Thursday, anything could have happened in Iraq.

Well, I say 'anything' but of course there are certain eventualities we can rule out categorically. For example there's no way, unfortunately, that I will be riding into Baghdad at the head of a victorious Allied convoy to file the first press reports of the capture or assassination of the evil dictator Saddam Hussein.

Of course I'd love to, but none of the bucket-shops has any cheap flights into Basra, and in any case I haven't got a visa - so that's knocked that one on the head.

No I'll probably still be sitting here, following events as they unfold over the internet. And of course I'll be rooting for the Allied forces and hoping they stop shooting at each other.

Not all my colleagues are adopting such a passive approach to the war, though. Sir John Poncey, campaigns director with T4-2 (the UK construction industry's own 'allied coalition' fighting 'the war against nepotism and graft' - shortened to 'Twang' - because 'terror' is putting it a bit too strongly) has been inspired to follow the heroic example set by George W Bush and Tony Blair.

Sir John is definitely the right man for the job, having served briefly in the Field Sports Division of the Royal Tweed Jackets and, just like George and Tony, his eyes are set a bit too close together.

Of course, Sir John's not going all out to decapitate the Iraqi regime - he's too old for active service anyway.

But he has come up with a truly awe-inspiring plan to revitalise T4-2's campaign.

It can't have escaped your attention that T4-2 is steadily achieving its objective, so why should we need to revitalise anything? Rationalisation of the 'Rethinking' agenda is now happening so fast, I can barely keep up.

All those 'taskforces' and 'initiatives' that we have fought doggedly to challenge at every turn are now throwing in the towel and letting Peter Rogers manage it all singlehandedly.

There's just one problem: what does T4-2 do when it has won the war? We have to make sure we're there to manage the aftermath.

Hence, at a special meeting last week, Sir John told the T4-2 committee that he was planning our own 'Operation Shock and Awe'.

Sir Michael De'Ath-Breath looked a little puzzled. 'Shock and/or what?' he wanted to know, which stumped Sir John.

Accepting that it was important to provide real choice, we all agreed to have a think about the alternative or complementary effect to 'shock' that we were to offer.

I hope that when the committee meets again on Thursday we might have picked up a few tips from our lads in the Gulf.

NEWS has reached me of China's preparations for the 2008 Olympics.

They're a bit drastic, to say the least.

Working on the basis that construction is a nasty, dirty, ugly business that no visitor to a capital city in the 21st century should have to look at, the Chinese government has decreed that Beijing's construction industry must cease to exist altogether for the duration of the games.

All current construction projects must be completed a full year before the start of the games, so they've got about four years to finish what they're doing at the moment and then a further 12 months to sweep up.

The design competitions for the Olympic stadium, the new airport and about 40 major new commercial projects haven't even been announced yet. British architects will be among the hopeful bidders, but the Chinese Government is a bit off with us at the moment - they say we lack long-term commitment.

Even if that's true, I think we could stretch to four years.