I arranged a school visit today for Dave from Head Office. Morag came along too. It’s a likeable school with a likeable Headteacher and an exquisitely creative approach to teaching poor kids from a sprawling council estate on the fringes of a culturally barren city in the North East of England.
All boxes ticked.
Dave is a thoroughly decent, uncomplicated, chap. I’ve always admired his straightforwardness: family car, wedding ring, sensible haircut, Blue Harbour wardrobe. Dave, to his credit, can be relied upon to tell the truth.
Morag had rewritten the agenda for the day – so that I could talk through the creative highlights of the current programme with Dave over lunch at The National Clay Pipe Centre. She would then get strategic with Dave in camera elsewhere.
Thankfully, Dave’s straightforwardness won out and he got strategic over lunch.
‘The consultation process will begin in June and we are planning to issue redundancy notices in July.’
I had been preparing for this moment and remained unfazed. Morag went very red in the face.
I suspect that she would have preferred to have the power of the redundancy knowledge in her back pocket as leverage for several weeks. She could then maintain her approach of going out to meetings all day every day, after an early morning ‘high importance’ email to me overhauling my priorities and To-do list with an urgency that wouldn’t be out of place in a war situation.
In fact, she observed last week that what I needed was a war map with miniature schools and artists in place of tanks and warships. This was in order to plan and monitor our work. I countered that she would derive much more enjoyment from a war map. I stopped short of suggesting that it should be housed in a bunker – a considerable distance from the office.