As you will know if you read my blog, I was at MIPIM last week. As the organiser of Team Nottingham – and having been born here (and spent all of my working life here) it’s not difficult to see where my allegiances lie. But, my firm have a Derby office and we sponsor (as well as Team Nottingham) some of the Derby City presence.
Their day was Wednesday last week, with a breakfast and formal dinner. My firm paid for the latter. It was a smallish affair, 15 people, including the Chief Executive of the Council, Council Leader and a number of others.
There were some interesting discussions – civilised mostly – but heated in part.
The Leader of the Council, Philipa Hickson, challenged the room asking why none of us sought political office – it seems we snipe at those in such position, but rarely put ourselves forward. Fair point. Although I might suggest that of you can’t stand the heat perhaps you shouldn’t be in the kitchen.
There was then a challenge to Derby – asking why, despite the D2N2 LEP, the two cities didn’t work closer together more often. The example was that Nottingham had the Enterprise Zone and Derby had won some Regional Growth Fund monies – why didn’t the two Cities put that offer together and ‘market’ it to a wider audience.
Cllr Hickson response was whether Nottingham wanted to share in his RGF pot. He said that Nottingham had not let him forget that they had won the money. In the next breath he expressed his dismay at why Nottingham had been selected for the EZ, “Nottingham get more than their fair share”.
So my response to him about his earlier challenge was that his view of the EZ / RGF position was why I would’t do politics. This polarised view is something we don’t do in business.
In defence of him and his Council, I can see that they were seen in previous years as the ugly sister, but I don’t see this today. And I think that Nottingham and Derby do miss out by not working together. But don’t expect that to change anytime soon … unless the Leadership changes… And then perhaps the rivalry is so deep rooted that it will be generations before the two City’s collaborate.