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Dinner with the ECA

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Electrical Times was out on the town last night, quaffing port and dropping smoked trout down the shirt front at the Electrical Contractors’ Association’s annual dinner in London.

ECA president, Charles McKinnon’s speech showed how closely the Association is now working with the Labour government. Skills, local authority contracts, procurement, certification, retentions and the Building Regulations are all major ECA concerns.

Just to show how close, the construction minister, Nigel Griffiths MP, was down as the main speaker. He did not turn up. Instead, he sent a pre-recorded video of himself – unfortunately, not quite a blockbuster.

Dealing with government can be frustrating – as McKinnon described – when working on the education and training front.

“We worked, throughout 2003, with the government on the Sector Skills Council. This culminated with the establishment of SummitSkills in December 2003. It has to be said that the government-driven bureaucracy was appalling. We got there in the end but what a wasteful journey,” said McKinnon.

The after-dinner speaker was Sir Clement Freud, ex-liberal MP, raconteur and foodie. He ended the evening with a story about a doctor telling a man he had only eight hours to live.

The man went home and told his wife.

She asked him if he wanted to go to his favourite restaurant.


“Do want to see the final part of The Lord of the Rings?”


“Well what do you want to do?” she asked.

“I want to go to bed and make love all night,” he said.

“Yeah, it's alright for you,” said the wife. “You don’t have to get up in the morning.”

The next ECA event is the annual conference on 9 to 11 May. This year it is in Portugal and always worth attending. Tel 01273 464662 for more information.

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