Sunday, 14 February 2010

Blunkett's Johannesburg trip

If our favourite minister is Jim Knight, our favourite ex-minister must be David Blunkett MP, who was once Secretary for Work and Pensions then went on to work for A4e. The Times carries a piece today about a trip he took to Johannesburg in South Africa in 2008 on behalf of A4e. The story isn't about his job with A4e; it concerns the fact that he turned up at the airport with his son only to find that the travel agent had failed to book the tickets; so "an embarrassed Blunkett contacted Julia Simpson, director of corporate communications at British Airways, who was previously his head of press at the Home Office and an adviser to Tony Blair. She arranged for him and his son to board the plane without tickets. They were given upgrades from premium economy to club class for the trip to Johannesburg and from premium economy to first class on the return leg. Blunkett’s travel agent went on to pay £4,468 for tickets for him and his son that were worth £12,676." Well, why not use your contacts?
As the story continues: "Blunkett, who is leading Labour’s attempts to raise £10m for the general election campaign, made the trip on behalf of A4E, an employment and training firm. It pays him £30,000 a year to act as an adviser. It paid the £4,468." The trip was obviously successful. A4e's South Africa website describes how they are "Bridging the skills gap - City Of Johannesburg". "We are working with the municipality," they say, "as they prepare to issue a tender for the delivery of a Welfare to Work program for 10,000 unemployed people, through the Jobs Pathways programme following a pilot."


  1. The mere idea of expecting the Sheffield Stallion to fly premium shocks me. That's my boy!

  2. According to the BBC News website unemployment in South Africa is 25%. And their economy is forecast to grow by some 2.3% this year. Perhaps A4e have a magic wand?


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