As sticklers for good manners, we decided to visit BT Towers at St Paul's yesterday and wish the company's chairman Sir Iain Vallance farewell as he leaves his job today.
It seemed a little rude to turn up without anything, so we bought him some lovely white lillies and a "Sorry to hear you're going" card to present to him. We even wrote him a little poem about his time at BT and fall from grace.
Along with cameraman Lester "Borneo" Haines, we strolled into BT's headquarters and asked the desk to give Sir Iain a bell. Incredibly, the gruff man behind the desk wouldn't have any of it. He wouldn't even call Sir Iain's office (he changed tack at this point and said Sir Iain wasn't even in the building. After a brief discussion, we decided this was a lie).
"But we were hoping to have a pic of us shaking hands with him," I explained, gesturing to the camera Lester was holding. No go. Not even a representative. Fallen at the first hurdle and evidence that BT's security guards, at least, don't believe that it's good to talk.
Nevermind. A quick call to the PR folk in the building and they rushed down. Sadly, Sir Iain wasn't with them but god-among-PRs Michael Wadley offered to accept the gifts on Iain's behalf and even brought a young protégé to liven up proceedings - Andrea "angie" Paradine. The picture was had, beer invitations swapped and we left feeling that we had done our little bit to help Sir Iain in what must a difficult day for him. And that's if he avoids the mobs of rampaging Mayday anarchists.
Here's our soothing message to Sir Iain that we put in the card and the short poem that we'd knocked up in the morning:
Dear Sir Iain,
All of us at The Register are sorry to see you go.
We realise you've not had an easy time of it and our reporting of the many errors made by BT management over the last two years can't have helped. We are, however, bolstered by the knowledge that you will not be too financially disadvantaged by your decision to quit.
We have written you a little poem which we hope will bring you strength in the years to come (see below)
All the best and keep in touch
The Register staff
PS If it's of any consolation, we only ever asked for Sir Peter's resignation. In fact, this card was meant for him but you went first.
A Hard Day's Knight
Dear Sir Iain
We'll miss your presence,
You gave it your all
Despite us peasants
But BT is in dire straits
And you've had to take the fall
Robert the Brace ran off fast
Leaving you and Pete to face them all
It must be hard to be the one
And be scapegoated for so long
People say your foresight was none
But we all know that they're all wrong
Just a shame that shares have slumped
And debt has gone through the roof
To deal with crises, as well you know
You must remain aloof
But we still love you, yes we do
Even though BT in the poo
And we don't think you're a wuss
Our dear president emeri-tus
The only question is: what shall we do for Sir Pete Bonfield when he "leaves"? ®