This was one of those days when (almost) everything went right and I can go to bed happy. Mind you, it didn't start off that way.
I got up earlier than I would have liked to record this week's For the Many podcast with Jacqui Smith. We recorded about 80 minutes before I realised it had all been in vain. The recording had failed to save because the hard disc on my laptop turns out to have been full. Bugger. Only 19 minutes of it saved and there was no time to re-record. It was such a shame because it had been very entertaining given the fact that while we were speaking, a bloke got out of bed in the flat opposite and was wandering around his flat stark bollock naked without giving a damn about who could see him!
At 1.30 I got a cab to Panmure House, the home of Adam Smith, to take part in a panel with Dominic Frisby and Heather McGregor. Heather runs the business school at Heriot Watt university and made it her mission to restore the building to its former glory. It's taken several years and £6 million to do so. She's a fascinating lady who used to own Taylor Bennett. She bought the company for £1.8 million in 2004, built it up from 9 employees to 60 and then instead of selling it for a fortune, gave it to her staff. We each had to give our favourite Adam Smith quote and explain our reasons.
There is no art which one government sooner learns of another than that of draining money from the pockets of the people.
A fascinating discussion on the merits and demerits of taxation ensued, and although I'm by no means an economic expert, I felt I more than held my own. Towards the end, the subject of Brexit came up and I explained why I thought Brexit offered many opportunities as well as posed some economic threats, and we ought to talk more about the economic opportunities rather than just concentrate on the threads as most of the media loves to do. I said I thought that there were huge opportunities for British manufacturing to revive, which provoked a man in the front row to laugh derisively. I asked him why he was laughing, but instead of engage me in argument he said: "Ninety per cent of what you have said is shit." I told him he was incredibly rude, as did several members of the audience. A lady then asked a question about the decline of public discourse. I replied that it comes to something when someone thinks it is acceptable to come to an august building like Panmure House and thinks they can be so rude to a guest speaker's face. Still, at least he's given me the opening paragraph for my new book! I think most of the rest of the audience went home and pre-ordered the book given it's risen rather dramatically up the Amazon rankings today.
The second drama of the day came when Debbie phoned to say: "Now I don't want to panic you but Jess Phillips has had a blow-out on the M6...". Just what I needed - my first 'sell out' guest was in danger of not turning up. To cut a long story short, courtesy of Kwikfit she made it in time and the sellout crowd of 150 certainly got their money's worth. She announced she'd run for leader when Jeremy Corbyn steps down and told us who she'd appoint to the top positions in her team! She was just as entertaining and thought provoking as I thought and hoped she'd be when I booked her.
Then it was over to our second venue for the second show of the day with Yasmin Alibhai-Brown and Kate Adie. To be honest I wasn't sure this pairing was going to work, as I don't think they had ever met, but a couple of our team reckoned it was the best one of the first ten shows. We certainly covered some ground in terms of both topics and their careers and lives. It was a very engaged audience and I was so glad we had recorded it for posterity and to podcast later!
Afterwards I grabbed a bit to eat before going to see my friend Jeremy Nicholas do his show WHAT ARE YOU ON ABOUT at the Surgeons Hall. It was all about how to become a better public speaker and was both funny and informative.
And so ends another day. Tomorrow it's Nicola Sturgeon and Christopher Biggins. How about that for a day of contrasts!