Starting with yesterday, a pleasant thirty minutes at lunchtime at the GMITA (Greater Manchester Integrated Transport Authority) Christmas bash, and as you would expect at any event under the auspices of Councillor Keith Whitmore, the food (at MOSI) was good too.
Then to Warrington and more weighty matters, a meeting of the RST. Even I don't know what that stands for except the R is for Regional and it is a meeting between the RDA, GONW, HCA, RHA, and the Regional Leaders Board. The main item is to agree the consultation draft of the new all-singing, all-dancing Regional Strategy, the document that will amongst other things replace the Regional Spacial Strategy and the Regional Economic Strategy. There are four big themes, climate change, competitiveness, people and skills, and quality of place and a number of big, difficult questions we are looking to answer. Still awake? I hope so because this document is important - so much so people that have begun to lobby on it before it's even finished - and it will be out in the New Year and will hopefully stimulate real debate about the future of the North West.
More good cheer at Sir Gerald Kaufman's Christmas Party starring as ever Gerald himself and the French Quarter New Orleans Jazz Band. Have to leave after the bingo just two numbers short of a full house.
This morning is a short tram ride to Bury for AGMA Executive. This is normally the last Friday in the month but for some reason it's been moved forward a week this month. We formally ratify the City Region Agreement with government and regional minister Phil Woolas comes along to sign on behalf of HMG. The level of devolution we will get will depend on new governance arrangements and there is a positive discussion though not yet unanimity on this. Everybody is very friendly, but the Manchester family like any other can fall out big style. Not today! An interesting item is a report from the Business Leadership Council on what we are doing to help larger companies in the city-region. On the whole it's very positive but does make some recommendations on how we could do even better. We've promised them a response by February.
So much good cheer about might go to the pub (it is 5pm on a Friday night so I'm not ducking off early).