Back in blighted Blighty

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Martin Moodie
Martin Moodie is the Founder & Chairman of The Moodie Report.

The original sign (Est. 2002) is just about as weather beaten as the company’s founder (Est. 1882) but is a nonetheless welcome reminder of our history.

I’m back in Brentford, just outside London, home to what was then The Moodie Report (since 2015 The Moodie Davitt Report) for many of our 21 years.

I’m alternating my time between here and the little town of Ystradgynlais in South Wales, home to my daughter (and our Chief Administration Officer) Sinead and her husband Adrian and their two children Carys (2) and Iwan (almost five months).

It’s been fantastic to catch up with them and my other three children, long since grown up and all making their way well in our troubled world. I also have important work obligations – actually, I call them privileges – to fulfil.

Last week, thanks to a kind invitation from Coty, I dusted down my penguin suit (I was in an appropriate flap trying to find it in storage here) to attend a wonderful charity dinner hosted by DKMS, one of the world’s leading non-profit organisations dedicated to fighting blood cancer.

We start them young at The Moodie Davitt Report. If you notice a sharp improvement in our writing quality lately, it’s entirely down to the prolific work of Miss Carys Miller aged 2 years and 10 months.

The function was held in the magnificent surrounds of London’s Natural History Museum and raised £1.5 million (US$1.85 million) for the charity.

Coty was a lead sponsor, in line with the company’s long-time commitment to the cause. Coty’s admirable CEO Sue Y. Nabi, whom I had the pleasure of meeting in Cannes earlier this month, was in attendance, serving as Event Chair.

It’s always important to check the seating plan before dinner

On a brilliant evening, there were two standouts for me. One was a sublime performance by Spanish opera singing legend Plácido Domingo (joined on stage at one point by his son Plácido Francisco Domingo). The second came when 11-year-old James Benzel from Nebraska (accompanied by his Mum) met his lifesaving donor, Police Constable Luke Bugdol from Doncaster, South Yorkshire for the first time. There were not many dry eyes in a room packed with 500 people, and certainly not mine.

DKMS doesn’t get such heavyweight support as Coty’s by accident. It is an outstanding cause and supremely well run. It has registered over 11 million stem cell donors worldwide and some 100,000 donors have so far provided second chances at life to patients in over 60 countries. Click here if you would like to become a donor.

In my Interim Brentford and Ystradgynlais bureaus, no tie of any kind, black or other, is required. It’s shorts, flip flops and tee shirt weather, the latter (only) substituted by a business shirt during the many zoom calls and interviews that are now such an integral part of my working life.

It’s good to be back in Blighty as some like to call Britain, though Blighted might be a better term given the state of the nation. I have a distinct sense of déjà vu from my last visit a year ago, with train strikes disrupting transport across the country; energy and food prices soaring; and mortgage rates skyrocketing.

The wretched, long-discredited ruling (as in they make up the rules as they go along) Tory party stumbles from fiasco to fiasco, epitomised in our industry of course by their stupendously inane decision to scrap tax free shopping.

The perversity of that decision is that having (Br)exited the European Union, this bunch of nincompoops are doing everything in their power to ensure international travellers enter it. The EU, that is, instead of the UK. Perhaps the Minister of Tourism, whoever that may be this week, secretly works for France, Germany, Spain and Italy. In which case he is doing a mighty fine job.