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This time two years ago, many of us were wondering how (or if) we were going to be able to get out to ISSA/Interclean Amsterdam because the Icelandic volcano that had erupted was spewing out so much ash that it was causing flights to be grounded all around the world.
I think we used the Oleta Adams ‘Get here if you can’ lyrics to draw attention to the many alternatives people were thinking of taking, to ensure that they did not to miss out on this most popular of industry events.
We were delighted that visitor numbers did not seem to be affected by the travel chaos and that everyone we expected to meet up with had made it somehow – however difficult it might have been – and we heard some stories, I can tell you!
It said something for the cleaning industry that we were prepared to slum it to ensure that we were able to fly the flag for our organisations and our industry.
In total contrast, this week the press reported on a £10million deal signed by EU chiefs to fly them around the world in private jets.
Yes - while we hard-pressed taxpayers throughout Europe are struggling to pay our bills, the European foreign affairs supremo Baroness Ashton and other unelected eurocrats will be globetrotting in absolute luxury at our expense.
From this week, the Labour peer will have a choice of aircraft – including a Falcon 7X jet and a Boeing 737 – when she travels overseas on EU business. According to the Daily Mail, Jose Manuel Barroso, president of the European Commission, and Herman van Rompuy, president of the European Council, are among other overpaid and cosseted dignitaries who will benefit from the agreement with Belgian firm Abelag.
News of the deal – believed to be worth up to £10.3million over four years – came as the EU demanded a staggering 6.8% increase in its budget – taking it to nearly £114billion.
Rubbing salt into the wound, Lady Ashton, (who I understand is not required to pay UK taxes on her £230,000 EU salary) last week demanded an extra £23million to run the Commission’s 'diplomatic service' despite having promised that the department would be “budget neutral” when she took up the post of Europe’s foreign minister in 2009.
Diplomatic? I don't think so! What has she and her department achieved in improving international relations in that time?
Not nearly as much as the cleaning industry, I reckon.
3rd May 2012