Yikes! There are now only six working days to MIPIM. I am beginning to panic a little, and my dance card is seriously getting filled up.

But I was delighted to receive an invitation from Nick McKeogh of New London Architecture to chair a session on the NLA Stage of the London Stand on “UK Cities” on Thursday at 16.45. Mark Barrow of Birmingham Council, Jonathan Guthrie of Edinburgh Council, Pat Bartoli of Manchester Council and Peter Bishop of the London Development Agency will be debating the rival merits of UK cities and the prospects of economic growth for each. Naturally, as this is the day after the Reed MIDEM official conference events on UK Cities and the Mayor’s Think Tank (see this blog February 23) I will clearly be well prepared, and uber-informed, from the Chair. Along with all the issues we will have been debating the day before, I’ll be interested to find out what the other senior representatives from major UK cities make of the comparative lack of progress on the Local Enterprise Partnerships thus far established for London, when one looks at the rest of the country. Of course, the profound question here is: does it matter? And I’ll be interested to see what the panellists make of the double benefit being conferred to the London economy in the shape of Crossrail and the Olympics 2012 (and its legacy of course). This should be another excellent and provocative session, and I am thoroughly looking forward to it.

The London Stand is a bit of a MIPIM institution really, and the organisers are to be congratulated for having surpassed themselves again this year, the UK Country of Honour year. They have created a thing of real value for the UK capital city. There is a very full programme of events and the London Stand exhibition space is full yet again. They currently have 257 companies and 733 delegates coming with them for 2011, and I understand they are still receiving late recruits! Not surprising really, with over 50 leading figures speaking, the London Pavilion is one helluva place to do business at MIPIM. The programme includes Boris Johnson, Mayor of London, as well as Simon Milton, the Deputy Mayor, and every leading developer and investor together with leading lights from the local authorities. To paraphrase Dr Johnson, “When you’re tired of London, you’re tired of life.” It would be a shame if you spent your entire MIPIM in the London Pavilion, but it would be understandable!

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