Maxwellisation…

Yes, the man who fell off his boat makes another ‘appearance’ from beyond the grave. The governance procedure that bears his name is that whereby individuals who are due to be publicly criticised in an official report are sent details of the criticism in advance and are permitted to respond prior to publication. It originated from the Mirror Group oligarch being publicly criticised in 1969 in a report by the DTI that saw him take them to court. The DTI were deemed by the judge to have “virtually committed the business murder” of Maxwell ( as opposed to those mentioned in scurrilous rumour mongering who allegedly ‘took him for a swim’ that night in the Atlantic…) How this piqued my interest was in this week’s reporting of the Chilcot Enquiry, which thus far has enquired yet has after 6 years has singularly failed to report on any of the said enquiries. One of the reasons? Maxwellisation. I am sure that much of the correspondence between a certain foreign head of state and his own British poodle, A Blair do follow a particular theme, “Tone, let’s bomb the bastards”, but due to the machinations of the most senior civil servant in the land, the Chilcot Enquiry will not reveal and we, the public, will never know. Such Maxwellisation would be a useful tool in business, not least estate agency and the completion of a sale. A prospective buyer commissions a home buyer’s survey which if fully disclosed would reveal a damp problem; but due to Maxwellisation, the surveyor does not disclose the issue for fear of upsetting the contractor who installed the damp course. I tell you, if estate agents could invoke the premise of Maxwellisation, it would cut the ‘buttering up the surveyor’ budget by half…

Speaking of upsetting the delicate sensibilities of various parties I refer you to last  week’s blog on the playground battles of property portals. You will be pleased to know that the petty squabbling continues. In November, Cheshire&Co withdrew from using Zoopla as the service was appalling and the data was invariably out of date. Zoopla have drawn their handbags with a flourish, writing to, (what they believe to be) all our landlords (I refer you to my earlier point about out of date data). They have assumed the role of ‘custodian of landlord welfare’, by informing the said landlords that their chosen agent (moi) is not a subscriber to Zoopla and as a result their property is not getting the best coverage to instigate a rental/sale. The landlord is implored to change to an agent that is on Zoopla. Ok, that would be an agent who is on Zoopla and Rightmove, as I have yet to find an agent in our area who is not on Rightmove. After my initial apoplexy, I did laugh. The letters sent to empty rental properties were addressed to “The Landlord”. Mmmm. Dear Zoopla, as they are empty rental properties and you have discovered their existence through looking at the Cheshire&Co website, who did you expect to find the letters? The owner of the property-the landlord- or a representative from Cheshire&Co who manages the property on behalf of the landlord and as part of the management process inspects an empty property on a fortnightly basis? This was a shining example of why we left Zoopla in the first instance. Perhaps I should instigate the Cheshire Enquiry into why so many agents have dropped Zoopla and wonder what steps they would take to invoke Maxwellisation?