The first thing I did when I heard that Scottish Secretary Mike Moore was heading to Brazil this past weekend was to fire off a strongly worded e-mail to a member of his staff which went roughly along the lines of:
“You jammy *******s, are you going to the Grand Prix?”
It may have been more polite than that – but not much.
You see, I knew it was the final race of the F1 season at Interlagos yesterday – and I know that our Mike is a bit of a motorsport fan. And much as this blog is a big fan of his, the very thought of him mixing with the likes of Mark Webber and Michael Schumacher brought me out in a hysterical and jealous rage. Or as much like that as I ever get, anyway.
Sadly for him, though, he was around 300 miles north east of the F1 action yesterday, in Rio de Janeiro – and, sadly for F1 fans, he seems to have attracted the rain that had promised to disrupt the race. The BBC’s Tim Reid complained via Twitter that it was too wet to interview Mike after they’d all traipsed up to the Christ the Redeemer statue.
Tim has also posted a photograph of the famous Copacabana beach which seems to have weather more usual for Gullane at this time of year.
The serious point of all of this is really to say how good it is that Mike as the representative of the UK Government is leading this drive to give Scots business a much needed boost. Just this week, they expect to bring deals worth £3 million back to Scotland and make many more new contacts opening up a huge potential market for Scottish companies.
Mike Moore is keen to use the fact that Scotland and Brazil are hosting many major international sporting events over the next few years as a unique selling point to create bonds between the countries, as the BBC reported over the weekend.
I’m hoping that Scottish businesses will feel the benefit of this trip for a long time to come.