Staff at lobbying firm GPC Market Access, fresh from their
successful takeover of public policy consultancy Prima Europe, shut
their London office down last Thursday and took themselves off to France
for a four-day weekend.
I hear the purpose of this staff retreat was brainstorming and
It chose the less than idyllic location of Lille, the grim heartland of
France’s stagnating steel, coal and textile industries, whose main
attraction for Brits must be the two-hour Eurostar ride from Waterloo -
at least a shorter journey time than travelling up to Bradford.
Outgoing MD Mike Craven and new MD John Dickie were in Lille to provide
thoughts on issues like the company’s new name; Prima’s legal status
within GPC; and the position of Lord Taverne, whose roles as a sitting
peer and staff member of Prima conflict with the code of conduct of the
Association of Public Policy Consultants’, of which Market Access is a
While Lille might not be as alluring as other Eurostar destinations,
such as Paris or Bruges, there is at least one good reason for going
Its reputation as a European beer haven is second only to Munich’s.
Surely this couldn’t have influenced GPC’s decision.