Imperial’s PR machine wallows in the deep end

Arnold the Endangered Newt writes…

Icl Empty Pool.Jpg 81A[3]-1As we all sizzle in 90F something degrees, railway lines buckle and tarmac sticks to our shoes, are you tempted to plunge into six feet of refreshing cold water? Or is that a silly question?

As generations of students, staff and Wye families fondly remember, we have traditionally cooled off together in the College’s outdoor pool. Wye in the summer used to be a happy place, but not this year. Though cheap and cheerful this basic 1960s facility enabled college and village to socialise during long hot summers. Instead in 2006 Imperial used its unerring nose for a PR disaster and did not even bother to fill the pool for their students. And we are told, it will stay closed, so there.

Icl Pool Closed Notice[3]-1We should pity the undergrads who pay serious fees to study at Wye; in return they get ripped off at Imperial’s chronically investment and maintenance-free campus. Pity also the few remaining staff, summer school students and paying users from the village who all face the same indifference. So what’s Imperial’s big problem? For a start they can’t blame the water shortage. Even with a hosepipe ban in force since May, there are no restrictions on filling swimming pools. Actually its quite the reverse as Mid Kent Water’s website proves. As we have come to expect from Imperial’s pathetic PR department, their excuses are still in the ‘dog ate my lecture notes’ category for effort and originality. Lucky for Imperial HEFCE won’t be assessing their PR department next year, so no harm will be done to the five star rating and all important bottom line.

Icl Pr Pool Of Poo[3]-1As you sweat away quietly, wondering what made the water that colour, let your mind go back to January and the ice cold Sir Leszek Borysiewicz trying to impress us credulous bumpkins. Do you recall his tall tales of Imperial’s world class expertise in science and engineering? Only Imperial can operate a nuclear reactor and send satellites to Saturn’s rings he proudly trumpeted. Yeah yeah, but how very strange that six months later, fixing the pool plant is apparently beyond them.

The notice also blames a shortage of staff. Strange again, that with access to tens of thousands of students in London and Canterbury they cannot find a couple willing to work on their suntans and six packs as lifeguards for the summer. Perhaps Imperial will blame the locals for not producing any lifeguards, or are they just punishing us for failing to comply with their vision? Take your pick, in this heat nothing makes a difference, and get used to it, as the caring Sir Leszek once said.

It makes you wonder though. Is Ashford awash with entry level jobs for school leavers? Apparently yes, as none want to be lifeguards; so who exactly needs all the thousands of low paid jobs touted ad nauseam by Councillors Carter, Clokie and Cooling?

Meanwhile Sir Leszek, we the hot and disaffected of Wye would like to know what is really stopping you tight wads at Imperial from opening the pool? We suspect your problem is attitude, not engineering. OK, if we have dealt with that problem for you would like to make a few constructive suggestions for an experiment in public relations.

For a start you could resolve the ‘pool plant maintenance’ issue and hire a couple of lifeguards. Then you do some sums, call 0845 3454 213, speak to the very nice people at Mid Kent Water and order a few water tankers. Sorted! And don’t worry about the cost of the phone call, it’s a low rate number. No Sir Leszek it won’t make you popular around here, but you may be loathed a bit less.

Kcc Cesspool Tanker[3]


About David Hewson

Professional novelist, published in more than 20 languages. Creator of the Nic Costa series set in modern Rome, Pieter Vos in Amsterdam, adaptions of the Sarah Lund stories in Copenhagen, and versions of Shakespeare worked for Audible.
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