Just come back from a good break in Hungary. It's always a good place to go for the summer - good climate, decent food and drink, and friendly people. Like all of Europe there's a certain amount of gloom about, but the relatives' business making polypropylene baler twine still seems to be thriving.

Back in the UK, there still seems to be paralysis in the public sector. For local economic development, the main game in town seems to be Local Economic Partnerships. Local authorities in the North East, seem to have lost the plot, however. We have five different bids, including one for Durham which is just... Durham (partnership with what?). It seems a great shame that local political leaders cannot see the advantage of cooperation in a strategic body, particularly when we will be competing with bodies which represent Leeds City Region and Greater Manchester, both bigger than the whole North East.

Let's hope that the government bangs some heads together and we get an organisation which can actually achieve something.