Last year, the National House-Building Council organised an all-expenses-paid junket to Sweden for MPs on the All Party Parliamentary Group on Sustainable Housing, for which NHBC provides a secretariat. Politicians on the jolly included Labour MP Gordon Banks along with the then opposition housing spokesmen Grant Shapps and Lembit Opik.
In an extremely boring corporate video produced following the trip, NHBC’s chief executive Imtiaz Farookhi set out the purpose of the excursion, which encompassed the Swedish capital Stockholm in addition to Malmö on the southern tip of the country:
“We’ve had some very intelligent and searching questions and debate with our parliamentary colleagues. Clearly, that was the objective.”
Scrapbook has been reliably informed that Farookhi’s ambitions for the trip were not shared by some members of the delgation, who were more interested in entertainments on offer after hours. Indeed, Swedish cities would boast a wealth of distractions – not to mention relative anonymity – for British parliamentarians.
Grant Shapps has previously described local authorities as “so dependent on central control that many have developed a case of ‘Stockholm Syndrome’”:
Stockholm syndrome [ˈstɔkːˈɔlm sɪndroʊm] noun
feelings of trust or affection felt in many cases of kidnapping or hostage-taking by a victim towards a captor.
But perhaps Shapps’ own ailment could be described thusly:
Malmö syndrome [ˈmalːmøː sɪndroʊm] noun
when you can’t remember what you got up to with Lembit in Sweden.
Rumour has it that some members of the group were led astray by the former member for Montgomeryshire.
Can readers shed any light on the events of 24-26 September 2009?