As the Christmas holidays draw nearer, Aurelia and I have decided to adopt the controversial FIFA model which chose the venue for the World Cup to decide where we should spend Christmas Day. We are aware that this model has been widely criticised but we believe it has merit.
We have four grown-up children who are anxious to host this important family fixture, two of whom have not yet had that privilege. Like FIFA, we are prepared to consider new venues, so long as they meet the necessary criteria, are safe and environmentally friendly, and have the infrastructure in place in good time for the event.
There has been some criticism from the bidders about the decision-making process, with disparaging remarks about the age of the self-appointed judges, who have been in post for over 40 years and who cannot be dismissed. Investigative reporters are alleged to be doing work on the story with a view to imminent publication.
During the year, we have familiarised ourselves with the prospective venues. As we did so, we noticed a conspicuous absence of inducements –in particular, there was no handbag for the wife or visits to nightclubs for me. We asked about private sponsorship to help defray the costs of the event and were shown some vouchers from the local pizza restaurant, offering modest discounts on purchases. We asked searching questions about how our visit might assist the cause of regeneration, and promote a better understanding between host and visitor. We also asked about the legacy of the bid, but I fear our children misunderstood the context in which we were talking about legacies. Technical reports have been commissioned, together with an analysis of where past Christmases have been held, together with any lessons learned.
We were impressed by the joint bid from Daughter No 1 and Son No 1 who occupy neighbouring properties. If one venue were unfortunately to be vandalised, another would be readily available. With five children between them, crowd control was an issue they were comfortable with.
The children will be summoned to our home shortly for their final powerpoint presentation. We are not aware that any of them will be accompanied by royalty, and so far there is not a lot of media interest in the event. Our diaries have been cleared for bilateral meetings throughout the night before and we will then use the alternative vote procedure to decide the winner. With two judges and four venues, we anticipate that the result will be known quite soon and that the losers will be consolable.