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Of all he surveys

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Lord Hollick, the chosen successor to Elliott Bernerd as chairman of the South Bank Centre, is an effective operator not without his critics.

Naturally the Tories have jumped on a 'Tony crony' campaign, but they are probably barking up the wrong tree here. A shrewd businessman who sold the Daily Express newspaper title to pornographer and New Labour supporter Richard Desmond, Hollick has a dislike of alcohol on working premises, which has earned him the nickname 'Alco' Hollick. Actually anyone prepared to take on the South Bank deserves all our support. Apart from anything else, he will have to deal with Lambeth council. The speed at which this council works can be judged by what has happened to a simple application in respect of the Royal Festival Hall entrance. This has now been with Lambeth for two years without a result in sight. Perhaps it is because the development director is a librarian.

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