Sadly, Lord Whitty, who was to open the show, had to cry off when he saw the cancellations board at the London station. Mind you, he did have pressing parliamentary matters later in the day, so Stephen Byers' troubled rail system completely wrecked his plans. But, happily, most eventually got there. Star of the show was the NFU's ubiquitous president Ben Gill, who stepped in for Lord Whitty and then went on a whistlestop tour, dispensing his own brand of PR for the UK food chain and eating for Britain. But his Yorkshire countenance crinkled into disbelief when, on the Wensleydale cheese stand he was told that the sheep's cheese from his own county was made from ewe's milk that had been shipped across the Pennines from Lancashire. And another star was Asda's deputy chief operating officer Richard Baker who astounded our esteemed editor during an onstage interview by revealing that he read The Sun every morning. Mind you, he's also a Chelsea supporter, so we can't all be perfect! Even so, he could still teach the management at the NEC-based Hilton Metropole Hotel a thing or two. Like, for example, that a half-empty restaurant isn't in fact full' as our panicked maître d' kept insisting. As one little Brummie lad observed while walking through the hotel's giant revolving door with his mother: "Muuum, it's just loik Morrisons." {{COUNTERPOINT }}