Office of the Governor
Governor Deval Patrick is in England, not Italy, yet there is an aura of Rome-burning-while-Nero-is-fiddling to his trade mission events and communications after Fidelity Investments announced Tuesday it's closing its Marlborough offices and costing Massachusetts over 1,000 jobs in the process.
The first week of Patrick's international trade mission produced no job deals, despite him touring Israel with such heavyweights as New England Patriots owner Robert Kraft.
Since the weekend, the immediate benefits of the trip have become even more imperceptible, as the governor has visited a World War II cemetery, taken a tourist's trip to the House of Commons for "question time," and held a series of meet-and-greet meetings with members of Parliament.
The purpose for the latter, according to a gubernatorial statement, was "to discuss growing economic opportunities between the UK and Massachusetts."
All the while, Patrick withheld issuing a statement on Fidelity's decision, delegating the duty to the acting governor, Lieutenant Governor Timothy Murray. Murray said the state was "disappointed" at the job cuts and would offer assistance to displaced workers.
Aides initially said the governor's busy schedule had kept them from reaching him or getting him on the telephone with Boston reporters. By late afternoon today, they put him on the phone with the Globe for what an aide said would be a two-minute conversation. It ended up lasting only slightly longer than that.
In the aftermath of the announcement, the governor did not jump on a plane to make any sort of direct appeal for the company to reverse its decision.
Instead, he remained in England on Tuesday, where he attended a ceremony to sign an agreement securing an exchange of stem cell bank best practices, participated in a roundtable discussion with biotech officials, and took the cemetery tour.
On Monday, his staff trumpeted his two meetings with the US ambassador to the United Kingdom, although Lou Sussman may be less known as diplomat than he is as the Chicagoan who raised a lot of campaign cash for Patrick's good friend, President Obama.
Patrick's staff also notes he met with the CEO of Lloyd's of London, and held an economic roundtable discussion with representatives of the financial services industry.
Today, as Marlborough reeled from a blow to its tax base, Rhode Island reporters highlighted their state's efforts to expand Fidelity's presence, and the Massachusetts Senate announced it would investigate the company's decision, Patrick went to his Twitter account and wrote, "Attended Prime Minister's Questions & later met Speaker of the House of Commons Bercow."
An earlier tweet read: "Met with Members of Parliament this morning in London."
One press release highlighted his economic partnership meetings with members of Parliament. Another one today echoed the governor's tweet.
It was headlined, "Governor Patrick Attends Prime Minister Questions; Meets with British-American Parliamentary Group."
About Political Intelligence
Glen Johnson is Politics Editor at boston.com and lead blogger for "Political Intelligence." He moved to Massachusetts in the fourth grade, and has covered local, state, and national politics for over 25 years. E-mail him at firstname.lastname@example.org. Follow him on Twitter @globeglen.