FOR anyone who has sat through the endearing ordeal that is a primary school nativity play, you’ll be well aware of the organised chaos they can be.

There’s the harassed teacher at the front, wildly gesticulating and prompting lines to a Wise Man who’s far more interested in doing a headstand than presenting the baby Jesus with something called Myrrh.

Then there’s the singing, practised for what must seem to the teachers like months, the strains of We Three Kings done on a discordant register with the one teacher who can play the piano enthusiastically and loudly trying to keep the children somewhere in the same key and within two bars of the music.

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Of course, it doesn’t help if some parents have taught their offspring alternative words to the carol and suddenly half the class is singing about underwear and a scooter.

And why am I telling this festive anecdote?

Lobbying Government can be exactly the same.

We have a primary objective, in the case of the Tees Valley it’s a major upgrade of both Darlington and Middlesbrough railway stations.

Our audience of interested but less than indulgent parents are the Department for Transport and Network Rail, and our teachers trying to co-ordinate things are the local authorities and the mayor.

In order for us to be successful, we have to have a co-ordinated case.

It has to make economic sense, be deliverable and has everyone adding their voice in a loud yet harmonious way, which spells out the economic benefits of making such an investment.

As we move into the new year, this is something we will be asking businesses to help us with.

Investment in the two projects is vital and it is only with a joint and significant effort by the public and private sectors that we will be heard.

Of course, in the school nativity, by the time the class gets to the encore of We Wish You A Merry Christmas, they are all shouting together, the message is received, the teachers are heading for the nearest bottle and the parents are in tearful and relieved applause.

Here’s hoping.

Rachel Anderson is head of policy and representation at the North East England Chamber of Commerce