Well, I’ve just polished off half a bottle of cheap Sangiovese (disappointing, to be honest) so I’m in the mood to have a rant. And my target is that fluffy metropolitan demon, Boris Johnson….
“Boris (‘dizzy blond’) Johnson created predictable outrage with his recent speech about financial inequality, enterprise and intelligence. It was The Guardian, though, which highlighted the redeeming note of humanity with which he concluded his talk:
“I hope there is no return to the spirit of loadsamoney heartlessness – figuratively riffling banknotes under the noses of the homeless – and I hope that this time the Gordon Gekkos of London are conspicuous” … “for what they give and do for the rest of the population, many of whom have experienced real falls in their incomes over the last five years.”
I’m not an expert on this, but I recall that in the seventies there were many small and medium-sized factories around the UK producing widgets and stuff. A manufacturing facility tends to require people of varying degrees of intelligence, from sweeper-uppers to research chemists; and it may also provide an environment in which people are encouraged to acquire more skills and experience and migrate upwards throughout the firm.
Perhaps if the UK had not so cheerfully abandoned its industrial sector we would not have many of the problems now facing the economy. I’m sure there are lots of experienced managers and consultants out there who can offer evidence to support or demolish my suggestions…”
Of course, this point has been made countless times in the past and with more force and elegance than I could ever muster; but I think it’s still true, and maybe our cousins in Germany have maintained a level of respect for manufacturing and craft skills that we should think about copying.