Tuesday, 15 December 2009

The Greater British Public

It never ceases to amaze me how, in democracies, people decide to exercise their democratic freedoms at the most inopportune time and to the greater detriment of a community of people or even a nation.

It beggars belief that as we enter into the second winter of recession, that the cabin crews of British Airways should, in effect, hold the country to ransom. People do not take to kindly to this. My generation remembers only too well the crippling effect of endless strikes that marred this nation in the 1960s, 1970s and 1980s until, that is, Margaret Thatcher entered Downing Street. For all the things that Mrs Thatcher misjudged, we can safely say to Baroness Thatcher today that overall she was the right person, the right leader for that time, for that hour.

I hope that the British Public will let its feelings be known to cabin crews, that whilst we may well sympathise with them, to act in the rather selfish way as we see today, means that we will, if we are not careful, watch the decline of BA as valuable flights and customers are lost to rival airlines.

I do not take kindly to trade union opportunism, the bully boy tactics of the old TUC rearing its ugly head again, and a small group of people causing misery to an entire island.

On the radio this morning, one respondent put it thus: 'cabin crews should remember that they have jobs and be thankful for that; many more are still unemployed and would give anything to swap places.' [sic]

Yes. That hits the nail on the head. For I am mindful of that curious dictum that always pervades. People threaten to walk out, to hold a pistol to one's head unless demands are met, and so on. My own view as a manager over the years has been - 'okay, go on. Walk out. There will be at least half a dozen people waiting to fill your place.'

And do you know? Every time I've ended up with even better people.

So the cabin crews and their up market colleagues in the banking industry should remember this. When I listen to or read the pages of doom and gloom, that if banks are not permitted to pay tax free bonuses to their big earners etc then the earners will leave these shores and will never be able to replace them, then that Churchillian line comes to mind: "Do your worst, and we will do our best!"

The Music Industry is another area that worries me, namely, the loss to which countless musicians, artists, lyricists, performers all over the world are losing income because of pirate recording and illegal downloading.

I guess I feel this on two counts. One because of my friend in New Zealand, a highly accomplished artist and performer who writes incredibly moving music and has a voice that reaches to the soul, and because of my own experience over here of seeing so many authors finding that their work is admired but somehow obtained for free, leaving them out of pocket or even at a loss.

So I earnestly hope that the international community will be able to do something to overcome this problem. If you want to listen to music or read a book and you cannot afford to purchase it, be humble, and join the library near you. Don't just find another way to hack in or pinch ideas from others. Students reading this especially should be aware of how serious the matter is, for in Universities and Colleges the world over, the most grevious act is that of plagiarism. We as a people are doing just the same when we try to download for free, unless of course the owner is inviting us to do so.

It is a great shame that people pinch the ideas of others, or ride roughshod over copyright or even dare to claim that one's work is their own or that some intellectual property owned by A is in fact the property of themselves, B!

Let us remember with solemnity the war we are fighting in Afghanistan. Earlier this week the one hundredth British soldier was killed. Earlier this evening (Tuesday 15 December)two more soldiers were killed by a suicide bomber.

This is a deadly war but one that we can not walk away from.

It saddens me that President Obama saw fit to accept the Nobel Peace Prize. It is not yet deserving of a President so recently in office and yet to prove himself.

Let us move forward together and for those of us who are in employment to count our blessings; to work hard, doubly or even trebly hard to enable this great nation, ie the British People, to overcome the deficit we are in, see an end to the recession and to look confidently to the future.

On last evening's BBC Sports Personality of the Year we watched a pretty amazing programme. Ryan Giggs deserves his Award. Marvel too at just what we have achieved in all sports this year. And what a grand sight the Women's England Cricket Team made in their outfits. Quite something.

Kenneth T Webb
Liverpool CityLife

15 December 2009