Who Are “The Left”?

I went to a very interesting discussion the other night. It was held at Ruskin College, where I start a history degree in September and there were some very interesting people there as well as ordinary members of the public like me. The topic was, “What Happened To The Working Class?” Apparently they didn’t disappear upon purchase of their council houses under The Great Handbag.

What really struck me was the strongly held belief amongst some of the, admittedly self selecting, audience about some sort of non-specific and ill-defined conspiracy against the Working Class/Left. Apparently PR firms are all and only engaged in the suppression of the Working Class. All PR firms. This doesn’t really tie with my first hand experiences of PR firms, but the individual that held this belief was adamant. There is a Right Wing conspiracy and PR firms exists to help make the evil more palatable. Then again; his solution for most of the ills of society, which are visited upon society by the evil capitalist Right Wing establishment, can be fixed if we were to all man-up (should that be person-up in a modern enlightened institution?) and revolt. Revolution is the cure, end of discussion.

As there wasn’t even agreement in the room as to what constituted the working class it was a rather pointless circular discussion IMHO. When the Marxist philosopher explained a Marxist definition as “those that don’t control the means of production”  as the definition there was further debate as that didn’t really do when you try and equate a surgeon with a dustman. There was a quiet discomfort at the suggestion, which made me wonder if this wasn’t a social and wealth based distinction as much as a technical one about who controls the means of production.

The Right don’t need to conspire and hide behind PR firms, they just need to sit back and keep their powder dry. The Left seem perfectly able at suppressing themselves by engaging in endless internal bickering and that makes a revolution very hard to organise.

Perhaps the right are just as bad? In fact, I am sure there are constituents of the Right that bicker endlessly over the minutiae.

Chuck the promise of influencing personal wealth, the ability to choose how to spend ones own resources, responsibility for your own decisions, low taxes, a light touch state into the mix and that sure focuses people’s minds enough to organise themselves into action. I think it’s called Capitalism. After all, the Soviet Union worked out well for the working classes, didn’t it?

You Know When You Know

In a totally out of character move for me I actually gave this post some joined up thinking before I put finger to keys. At least 30 minutes. Really; most posts are just stream of consciousness outpourings of opinion, so expressed in percentage terms it is a hell of a difference.

For the past 3 or so years I have been going back and forth with the founder of a small process improvement management consultancy. It’s never been the right time for some legitimate reasons. Now it is right for him and so wrong for me. It’s flattering to be wanted, I guess.

As dry as this topic sounds it was something I gave a lot of thought to when I had Only Organic. It was not about selling veg it was all about fulfilment of a perishable product. Screw it up and you’ve spent money. Process improvement, get it right and you save money. The role we have been discussing is also interesting because it plays to my strengths of enthusiasm for using technology and business development.

<<- as a total aside, I am sitting in a nice cafe in Oxford with good WiFi, and at the table beside me are two people that are struggling to have a conversation. Obviously not boyfriend and girlfriend and he is less interested that she is. It is alternately fascinating and annoying and great fodder to write about. She has a nasty antipodean grate which was hard to place until the mention of going home to live in Wellington. Moaning about the price of everything, the weather, the inconveniences etc etc. As hard as I am trying not to earwig, which is helped by her being partially unintelligible as her voice makes a sharp upturn at the end of every sentence and pens are pins etc etc, I have gathered that she went to London, didn’t like it but spent £100 seeing two ghastly sounding musicals. She then shared with the poor long-suffering chap that she was tempted to look inside the Savoy and see how the other half live etc etc… I fought back the urge to explain that it would have been far more enjoyable to spend her £100 on a decent lunch at the Savoy rather than on  The Lion King etc… There is a strong urge to lean over, give her a tenner and invite her to fuck off home where it is so wonderful. Since I am being a bitch then, in the interests of completeness, she has a moustache that I’d be proud of. Really, I can’t look over as I will just be staring at the facial furniture. I know, I am going straight to hell for being an insensitive prick. I have come to terms with that long ago. ->>

I drove home from the meeting with the MD and the FD with the agreement to start in July. I have decided to write to Peter – the MD – as I just cannot  pass the opportunity to do this degree. Chance of a life time and all that. People keep asking me what i’ll do with a History degree. The truth is that I have no idea. What I do know is that I’ll go down unknown avenues and meet interesting people. From that I am sure opportunity will present itself.

In the meantime I get on well with the lads at the local bike shop to the point where for a couple of pack of Hob-Nobs – why does this sound like the start of Jimmy Savile style tale? – I can use the workshop and store my bike there. They are around the corner from my new gaffe in Jericho and an ideal job would be working there. I have shared this with the owner and he didn’t fall about laughing. What a great job to dovetail around being a stoodent. I must drop by soon, eat biccies, drink tea and try again to be hired…

PS: being on a computer with several tabs open I skipped across to an Indy interview with the Rev. Richard Coles. He is a bit of a meeja vicar and made a v. pithy remark to the reporter that I think fairly sums up this blog: “We frequently sail perilously close to the banal…”