I can remember times when working-class wages were high in the UK, though we never got up to German or Swedish standards. The UK is now listed as one of the worst places in the world to live, and though I’ve met many ex-pats abroad who agree, it isn’t entirely true. We might think of ourselves as up to our knees in alligators and only just seeing the swamp as the problem. Working-class wages have dropped very badly here, and in a lot of our country there is no decent work for people to get hold of. My father once earned less as a secondary school headmaster than supervisors in the steel and wire factories, and when I was a cop, people with PhDs queued to become binmen and there really were plenty of jobs around, though it was obvious industries were taking big hits. Key ways of getting jobs by turning up on word of mouth and so on have all gone as far as I can see, few of the old working-class ways of my youth are now in operation.
It’s all about to get much, much worse. ConDem may have noticed the swamp conditions, but they seem set to make things worse. We won’t known until after October 20th and the spending review. What I keep seeing in the press looks like more of the denial this country has been in since we competed and cuntilitioned with the Dutch in imperialist trade from around 1300. We never were as good at this as the Dutch, but hid this behind grandiose history-myth. Russian-European imperialism generally has been vile and continues. The US has been no better, though it cornered the market for a while. The Germans would have won through by fabulous industrial science, but fortunately had the most barking aristocracy of all working as government. The Russians, Brits and French meant to get around to hacking up the US between them in 1861, but couldn’t agree the money.
As all business underwonkers know, the SWOT analysis is the answer for every occasion. I knew so little of the marvellous technique when I started management teaching on the basis of substantial experience, I thought SWOT was a misspelling of swat. I’ve actually been at quite senior meetings of our best and bold doing SWOT on UK plc (ltd actually – I’m ancient). We need to do this, but the problems in management are usually nothing to do with baldly obvious solutions like this. You can do all this kind of work and then find yourself presenting the report to Herr Hitler or some prat who pretends to listen for five minutes and then nips off to his private office to screw his new secretary.
We’ve been paying our bankers, cops and public sector workers far too much for two decades, just as we used to pay people in whatever industries that seemed successful too much in the past – people on 8 – 18K excepted. A key weakness in the UK is we never keep enough back for investment, and have never got round to fair pay systems or realistic industrial relations as in Germany and Sweden. We end up with a right versus left thuggery. We build empires rather than trade or manufacturing capacity. We build bureaucratic structures to deal with other bureaucratic structures
History repeats itself so pathetically, that our cops may end up being sacked in droves (good riddance to the idle, under-qualified, rude bastards?) and find themselves armed only with the industrial relations tools of the Tolpuddle Martyrs. Strikes are no answer to much, though we should all remember those who fell and suffered more often than we do, as should our biased media with its war lies focus. Cops might think the current threats to their sinecures are just to get them into a malleable state to do the governments dirty work as others strike. Maybe not this time?
The issue that interests me is why “we” have so little clue as a public about what is going on. We have banks because we didn’t use North Sea Oil and Gas to ‘refit’ the country, we have excess cops who were bound to be useless because of everything Gadget says on the rest of the clown and bottleneck system, and our public sector and benefits problems are bloated because we have banks, not other places to work. We don’t need banks now we have the Internet and I suspect competition in financial services is contrived and generally not needed.
We haven’t done the SWOT, they keep us too uneducated to do it (in principle very easy) and do their own in secret to maintain their interests. The general rule is to remain a chocolate-dipped strawberry eater yourself and develop that ‘confidence’ management developers insist on and means ‘let them eat cake, but send them shit not flour to bake it with – by the time they realise what the ovens are for they will be too weak to protest).
When I left school (Shijuro tosses Hovis onto table and plays air-violin), oil was involved in only 5% of our chemicals industry and by the time I’d studied chemistry at university it was up to 98%. We knew then that we needed to move into other industries, new energies and so on. Forty years on we still just know, and have had people waste lives doing non-jobs, or like me for twenty years, selling our real educational technologies like whiskey to the Indians. There is not a social problem in the UK that is not tainted with our lack of factories, growing technology, energy harnessing and other lacks. Deep analysis might well show our benefits’ bill is 30 times what we think and has been going to rich people and a massive number of jobsworth clerks. We are lacklustre.
I went to school near a big petro-chemical plant, and was a cop in the town built round it for a while. The plant only lasted 10 years – it was easy to copy and was replaced by a much bigger one in Saudi. I used to think new management might save us, but the truth is the UK has long had a dependency culture, one that prevents us changing. The key is the dire fear of losing your job because we are worthless without one. I’m not sure how we got back to this condition or who wants us in it.
SWOT and other management crap I taught and wrote on for 20 years is available in all major languages. It works in some degree, but as your competitors have it it ain’t, like strategic management techniques ain’t, competitive advantage. What we have done is given all thius lnaguage to turkeys and clowns who can soun d sensible using it, even intelligent and knowledgeable to the majority who read Harry Potter as adults and think arithmetic is maths.
There is a lot of new work, not idiot-commie in origin, that could take us into new ventures and practices. It ain’t about business schools – they produce goons who can’t come up with ideas ans will lie for any master. For now, I would just suggest a revolution of laughter.
It’s not that business and management models are somehow new saviours – the problem lies in them being very much not in common sense, even though they aren’t intellectually hard. Idle academics may make them hard to evade teaching more difficult thinking and creativity. Everyone by now has met the vapid, half-taught, half-assed Managerios who couldn’t lead us out of a wet paper bag, but get staff busy writing mission statements, personnel development planning plans, equal opportunities policies, empowerment policies and other crap in our newly committed organisation that feels so strangely shit to work in.
It shouldn’t be rocket science to work out financial services are Sooty’s Magic Wand products and that 20 to 1000 transactions over every vanilla one can’t make sense. It can’t make sense to hire more expensive of cheap cops to sort out crime if the cops are already prevented from sorting chummy out by an idiot court system now designed to help chummies and frustrate and criminalise decent people. It can’t make sense to give people jobs in job centre plus when there are no other jobs. It doesn’t make sense to start paying managers and professionals more and more, or soccer players and the rest – there are salary cap models – and it makes no sense to pay more and more when there is no link at all with success, other than in a form that can be manipulated by those who get the bonuses. I can fiddle most accounts I see for at least three years, and if I get the auditor in on the deal, potentially forever. We fall over and over again for the Emperor’s cast off invisible threads.
There is another way forward, but it’s not in my interests to give it away free. I would, in principle, and in principle Cameron and his boys have some of it in taking away middle class benefits, a bit like HRM Duke of Edinburgh did on MIRAS. This is only at the extracting the piss from the bucket of water stage though. We have yet to establish the extent of middle class benefits or what they really are.
I’m off to a finance meeting at my local Council soon. Their plan is to cut services and poorly paid staff. Sooty’s Magic Wand again. I won’t ask for suggestions on where to shove this implement of middle class benefit thieves, but will no doubt be accused of diversity crime when I add the push to the shove. Sooty was yellow, so I’m probably offending the Chinese.