Saturday, 18 April 2015

My Word is My Bond?

This is about trust and money. Big, small and indifferently large into the bargain.

It seems to all come down to credit in small businesses in the UK. Everything is fine until the dredit check and then you know, sadly, that despite the immense and knowing trust you have with your bank manager, the credit check says no. It does this because as a small business it is inevitable that you have had to try and enjoy some flesh of working capital on the bones of your business - where banks are concerned: you've tried borrowing as you used to in previous decades, but the computer says no.

This equally applies to business large and new, old and timely, via Experian and other credit checkers. Where every other business is concerned, everything to do with available money is so short-term that 'they' only check for the last year of your business, if you are extremely lucky. Usually three weeks of a bad time is enough. Then it's definitely no. Go elsewhere or die; it's on the State.

This is decimation by numbers, defecation by elephant; but nothing as easy and good as the last two kennings.

It is not easy to describe what banks do to the very people who make them work, except execrable and all anagrams pertaining to this last word. Ex-Crab EEL, for example!

In their past lives it is just possible that this form of non-usury usurpation was not much different to the slime-mongers I once fished for in the Ex Estuary. Happily.

When I had the privilege of writing, or at least in part designing, the Lord Mayor of London's speeches, back in 1988, Sir Christopher Collett (Glover) and the City he rightly loved operated on the age-old motto, My word is my bond.

I so operate - and "always will I fit the glove"*.

*The Mark of the Fool, Outpost Publications, Giles Emerson, 1977

PS. Limited edition of 600, I'm afraid.

Thursday, 16 April 2015

What happens to you happens to me

As a father of children and a husband too, I have found it useful to make my commitment and support, particularly the latter, absolutely clear. When my eldest daughter was young and visiting me at my home in the Shropshire borders, after a painful separation with her mother, I once said to her, “Just remember, when you are thinking of me, I am thinking of you.” 

It’s a simple kind of assurance and might fetch all kinds of response in a five-year old’s mind. A little gentle and occasional repeating might have helped the idea to take hold.

But what is the extent of the idea? Actually it is massive. To a Christian, for example, it might be a way of understanding one’s personal relationship with God, the imputation being that God is the father and this is what he might wish to say. No harm in thinking this at least, for anyone can think anything about God at any time and – as Christian belief lets us imagine – He’s there to respond.

To a manager with a few very real people to manage, the idea but not the same words might be translated another way. You can think of what words to use. There are many versions one might figuratively employ to get this kind of supportive message across. 

For example, if I don’t understand you, you don’t understand me. If I don’t offer you guidance and support and show you the ropes, then vice versa – for the guidance and the teaching between any two people is always reciprocal.

Or, if you are a young man contemplating a punch in the face in a difficult situation, you might bite your lip and battle down your fear with the thought that if I punch him, I will also punch myself. 

Note the slight change of key in this curious song; I’ve moved from the mutual to the self-reflexive. This is because a progressive way of learning how to be human in a difficult world is first to learn, then to absorb the learning, and perhaps, when recognition of some kind of truth dawns, to take it to heart.

Saturday, 4 April 2015

An Ode to Cameron: 

Working families

I sometimes feel that David Cameron has got hold of the megaphone by the wrong end. 

Working families? Need I say more? There are families all across Britain; some work hard, some live hard but few play hard. And despite the fact that we have a prime minister who, most certainly, by dint of his profession and multiple achievements, works very hard indeed, I wonder at his perspective.

There are those among us who work very hard without the love and rife of family life – they have nothing and no one but they may have work; or they have nothing and no one and no work or too little truly to make ends meet.

This, our beloved country, is full of single people; some may be sufficiently wise and accomplished, and God-given, to love and cherish their singleness and endeavours; some may not be so happy and not all, as said, may be working, many for reasons not of their own making or, as the saying goes, beyond their control.

Every living being – and not just hereabouts but all about this very singular sphere – works hard to survive in his or her own way given their circumstances, life choices, lot, and aspirations; and whether or not they are part, apart, partitioned, patriots, parrots, purposeless or parboiled.

What, then, is the right end of the megaphone? It's the bit, surely, that starts with the quality of an idea and ends with vital simplicity, spreading itself of its own accord. 

What then would I advise a politician to do when he seeks re-election? Look and learn, listen and learn, act on your learning, grow in your understanding, do something from your heart and the full passion of your being - none of which starts or ends with policy. Imagine your life is a day - and look forward to the next.