Pam the Painter went to her local Sainsburys where paying is all by machine
with a sulky assistant delegated to help the customers when they can’t cope or the machine has a hissy fit. She walked a distance to a bigger branch, thinking she was more likely to have a human to deal with there, and unfortunately it was the same story. “I don’t like machines” she said “they always seem to go wrong, Or I don’t understand them. I’d rather deal with a person. “ I told her the first time I thanked whoever for helping me out with a machine, deprecating my clumsiness, she said cheerfully “Oh that doesn’t matter – they’re always going wrong.”
I don’t like machines.
But nowadays you get what’s going. I have used the automata less than six times where I shop. I prefer people. There is less and less choice and I want to know what will become of all those people when they don’t do that job ?
I am not looking for something to worry about and I know that things go in and out of fashion or become uneconomical in profit terms. But these are people – probably attached to other people (partners, children, dependents), they will have to pay rent or mortgage, eat and equip themselves for the world. As the pool of semi-skilled or hard labour jobs falters,
how to earn becomes a problem. And as it becomes harder to get reliable information in a country once famed for the veracity of its news media, we are only just beginning to talk about unemployment. Hand in hand with recession, I’d say.
Making a decision is one of the casualties of the 21st century. Nobody wants to be wrong and thus unpopular. Aaaaah. But we have all made a wrong decision at some time or another. It’s part of the learning curve of life. Get it wrong, you admit you did, apologise and rethink. This is rarely as easy or comfortable as it is to write but delaying a decision unnecessarily just leads to confusion.
So, however much I recoil from Suella Braverman (nice line in suits) she is not responsible for the mess immigration has become. It is a poisoned chalice she has inherited, it’s been coming for the however many years because nobody wants to make difficult decisions.
If we continue to take migrants of whatever stamp, we have to change the rules. Incoming they have to be registered, given temporary papers for one year only and in that first year they must work at whatever they are given, while we found out about them. And they learn clear, fluent, useful English. Learning English is contingent upon getting the papers. The present system is a mess.
By the same token, we have a whole lot of nationals who can’t work, won’t work, certainly won’t do what they are asked and all of them get far more play than the working poor who have kept the country going for many years.
Having spent an alleged £9 billion on the Chelsea Power Station (most of it from abroad, but an unconscionable sum of money whatever way you look at it) the local property power brokers want to build something similar with lots of twinkly little stores, workrooms and restaurants. I wonder who will have the money to spend in them ? It will be a shopping mall by any other name and they don’t always succeed here. You may have the unusual but you have to have the rest of the chains to keep going, a contradiction in terms. Unused,
they become cold and unsightly, a refuge for rats, two legged and four.
The first time I heard the word “choice” in a political context it was with reference to abortion as in “a woman’s right to choose.” And interestingly this was the second issue in importance after the economy in the US midterm elections. The midterms were not conclusive either way, rather works in progress but they did indicate that people could think for themselves and choose for themselves, and what they thought and chose was not necessarily what any politician waved under their noses. Oh hooray. More of this please.