Wednesday, September 17, 2008

Deepest, darkest ...

I arrived back today from my week long trip to deepest, darkest southern France. No internet, no phone and completely off the grid for a whole week.

I had a fabulous time.

The food and wine was outstanding, being not only better but also cheaper than the fare served up in UK establishments and supermarkets. Trips like this provide a sobering reflection on how the UK is still fervently rip-off Britain.

The pace of life was slower, more friendly and overall appeared more healthy. There was little of the bling bling narcissism and rap-a-long grotesques which litter our culture.

Concerns over the credit crunch appeared far and few between. Few eyebrows were raised at the news that Lehman bankers, analyst and traders who had gambled and profiteered profusely were about to lose their jobs. However, there was genuine concern for the large number of secretaries, cleaners, security guards and others who would also lose their livelihoods and are probably least able to cope. It was disappointing to note that the UK press seemed only to concern itself with the former, those most responsible for the problems and not the latter, those most likely to be seriously affected.

A week away from reading the popular press shows how the bling bling nature of our lifestyle certainly seems to permeate everything. This lack of caring for the weakest and the worship of all things Mammon is an American import we would do well to lose.

Other imports which we should also consider returning include the abundant slaughter and torture of our language. On arrival back in the UK, I was immediately struck by how many businesses were a "solution" to something.

"SeaFood Solutions", "Coach Travel Solutions" ... the list is endless. However I'm perplexed as to what the problem is that SeaFood is a solution to, and how a coach solves a coach travel problem. This massacre is not however confined to commercial enterprises, as Professor Van Gore eloquently explains in the New Statesman :

"We will broker the skills need of employers and employees within the city at whatever level is required; that is, we do not just concentrate on skills at university level but actually do the necessary brokerage work."

I think he means that they will help graduates find jobs. If only people would take a more simple approach to life, then maybe we would all understand what is going on and the consequences of all this complex financial instrument collapse would never have happened.