‘The British are among the worst idlers in the world. We work among the lowest hours, we retire early and our productivity is poor. Whereas Indian children aspire to be doctors or businessmen, the British are more interested in football and pop music.’
So wrote Priti Patel, Home Secretary, in her book Britain Unchained. Her co-authors were Kwasi Kwartang, Domonic Raab, Chris Skidmore and Liz Truss… you’ll know who they are.
The up-sum of the book is; free-market economics and we should be more like Canada, Japan, Israel, the US and most of Asia.
The book has several factual errors and seems to have been written without any serious research.
The writers are a group of celebrity politicians who appear beguiled by power, but without much thought of what to do with it.
Patel was recruited into the political hemisphere by Andrew Lansley…
Patel is in a spot of bother, she said there is an abundance of economically inactive people ready to step into the working shoes of migrant labour.
This was wrong. So wrong the BBC felt moved to put her straight.
Writing books, talking policy, making claims… it appears, if you are a politician, unnecessary that they are founded in truth. How times have changed.
Patel’s got herself into another mess by equating low-skilled and low paid workers… that brought a Twitter-storm down her way.
Priti, meet Jade. Jade was writing last week. Not a book. Jade was busy on Twitter. She told us;
Came to see this lady today. When I walked in she said “I didn’t have anything to get out of bed for today but now you’re here I’m so excited.”
Later Jade added another Tweet;
‘Nursed a patient today that was so depressed they’d lost the ability to wash or feed themselves.
Spent over an hour bathing them and talking through their emotions.
I may not have a degree, but being a care assistant is NOT unskilled.’
There are all sorts of skills. The skill of an artist to turn paint into a portrait. The skill of a hairdresser to make you look good. The skill of the mathematician to make the calculations that took a man to the moon and brought him safely home.
The skill of a surgeon to pluck a cancer from deep inside a brain. The skill of the footballer to curve a ball into the top of the net. The skill of yer Mum to make Yorkshire Puds rise like clouds.
The skill of a human to reach out, one to another… in extremis, in a slough of despond, at the end of life. To wash them, tenderly and with love. For a moment in time, wash away their cares. In an intimate moment touch their skin, their life and their soul.
To preserve their dignity, give them back themselves, their belief and bathe away their fears and sadness.
Weigh those skills against the mathematician, the artist, the sportsman, the surgeon… of course you can’t. There is no comparability calculation worth the numbers.
To each is born their skills and each must make what they will of them. If those skills can lighten a burden, soften a landing, guide a pathway, who is it that dare belittle them because through politics, policy, neglect and ignorance they are paid less for their skills than the next person.
Put a price on the skills of the soft balm of bathing the frail, the sick, the end of days and there wouldn’t be enough money in the world.
News and Comment from Roy Lilley