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a blog by Chris Barrow

Confidence abounds – if you look

Driving from Falmouth to London yesterday morning was my chance to catch up on Radio 4, the “Today” programme and, thus, judge the mood of middle-England. The usual bad news prevails, of course:

  1. the poignant recollections of those who were present at Hillsborough 20 years ago

  2. the worrying trend of the police to get carried away with their physical presence

  3. the pathetic play-ground behaviour of politicians and their bloggers

But there is a noticeable lightening of the air around the subject of economic performance. The baying for blood in the banking world seems to have exhausted its topicality and I sense a mood of “let’s all just get back to work.” Of special note were three interviews.

  1. the head of Intel – reporting a 26% downturn on business in the first quarter (from a year ago_ – which means that they only sold $7bn of chips in the 12-weeks and made profits of $650m. What I loved (and subsequently tweeted) from this interview was his assertion that, “in a recession we have to focus on efficiency and innovation“,”here, here” and bravo for saying so

  2. a former car worker from Nissan in the North East (his first name was, I think, Sean) who, after 20 years on the production line has retrained and obtained employment as a fitness instructor and swimming pool lifeguard. What impressed me was his sheer determination to “get a job” – and when asked whether he felt bitter or twisted about losing his long-term career, he responded – “no point – these things happen, they have happened before and will happen again – you just have to get on with it.”

  3. An interview on “bullying” with a group of teenagers who have received The Diana Award and especially a young man who was cornered in an alleyway by a group of knife wielding thugs. Asked how he dealt with it – “I decided to take the energy away from them – instead of cowering, running or freezing, I started to bounce around excitedly and talk rapidly about what was happening. I took the initiative and the energy away and they didn’t know how to react.” There’s a lesson in that for all of us.

So what Radio 4 did for me yesterday was a welcome reminder that we are surrounded by success stories and confidence if we simply choose to see that proverbial bottle as half-full. That – an afternoon of brilliant meetings in London and a wonder goal from Ronaldo – who could ask for more?

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