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:
the poignant recollections of those who were present at Hillsborough 20 years ago
the worrying trend of the police to get carried away with their physical presence
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.
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
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.”
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?