Workin’ the whole day through
Tryin’ to find lots of things not to do
I haven’t blogged for ages and here’s why: this post-pandemic world is in such a pitifully grim state that I felt incumbent not to depress you further.
We have the ghost of Covid still clinging on, fuelled by the hysterical paranoia of obsessive mask wearers and elbow nudgers.
We have the war in Ukraine – a war that we did not cause – and a war which is costing us billions.
We have hyperinflation … mainly caused by the war in Ukraine.
We have strikes, and we have airport chaos.
It’s cheaper to fill you car up with Polish Vodka than it is to fill it with petrol.
And that’s just to start with.
So why the blog, you may be wondering … and there again, you may not?
It may not surprise you to learn that I got banned from Facebook last week.
Well I did.
I was banned for a day for using “Hate Speech”.
Me? This normally mild mannered, egalitarian, compassionate contemporary commentator?
So what did I say?
I said that most of the Brits are lazy.
Yes, read that again. Most. Of. The. Brits. Are. lazy.
Compared to some of the odious, obnoxious and vulgar vitriol posted on Facebook, I would argue that this comment is about hateful as a Cliff Richard song. And if you don’t know who he is, click on the link.
If I’d called the Irish “thick Paddies”, the French “cheese munching surrender monkeys”, Australian women “ugly”, or the Germans “squareheads” – which, incidentally an Austrian gentleman did at a recent Inter Nations lunch – then I would hold my hand up and say “guilty as charged”.
But what I posted isn’t even contentious.
A 2019 study conducted by the TUC – published on the Sky news website – found that “The British work the longest hours in the EU, but are less productive than those in some other countries.” And if the TUC make this claim, then it’s just the tip of the proverbial iceberg.
Let’s unpick this a bit: the Brits spend longer at their place of work doing less than Johnny Foreigner. Being busy doing nothing is not productive and should not be classed as “work”.
But the Brits have form for this. Cast your mind back to 1979, if you are old enough, and if you’re not, click here. 14 night shift workers had been caught sleeping at a British Leyland plant. ‘The men were found tucked up in sleeping bags when management swooped on the priming shop at the Range Rover plant in Solihull, near Birmingham.’
The men were dismissed and guess what happened next? You’ve got it – the union called a strike, because as we all know, it’s perfectly reasonable to take your sleeping bag to work along with your flask and sandwiches.
Of course not all Brits are lazy. But as examples of this don’t flood my mind I’ll leave this qualification, err … unqualified.
And why did I make this comment?
Last Wednesday I was on the beach … bored. A friend posted an article about Michael O’Leary in which he commented on the work ethic of the Brits, ‘They don’t want to pick fruit, they don’t want to do agricultural labour, they don’t want to do hospitality or security or baggage handling at airports.’
I posted the comment: “No shit Sherlock – most Brits are lazy,” for which I was summarily banned.
But before we examine this further, let’s take a look at a couple of other comments Mr O’Leary made in the past, as reported in The Guardian
‘Germans will crawl bollock-naked over broken glass to get low fares.’
‘The most influential person in Europe in the last 20 to 30 years has been Margaret Thatcher. Without her we’d all be living in some French bloody unemployed republic.’
On passengers who forget to print their boarding passes: ‘We think they should pay €60 for being so stupid.’ I happen to agree with this one.
To a Ryanair employee who dared to join the Twitter Q&A: ‘Get back to work you slacker or you’re fired’. This I agree with as well. And I’ll come back to this in a minute.
And finally – and most relevant to me – as things turned out, ‘Anyone who thinks Ryanair flights are some sort of bastion of sanctity where you can contemplate your navel is wrong. We already bombard you with as many in-flight announcements and trolleys as we can. Anyone who looks like sleeping, we wake them up to sell them things.’
Whether these comments are examples of “Hate Speech” or not is up to you to determine, but because they appeared in the Guardian and not on Facebook I suppose that makes them okay. The Guardian and Mr O’Leary are not the most passionate of bedfellows, therefore every opportunity the broadsheet finds to ridicule him is a win-win situation. And with Mr O’Leary, it’s low hanging fruit.
Back to Ryanair, because in order to apply balance to this blog, I need to stress that it’s not just the Brits who are lazy.
As you will know if you follow my blogs, I happen to like Ryanair; I happen to think that Mr O’Leary does a good job.
Or at least I did until last Friday when I flew from Wroclaw to Malaga.
The flight was delayed by three hours, so instead of arriving at half an hour past midnight, I arrived shortly before breakfast time.
This was because Ryanair cabin crew were on strike. Of course they denied that this was the reason for the lengthy delay, but I happened to find out that it was.
So we’re half an hour into the flight, and I’m ready for a beer, but there is a distinct lack of dollies with trollies.
I buzz for service only to be told that there will be no service because they are on strike, but if I want to buy something, I should go to the back of the plane.
Okay, that sounds reasonable, I say and off I trot to the rear of the plane to find the whole ensemble drinking Coke, eating Pringles and having a jolly good time when they should be selling overpriced warm wine to line Mr O’Leary’s pockets.
‘I’ll have two red wines and a water please,’ I say.
‘Sorry, we’re not selling alcohol,’ I’m told.
‘And that is … why?’ I ask.
‘Because we’re on strike,’ says Pedro, the hombre in charge. They’re Spanish, by the way. Polish workers do not strike. ‘And you should be very thankful that we’re even on the plane,’ he adds, with a bit of a smirk.
‘Really?’ I say.
‘Yes really’, he adds, ‘and we will continue to be on strike until we receive fair pay and better treatment from this company. Employees are treated with complete contempt by Ryanair.’
You’ve picked the wrong passenger to bleed your heart to, amigo, I think.
‘You’re jolly lucky to have a job,’ I tell him. ‘So you should treat the passengers with a little less contempt.’ Put that in your pipe and smoke it, Pedro.
‘And you are lucky to have a flight. You may not be so lucky the next time.’
‘Okay, so you’re entitled to strike, but you’ve picked one hell of a time to do it. We’ve had two of the shittiest years in history – most of these poor saps haven’t left their villages, and when the clouds begin to lift, you go on strike.’
‘Which is precisely why we have chosen it.’
‘Well, I tell you what … the next time I will do my very best to avoid flying with Ryanair. I will go out of my way to fly with an outfit who do not treat their customers with utter contempt.’
He actually laughs at this?
‘That is precisely what we want to achieve! We want passengers to choose other airlines!’
‘Well then, Einstein,’ I say, ‘that will leave you without a bloody job, won’t it?’
I go back to my seat and contemplate my navel, an act of resigned contrition that would make Mr O’Leary most unhappy.
I’ll close with another quote from The Great Man himself:
‘MBA students come out with: “My staff is my most important asset.” Bullshit. Staff is usually your biggest cost. We all employ some lazy bastards who needs a kick up the backside, but no one can bring themselves to admit it.’
I rest my case, and wonder if Facebook will ban me again.