Etymology Man

Another classic from xkcd.com

Who doesn’t know someone like that?

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Goodwin loses knighthood

Fred Goodwin
Image by London Permaculture via Flickr

As the BBC says… Former RBS boss Fred Goodwin stripped of knighthood

In other news I’ve lost the top off my biro.

I know which is more relevant to me.

Banker Fred Goodwin losing his knighthood is a bit of a non-story for me. The whole honours system is already in disrepute not by the shame of having to strip some banker of his title but in the fact that he was given one in the first place! How someone decided that running a company into the ground is reason for offering them a knighthood for ‘services to banking’ is beyond me. To be honest it’s not. It’s symptomatic of a system that is run by the elite for the elite.

I also really can’t be bothered whether he keeps his knighthood or not. I’d never call anyone ‘Sir’ or whatever just because some oaf decided that I should. What I would like to see is Goodwin being stripped of his booty from the wreck of the good ship RBS. That would be a sight worth seeing and would also send a message that the days of rewarding failure are over.

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Two new books to read of or from Benedict XVI

Okay, they may not be new as in new but they are new to me.

I’m still getting through the then Cardinal Joseph Ratzinger’s book Eschatology but have now got two new books from my local library at Farnborough in Hampshire. (Go join your library while we still have them!)

First up is The Spiritual Vision of Pope Benedict XVI edited by Robert Moynihan which I’m reading at the same time as Eschatology.

Second is Jesus of Nazareth, Holy Week: From the Entrance into Jerusalem to the Resurrection by Pope Benedict XVI. I read the first volume a few years ago and was really impressed with how readable Benedict’s works are.

Please feel free to link up with me on Librarything or Goodreads!

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An attack on union rights? Probably

嘉士伯(Carlsberg)啤酒,产自中国广东惠州。Made in China
Image via Wikipedia

I don’t know whether to laugh or cry.

A union in Lithuania has been barred from striking at a brewery because the owners have managed to get the courts to view beer production as an ‘essential service’!

From the IUF website:

Management attacks on workers and their unions continue at Carlsberg, the world’s 4th largest brewery company. A planned strike by union workers at the Carlsberg brewery in Lithuania has been declared illegal by an outrageous court decision which is now the subject of an ILO complaint. The court denied the right to strike by declaring beer production an essential national service! Carlsberg is retaliating against the union’s struggle for justice with reprisals and dismissals and using the Lithuanian legal system to destroy union rights. Use the form below to send a message to Carlsberg and to the government of Lithuania telling them to stop violating workers’ rights!

Probably!

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Nick Clegg and Distributism?

LONDON, ENGLAND - MAY 11:  Deputy Prime Minist...
Image by Getty Images via @daylife

So says the BBC. No, I don’t think he really is calling for a form of Distributism, merely offering up sound bites that seem to be rounding the edges from our current form of rampaging Capitalism. There’s lots of talk in political circles at the moment of a more ‘friendly capitalism’ and I think he sees this as an opportune moment to claim some media time.

Nick Clegg talks of cutting red tape and reforming the tax system, both of which may have merits but go no way to reigning in the current monster. He also seems to parallel a quote of GK Chesterton’s but misses the point entirely:

“We don’t believe our problem is too much capitalism – we think it’s that too few people have capital.

It’s worth quoting the great GK Chesterton here:

“Too much capitalism does not mean too many capitalists, but too few capitalists.”

Clegg’s call is not for a more responsible capitalism, or a kinder face of capitalism but the continued rampage of neo-liberal economic thinking with a nod to worker participation as a way of heading off the unions. After all, if you have shares in a company then the last thing you’ll be doing is calling for industrial action? This is worker participation, but just enough participation to nullify the unions but not enough to pass any power to the workers or to make any difference to current practices whatever.

True worker involvement would mean the reduction in the ratio of high and low earnings within a company, worker participation in strategy and planning together with workers sharing equitably in the success of the endeavour. I would also like to think that it would involve a healthy does of Catholic Social Teaching to give the whole system a moral basis by which everyone would be catered for and not be left behind.

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Equality of Opportunity

English: United Kingdom's Deputy Prime Minster...
Image via Wikipedia

Deputy Prime Minister Nick Clegg has come up with a scheme to help open up top careers to people from less privileged backgrounds. He’s arguing that getting on the ladder in many professions is more a case of who you or your parents know rather than ability, suitability and educational achievements.

I think that part of what Clegg is trying to do may be driven by what this case from last year exposed where:

According to the Mail on Sunday, however, 900 Tory supporters paid a minimum of £400 per head to attend its Black and White Party, formerly known as the Winter Ball, at which an auction of 30 lots took place, including a number of internships. Millionaire backers paid an average of £3,000 each to ensure that their children had a chance to undertake work experience at the companies involved.

Read more: http://www.hrzone.co.uk/topic/business-lifestyle/conservatives-under-fire-internship-auctions/109607#ixzz1jESf38QV

It strikes a chord with me as I have witnessed my youngest son get turned down for internships and summer placements from bank after bank after bank. This was in despite of his impeccable character and his fantastic academic achievements through the first two years of his mathematics degree at a university renowned for mathematics. The thought of nepotism and cronyism was always lurking at the back of my mind but I feel it’s been confirmed.

It’s ended well for him though as he has secured a contract with a local firm including further training and education to obtain a professional standing which will see him well for the future.

I do hope that what Clegg is attempting isn’t just a token piece of electioneering, this country desperately needs to embrace equality of opportunity.

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