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When Britain isn’t working

Yesterday, in the late afternoon,  much of what Britain complains about – the vanishing High Street and immigrants – was compressed into a 15 minutes errand.

I needed a cable for my camera so went to a large High Street chain of photographic supplies. The sales person could not speak English well enough to have the required technical discussion and it was very frustrating not being able to explore alternative options. She was able, however, to suggest the independently-owned shop down the road. So off I went, only to discover that they’d closed at 5:30, which is a luxury our booming economy affords them, obviously!

Now, certainly, one must beware of extrapolating from the specific to the general – and I’m sure there are many counter-examples – but this does seem typical  lot of the time.

In short: Yes, immigrants have taken our jobs, but only because we’ve forgotten how to work.

I reflected on this as I looked for a spot to warm up and have a coffee. I walked past independent coffee shops hauling their sandwich boards inside and putting chairs up on the tables just as the massive passing trade slouched its way towards Charing Cross, while Starbucks and Pret – staffed once again by foreigners – had queues at the counter.

Meanwhile, the media is obsessed with the idea that the government or the opposition must have plans to salvage the economy- as if there’s some magic spell. But the economy isn’t about plans, it’s about people: people knuckling down and making the economy work through their collective efforts, enterprise and will.

It’s a lesson modern Britain needs to learn quickly.