Perhaps it was the way I was taught poetry at school. Endless boring epics from poets that may, or may not, have been high on drugs. I can’t listen to a verse of the Rime (sic) Of The Ancient Mariner without suffering flashbacks, and I assure you they aren’t drugs related. They're Samuel Taylor Coleridge related.
When I was asked to review this book the idea didn’t fill me with joy, but I love a challenge and I thought it might be challenging to have to find something positive to say about yet more poetry, but I needn’t have worried. There’s plenty of positive things to say about this collection and I’m more than happy to say them.
The theme of the collection is the Corporation. For the Brits that isn’t another name for the town council, but shorthand for the big Corporations that run most of the World’s industry and commerce. Mind you, this applies just as well to the local district council. This means that there is something in this for most people. We have met the people Rohini writes about. We may even be the people she is writing about. In fact I’d place a bet that any reader will be able to pick themselves out in at least one of the poems. To quote from a poem entitled Alpha Me, who hasn’t heard something like this?
Totally, utterly state of the art
Suited and Booted.”
I have to say that I laughed out loud at some of these poems. Don’t get me wrong, this isn’t a Pam Ayers world of fluffy but comedic bunny rabbits living in hutches, or regret about poor dental habits. Some of the pieces also made me stop and think about the way people are managed and treated in the corporate workplace.This is sharp and satirical stuff. Even if you don’t work in the corporate world a lot of what you will read is about people and situations you will recognise from pretty much any place of employment.
The following poem I reproduce in full, because it is so up to date and captures a mood. It’s called Big Cheeses.
A small insignificant nonentity
What is it that the top guys do
To merit all that ballyhoo?
Six and seven figure salaries
Numbers like leaves on trees
In stratospheres so rarefied
To get there I am terrified.
But, even so, I’d like to know
What it is they do so
Fantastically, uniquely great
That plunged us into this state?
If I screwed up my little job
They would have me on the hop
My permanent part-time state
Would be reduced to hourly rate.
But when they screw up really big time
Mega, giga, hugely big time
Enough to shut down whole departments
(some poor mid-levels lost apartments)
But those guys at the very top
(it’s enough to make my heart stop)
Would you believe that they
With gazillions walked away?
Were they fired? So I’m told
And if I may be so bold,
You see I really need to understand
I can’t grasp this notion and
Quite get my head around it.
They lost our money, every bit,
That we had all worked hard to get
They made some really big mistakes
Yet they received golden handshakes.
I can’t imagine it being too long before we start seeing extracts of Rohini’s poems adorning mouse mats, mugs, calendars and posters. I’ll be the first into Rymans.
To find out more about this book please visit http://www.ex-l-ence.com/Corpoetry.php
The answer is that they have both claimed credit for something that was the culmination of the work of other people.
In 1854 an Italian American, Antonnio Meucci, created a device for the electrical transmission of sound waves. In 1871 he filed a caveat for a United States patent on his device, after producing several working models. A patent caveat was an official notification of the intention to file a full patent application at a later date. It was intended to allow the inventor to carry on development work on their idea while preventing others for filing patent applications for similar technology, perhaps because they had more money with which to pursue full development. It also gave the inventor time to find investors. Filing a full patent application is expensive. The US Patents Office discontinued the practice of granting caveats in 1909.
Meucci went so far as to demonstrate his ideas, but unfortunately ran out of money and couldn’t even afford to renew his patent caveat when it fell due in 1874. Meucci was only one of several people who worked on the idea of telephones, but his work got closest to the final invention that was eventually granted a patent.
In 1877 Alexander Graham Bell made a successful patent application for his device and the rest, as they say, is history. It can’t be proven that Bell stole Meucci’s ideas, but there are notable similarities between the two systems and it must be assumed that Bell at least built on Meucci’s earlier work but claimed full credit for the invention of the telephone.
In 2002 a resolution was passed by the United States House of Representatives (Congress) that stated “if Meucci had been able to pay the $10 fee to maintain the caveat after 1874, no patent could have been issued to Bell”. In other words, Bell's work was recognised as not being his alone.
So what has this to do with the Labour Party? Well, they have consistently claimed credit for the earlier work of others in regard of the founding of the NHS.
It was a Liberal idea stemming from the Beveredge Report of 1942. Beveredge was a Liberal Peer. The White Paper that paved the way for the foundation of an NHS was prepared by the Conservative Minister for Health, Henry Willink in 1944. All the necessary legislation required to permit the founding of the NHS, except for the final Bill that created the legal entity, but including legislation to take privately owned assets into government ownership, was passed before the Tories left office on 5th July 1945. The NHS was coming, regardless of which party won the 1945 general election.
For Labour to claim that Aneuran Bevan was the father of the NHS and that the Labour Party created it is like the anchor man in a relay team claiming sole credit for the whole team’s victory. It is distasteful and dishonest. That present day politicians should continue to make this claim about something that happened 70 years ago and before they were even born makes matters even worse. Would they just as readily accept the blame for a calamity that their political forefathers had caused? I think we all know the answer to that one. The whole thing is nauseating.
Will Labour stop claiming credit for creating the NHS? Oh no they won’t. Why? Because their record in government over the last 60 years has been otherwise so poor that they need this life raft to cling to. It’s the only bit of real creditability they have, even if it is wrongly claimed.
It would be remiss of me not to mention Thursday night's Leaders' debate on TV. The most notable speaker, in my opinion, was Nichola Sturgeon. Wow, what a formidable debater. She was cool under fire and direct in her answers. If she were speaking for Labour or the Conservatives she would be being spoken of as a Prime Minister in waiting. As it is she may yet be the King Maker. Labour are right to be worried about the impact the SNP might have on their vote north of the border.
Those of you who watched the Leaders' debate may think that I'm claiming credit for Nigel Farage's observation about Labour needing the life raft of the NHS (above), which would make me a hypocrite. Not true. I had already drafted this blog before the debate and included that sentence. I also have no reason to suppose that Nigel nicked the remark from me. Both of us using the same metaphor is just a coincidence.
I haven't yet decided what next week's blog will be about, but I'm sure our political parties will provide me with plenty of food for thought.
PS. Ed Miliband has featured Zero Hours Contracts a lot in his campaigning this last week. I doubt he would have been so keen on the subject if he had read my blog from last Saturday. Remember folks, you're likely to read it here first!