Tuesday, February 17, 2009

The credit crunch

For months now we have been hearing about 'The Credit Crunch', 'The Slump', 'The Economic Slow-down' - and, recently, 'Depression'. Listening to some of the so-called experts is enough to give anyone depression, but never mind. Businesses are being closed all over the place and, where they are not actually closing down, they are going on short-time working and making lay-offs.

Just take a look at the sort of places which are closing down. These are more than businesses, they are institutions! Take Woolworths, for instance. Who didn't go into Woolworths as a child to spend a few shillings here and there? It's gone!

The government has coughed up billions to, so we are reliably informed, 'Bail out the banks'. Thousands of people have suffered, lost jobs and money, and find themselves struggling to make ends meet.

I know all of the above - I read about it and see it every time I turn on the telly, the news is full of it. BUT! (Oh yes, I love a good BUT.) But! Something about all of this strikes me as most definitely odd and that is the fact that nobody seems to be to blame for any of it. The captains of industry wax fat and the senior executives and speculators still rake in massive bonuses.

This has all got me to thinking about the man and woman in the street, the ones who are doing the actual belt-tightening and the financial suffering - Mr Everyman, Mrs Average, Master Ordinary and Miss Normal.

So, I offer the following;

An Ordinary Man

I'm an ordinary man,
Nothing special, nothing grand,
I've had to work for everything I own.
I never asked for a lot,
I was happy with what I got -
Enough to keep my family and my home.

Now they say that 'Times are Hard',
So they're handing me my cards.
They say, 'There's not the work to go around.'
When the whistle blows,
The gates will finally close.
Tonight, they're going to close this factory down.

I never missed a day
Or went on strike for better pay.
For twenty years I served the best I could,
But, with a handshake and a cheque,
It's so easy to forget
I served them through the bad times and the good.

The boss says that he's sad
To see that things have got so bad,
But the Captains of Industry won't let HIM lose.
He still drives his car
AND smokes a big cigar,
Then takes his pampered family on a cruise.

So condemned I stand,
Just an Ordinary Man,
Like thousands beside me in the queue.
I watch my struggling wife
Trying to make the best of life.
God knows what the kids are going to do.

Every day I've tried
To salvage something of my pride,
To find some work so that I might pay my way.
But everywhere I go,
The answer is always, "No!
No work for anyone here today."

For as long as I live,
I never will forgive
How they stripped me of my dignity and pride.

As must be clearly obvious to all by now, there is no news this week about the case or anything else. It's been one of those weeks really. In fact, I've hardly had any mail at all.

The Voice In The Wilderness

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