WELCOME TO THE DRAYTON BIRD BLOG - Commonsense about marketing, business and life

Leave now if easily shocked or politically correct. Otherwise, please leave your comments. Statements such as "brilliant", "hugely perceptive", "what a splendid man" and "can I buy you dinner at the restaurant of your choice" are all greeted with glee.

If you like, I'll e-mail you each new dollop of drivel when I publish it. Just click here to subscribe. If you want to succeed faster, get my 101 helpful marketing ideas, one every 3 days. People love them - maybe because they're free. Go to www.draytonbirdcommonsense.com and register. You also a get a free copy of the best marketing book ever written

Saturday, 28 February 2009

As Britain gurgles down the drain, who's to blame?

Last Tuesday morning I lurched off the plane from New York and whizzed off to the City to make a speech for the Market Research Society. This was not deliberate; just bad planning by this old fool.

I began by commenting that I could barely understand half the programme, which was true because much of it was pseudo-intellectual gibberish designed to impress. Then I quoted a few examples of inane research given to me by my friend, Iain Murray of Marketing Week.

Iain is the world’s best (and only funny) marketing columnist and the only reason for reading that journal. Here is what he said about perhaps the most ludicrous of many silly examples:

“When we read that seven per cent of people in Norway change their underwear only once a week according to a survey conducted by AC Nielsen, we simply allow our lives to move on. The information has no practical value, other perhaps than that our nose might be telling us the person we are sitting next to on the train could be from Stavanger.”

Anyhow, today I saw research that says 21% of London companies reported a lack of sales expertise in areas such as telephone selling, negotiation, presentation and account management skills.

I am astounded that the figure is so low. Most people I come across in these areas are almost laughably incompetent. I would expect it to be nearer 99.7%. After all, not one of the thieves who have run our banks aground has any qualifications, none of the government have had real jobs of any kind and the man vastly overpaid for running the Royal Mail is an ex-space salesman.

But more to the point, after perhaps the longest period of what looked like prosperity but was largely sloth and self-indulgence, clearly far too little money has been spent on training. And as training is one of the things managements cut down on first, we shall crawl out of the great Bliar-Brown depression worse prepared to survive it than we are now.

But who is guilty? Who are the ultimate culprits? Why do have a nation of illiterate, innumerate, benefit-claiming, brawling, beer-swilling, vomiting Big-Brother watching sloths?

This may be the most dishonest, clueless, rudderless, stupid and unpleasant, but we can blame British governments going right back to the 1960’s, when Socialist minister Tony Crosland, then in charge of education, said: "If it's the last thing I do, I'm going to destroy every fucking grammar school in England. And Wales and Northern Ireland".

And so the foundations of national decay were painstakingly laid in the name of equality by a man who himself had had the benefit of the best education money can buy – but believed more in levelling down than raising up. What he should have been saying, the stupid bastard, was “I’m going to make all the schools as good as the grammar schools.”

Others can be blamed of course. Margaret Thatcher, in particular - not for shackling the unions, nor for letting moribund industries die - but for talking about individual responsibility whilst strengthening central control, which stifles the sense of local and thus personal responsibility.

But it is above all education that is the problem. In my talk to the Market Research Society I quoted Aristotle, whom no doubt half the population thinks plays for West Ham United.

He believed that knowledge is the key to happiness. He also said: “Education is an ornament in prosperity and a refuge in adversity”. Our refuge is shoddy and ill-constructed.

By the way, shouldn't we all arrange a giant party to drown "Sir" Fred Goodwin and all the others - not forgetting the Great Bloated Haggis - in the shit they've landed us in?

blog comments powered by Disqus