Just because I said it doesn’t mean that I intended to do it!

This once sought after trait is very difficult to locate in the world which we now occupy. It used to be said that a man’s word was his bond but sadly this is seldom now the case. Many think nothing of breaking arrangements or appointments and often without so much as a text of explanation.

I will say yes to placate and may go unless a better option surfaces.

In our country at the moment their are two high profile cases in the media, both centre around High Street retailers and their unscrupulous owners. 10 000 employees are facing redundancy because the previous billionaire owner sold the company on for a token sum, on top of this the pension pot is looking decidedly empty. This story has been an ongoing repetition for decades with different players doing the self same thing.

How much money do these people need?

Case two is a self made billionaire who built up a sports retail chain, his employees have complained about the conditions that they are forced to endure. Only when pressed if he would want his kids to work there did he finally admit that the conditions may not be that suitable.

For every Richard Branson there are thousands of men and women like these who care nothing for their employees.

Years ago I attended a liquidation sale in a hotel conference suite. This was a much publicised event where huge bargains could be obtained for a smallish cover charge. Electrical goods would be available with 90% off, you get the picture.

With the room full and the display at the front bristling with expensive goodies the evening began. There was a long back story of unfortunate business closures and much cheering with the anticipated bargains. They used the word “genuine” a lot and said many such things as a build up. There seemed to be a lot of excitement around the room.

When he finally began offering goods for sale it never dawned on any of us that it was anything other than above board. He started with video cameras, largeTV’s, Nintendo game boys, VCR machines, there were only maybe a couple of each of these high value items going. Then we got down to things like cutlery sets, electric knives and cookware.

I never bought anything.

Speaking to friends who went on succeeding nights we quickly drew a picture of what was going on. The scattered staff around the room bought the high value items each evening and the punters were only allowed to buy the lower value junk. If it seems to good to be true it usually is.

I love heist and con men movies, I watched a show that ran for several seasons here where they targeted such unscrupulous characters as mentioned above. But they were really just glorified thieves.

Much as I like it for entertainment, I hate it in reality.

If a shop had ‘Honest John’ above it he would not get my business. Integrity is earned, not advertised.

We look on with wonderment at people who sail through our justice systems unscathed, if we miss a tax payment we are bombarded with threats. But these people just sail off to Monaco or the Caribbean.

I fear for the outcome of this year’s Presidential race, integrity is not a word that I would attach to either candidate. That however is not my concern.

The despicable traits that we see in the oily figures who slip through the net of justice or decency time and again are only a magnification of the more general laxity that pervades our nations. We need a ‘bottom up’ change in thinking where once again we are what we want to see in others. Where we do what we say, where our word means something and our character is unimpeachable.

Such was the desire of previous generations, not some polished perfection, but an honest integrity which recognises it’s own weaknesses.


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