In a time of unprecedented selfishness it was comforting to learn that Australian Patriarch Ken Grenda has decided to split huge profits from the sale of his 66 year-old bus company with his staff. All 1800 of them. Strewth! Can you imagine Fred the Shred doing that back in the good ole days of RBS?
Sir Fred* : (to room) Are we all in? Oh good. Well, you’re probably wondering why I’ve asked you to assemble here today and I’ll not beat about the bush. This year we made a record profit of ten billion pounds. Ten billion! That’s a lot of billions. And it got me to thinking that I could not have done it without your tireless support, your hard graft and your willingness to think outside the box when times were tough. So thank you all and, er, goodbye.
Staff : Sorry?
Sir Fred* : Nothing to be sorry about. Your sacrifice has put RBS right back on track. So buy yourselves a wee drinkie and remember : You did it once, you can do it again. And feel free to drop a few coins in the pension pot on your way out. Every little helps.
Grenda’s heartwarming generosity is made all the more poignant because he’s the little guy made good. His third-generation family business succeeded where so many multinational corporations have failed because he cared for & respected the people who put him on the map and, finally, rewarded them in a way that would be unthinkable to those in the corridors of power. He cut them in. Perhaps there’s a lesson in there somewhere, and not necessarily about the distribution of wealth :
The Idle Hour was realised almost eleven years ago. I remember it well. Nibs, Da Mudda and myself scrubbing floors, hanging pictures, architecting the lavs etc.. but the most potent thrill of all, particularly for Nibs, was the notion that it could make a difference. The pubs in the vicinity at that time were tired, languid affairs that gave you little incentive to leap up from Buffy and go out. I think, and I know I am partisan, that the Idle Hour upped the game considerably, and it did so because it thought small. Why spread the love too thin when you can pile it on over a lesser circumference that appreciates the effort so much more? And the very thing that makes it special is its size. Go figure…
So, Sir Fred*. Sorry about today, really, sorry. It’s a bitch when you lose a gong, don’t we all know it? But maybe when you’re not shooting peasants in Spain or fast-tracking it with Max, you can take stock for five minutes and think about where you went wrong. Hey, maybe even start again. But this time, take a bit of advice from the little guys. The Nibs’s and the Grendas of this world. And maybe this time you won’t screw it up for the rest of us.
*Not Sir Fred