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Tweets of Wisdom

Over the next few weeks, new MP after callow MP will make their maiden speeches in the Commons. Yet how much will the world be changed? Precious little I’ll be bound! But it was not always so . For my continuing reading of Juliet Nicolson’s history of 1911, ‘The Perfect Summer’, has brought me to that infamous dandy, brilliant barrister and MP, FE Smith. Now when he made his hour long debut to the House in the early 1900’s, his own party were rolling in their pews and the scowling opposition were mattering ‘Who is this boy!” Indeed, his barnstorming performance even created quite a flutter in the Ladies Gallery with many invitations to dinner the outcome of his eloquence. So he at least changed his social circle and probably his girth. No wonder he quickly became a companion of the young Winston Churchill, then Home Secretary, whose own quick wit earned him the epithet – he thinks with his mouth. Well where are fine words to be found today? Not coming out of politicians if the General Election’s National Debates were their arena. Broadcasters too hardly rate much higher; tune in reluctantly to Talksport Radio if you don’t believe me . And certainly there are few great orators in pulpits these days; myself included. In truth, even the average ‘Thought for the Day’ is more likely to lull back to slumber than inspire the redeeming of the world. No, today’s greatest wordsmiths are found in the advertising profession. For if you have to get your message over in 30 seconds of exorbitant TV time then you do need to have your verbal wits about you. Maybe then, there is something to be said, or not, for the Twitter discipline of having only 140 characters. Since if we can only get one word in edge-ways, in this talkative globe, let it be the right one!

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Customer Waiting?

“Assistant to electricals – customer waiting!” – the supermarket loudspeaker blares out and that half amuses and half annoys. For the suggestion is that if some unfortunate doesn’t get themselves amongst the kettles ‘tout suite’ then something unspeakable, possibly lingering, will happen to them. It’s all nonsense, of course. They’ll finish their cuppa and amble along in due course. Yet the illusion has been maintained – you are a valuable, even an invaluable, customer whose time is as rubies.  Moreover, the company’s fiction is sprayed around like fake coffee aroma – our clients have status instead of just being till roll receipts.

It’s for these reasons too we lap adverts of smiling call centre staffs, waving shop-keepers and bank tellers who are family friends. For deep down we want to be part of a community of which we are real part – where the people we meet have some sort of concern for us as humans. Needless to say this type of community is possible even sustainable; it just takes investment. That means the spending not of money but time and emotional energy. Since the bottom line is we get what we pay for. The question must be is there a “customer waiting!”

 

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