Wibble While You Work
One of the joys (and simultaneous curses) of working for yourself is that there are no bosses leaning over your shoulder while you are idling around Blogoland rather than earning. It was during one such foray yesterday that I came across the old quote from Martin Niemoeller:
When Hitler attacked the Jews I was not a Jew, therefore I was not concerned. And when Hitler attacked the Catholics, I was not a Catholic, and therefore, I was not concerned. And when Hitler attacked the unions and industrialists, I was not a member of the unions and I was not concerned. Then, Hitler attacked me and the Protestant church -- and there was nobody left to be concerned.
It instantly transported me back over twenty years to the time I last heard it. I was working for a (then) large, well known chemicals and textile company. It was the early eighties, Thatcherism had got into its stride and unemployment was rising fast. The factory had seen many departments close down and others restructured with lots of redundancies.
Our union rep was an enthusiastic young politico who fancied himself as something of an orator. Passionate in defending his members, he was desperate to get us out on strike in defence of the latest department facing the axe. In a key meeting he made his final plea for solidarity by invoking the good pastor's stirring words.
"When they closed down the Dyeing Division," he thundered, "I didn't work there, therefore I was not concerned. And when they closed down the Nylon Plant, I didn't work there, and therefore I was not concerned. And when they closed down the Development Unit, I didn't work there either, so I was not concerned. And then they tried to close the Research Lab..."
He paused for effect, but for a fraction too long, because some old wag shouted out, "Because nobody ever fucking worked there, the lazy bastards, they deserved everything they got."
The meeting dissolved into laughter and the strike never happened.
If this was a proper leftie morality tale, it would finish with the old wag losing his job a few months down the line, but I don't know if that happened or not because mine went not long after.
And since it was such a shit job it was the best thing that ever happened to me.