I was one of those many young people who saw the start of our 'Brave NewWorld' in 1945.

We saw a bright new future ahead of our country, we had a Government who in the main believed in a better and fairer way of life. But, they could not envisage the greed and corruption that ruined so much of ournew lives. Of course, as now, British Industry and the Financiers decided to invest overseas, purely for personal gain.

As a Trade Unionist, I with many others have been sick over the years in the lie that Trade Unions have ruined this country. I won't quote the actual figures, just look up the statistics. Over the years British Trade Unions have had some of the lowest figures in days lost due to strikes.

You wouldn't believe it if you followed the media reports. Remember, our Unions have never had the power that for instance they have in Germany, France and the USA. As a Cumbrian, you should be well aware of the image of Cumberland that is presented to the world at large. I soon found out, when I came here 31 years ago, that my colleagues were some of the cleverest people I have had the pleasure of working with. They did a very good job with very inadequate equipment and poor management. I have the greatest respect for my Cumbrian friends.

And, in the larger world a similar poor image is presented of Great Britain, quite often by people who choose not to live here. It takes people like Bill Bryson to show us what we really are, remember this sent in the early days of FMD :----

Every day now we are bombarded with misery and fear so that you could begin to think that Armageddon is nigh. It isn't ofcourse, but the Media would like you to think it is.

What follows is the last few paragraphs from Bill Bryson's Notes from a Small Island.

.. Bill Bryson as you all should know, is that lovely American Anglophile who sees our country with eyes that we seem to have lost. Here are his words:


It looked so peaceful and wonderful that I could almost have cried, and yet it was only a tiny part of this small, enchanted island. Suddenly, in the space of a moment I realised what it was that I loved about Britain- which is to say, all of it. Every last bit of it, good and bad - Marmite, village fetes, country lanes, people saying 'mustn't grumble' and I'm terribly sorry but', people apologizing to me when I conk them with a careless elbow, milk in bottles, beans on toast, haymaking in June, stinging nettles, seaside piers, Ordnance Survey maps, crumpets, hot-water bottles as a necessity, drizzly Sundays - every bit of it.

What a wondrous place this was - crazy as fuck, ofcourse, but adorable to the tiniest degree. What other country, after all, could possibly have come up with place names like Tooting Bec and Farleigh Wallop, or a game like cricket that goes on for three days and never seems to start?

Who else would think it not the least odd to make their judges wear little mops on their heads, compel the Lord Chancellor to sit on something called theWoolsack, or take pride in a naval hero whose dying wish was to be kissed by a fellow named Hardy? ....

What other nation in the world could have given us William Shakespeare, pork pies, Christopher Wren, Windsor Great Park, the Open University, Gardeners' Question Time, and the chocolate digestive biscuit?

None, of course. How easily we lose sight of all this. What an enigma Britain will seem to historians when they look back on the second half of the twentieth century. Here is a country that fought and won a noble war, dismantled a mighty empire in a generally benign and enlightened way, created a far-seeing welfare state - in short, did nearly everything right - and then spent the rest of the century looking on itself as a chronic failure.

The fact is that this is still the best place in the world for most things to post a letter, go for a walk, watch television, buy abook, venture out for a drink, go to a museum, use the bank, get lost, seek help, or stand on a hillside and take in a view.

All of this came to me in the space of a lingering moment. I've said it before and I'll say it again. I like it here. I like it more than I can tell you.

And then I turned from the gate and got in the car and knew without doubt that I would be back

Errors, if any are mine in the transcription,

Peace to you all,Ron.