Originally published February 2011, at a time when everyone was seizing on the latest economic statistics as evidence that we were all “doomed”
It’s often helpful, in a difficult situation, to see how people have handled such crises before. For example, the different ways in which the members of the Walmington on Sea Home Guard reacted to the constant threat of invasion in WW2 is strikingly similar to how many are behaving in the economic climate today. See if you can identify yourself or colleagues in the list below:
Capt Mainwaring – in charge because of his status rather than his competence, he uses bluster and nice sounding phrases to disguise that he has no idea how to deal with the situation.
Sgt Wilson – the calm voice of experience, refuses to get flustered as he knows that things have been this bad before and will resolve themselves again. He always takes the considered view, which often pulls Mainwaring out of trouble.
Cpl Jones – panics at the slightest thing and over-reacts to the mildest bit of bad news. Unless controlled, his attitude infects the rest, creating mayhem and negativity.
Pte Fraser – the voice of despair, who enjoys seeing how bad things can get and is secretly hoping they will get worse.
Pte Walker – spots the opportunity to make money in everything. Sometimes his scams backfire but often they come to the aid of the platoon as well as his own pocket.
Pte Pike – never experienced anything like this before, really not sure how to deal with it except that it all looks very bad indeed and his Mum wouldn’t like it.
Looking around, it seems to me that at the moment we have a lot of Frasers (especially in the media) and Joneses, and perhaps not enough Wilsons and Walkers. While many under 35s, who have never experienced any kind of negative economic conditions before, are cast in the role of Pikes, slightly bewildered and looking for reassurance. As for Mainwarings – are there any you could suggest?