Learn from our mistakes

27 March, 2007
Although often accused of attacking the government, Tony Phillips robustly defends his stance and asks why so many youngsters leave education with a poor work ethic
I was once asked why did I keep attacking the government, to which the answer was: 'Because they are there.' Really, however, we should have equal contempt for all politicians as, in my view, very few, if any, could run a small business and succeed.
I imagine we are all fed up with reading so-called government statistics. When I was young, we would have called them lies. But in this politically correct age, we are not supposed to call people that tell lies liars, we call them politicians.Apparently there are now 37,000 more young unemployed than there were in 1997 and there are 1.24 million 16-24-year-olds not in education, employment or training. These are not government figures, but independent research. But why should that be, when so many immigrants who arrive here seem to find work?While we cannot put the clock back, why can we not learn from our mistakes? Dare I say it? The reason why so many are unemployed is that they receive more money from our taxes for doing nothing than they could by learning a trade.high state pay-outYet at the same time, the cost of employing them is far too high for most employers - which would suggest that the state pay-out is far too high, not that industry is not paying enough.After all, wages are ultimately determined by our customers and the truth is the young are difficult to employ, as they so often leave school semi-illiterate and with no work ethic.Before anyone starts tearing their hair out, I am not saying all the young are useless, but far too many are. Whenever any of us find a good, keen youngster, we are all overjoyed and really enjoy training them and watching them progress in their chosen career. Even the government is now considering keeping them in school until they are 18. But good grief! If they can't teach them to read by the age of 16, why should two more years make a difference?THE truth in clichésNow, well into the first decade of the 21st century, I think about the hoary old clichés that are still as true as the day our great grandfathers first said them. Two that come to mind are: "your first loss is your best loss" and "act in haste, repent at leisure".Far too often, we get an idea, set it up and then find, for various reasons, it is not working as well as we'd hoped - such as it takes too much time to manage or it is just not making money. The problem then becomes, "How quickly do we drop it?" In the main, as I have so much practice with bad ideas, I want to drop them as quickly as I can. If it is useless today, why should it be any better tomorrow?The longer you delay, the more you lose. Whereas if you move quickly, you stand a chance of moving it onto someone else - if it is a shop lease, for example. Always remember that the core business is what really matters. I wish I could remember that before going off on a tangent. n



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