Although my father lives outside of the UK he has been closely following the events in the phone hacking scandal. A few days ago he sent me an excellent article by the great Melanie Phillips called The smell worsens around the Metropolitan Police and followed up by asking me “And what are we to make of this? Is there honesty and integrity left anywhere?”
I thought about this for a while and then sent him the following reply:
British dustmen and roadsweepers have integrity
British coal miners still have integrity
British factory workers still have integrity
British farmers still have integrity
British shelf-stackers in supermarkets have integrity
British nurses have integrity.
British firemen have integrity.
Now I am not saying that every blue-collar worker is a paragon of virtue. There are a few cowboy builders and rip-off plumbers – along with train drivers who strike at the drop of a hat or bus drivers who delight in driving off when they see you running for the bus. And of course there are some shop staff who seem to be miles away when they’re counting your change.
Similarly, there are still quite a few Trade Unionists who display an “I’m all right jack” attitude when it comes to the public – whilst working for legally-enshrined monopolies that protects them from the corrective mechanism of the free market. And then of course there is also no shortage of students who believe that taxpayers should be compelled on pain of imprisonment to subsidize their studies of whatever subject they choose, regardless of its value to society.
But that pales into insignificance when it comes to the example set by their so-called “betters”. If you want to find integrity in Britain, do not look to politicians, lawyers, judges, journalists, newspaper editors or policemen. Nor even overpaid doctors – and don’t even think of looking for integrity in your local bank or in the Square Mile, where the city-slickers work, lunch and play.
If you want to find the last bastion of integrity in Britain, go down to your local pub. You will find it in the British working class.