Author Archives: thatconsultantbloke

About thatconsultantbloke

Based in North Wiltshire UK I try to have fun whilst making things happen. I spent almost 40 years climbing the corporate ladder before getting bored with being too far from the action. Now I use my experiences of that time, the good and the bad, to keep the bills paid and have fun helping clients turn strategy into positive results.

Apparently I am a racist

Over the last week I have seen a few posts on social media, some using identical words, that accuse me of being a racist. Not by any direct action I might have taken, but because I am white and was born back in the nineteen fifties. I have heard this argument more than once over the last six or seven years and I am told that it is taught in school here in the UK. 

My initial response that if someone wants to brand me as a racist, then fine, they are entitled to an opinion and I don’t really care what people think of me, especially those that don’t know me from Adam.  I will not criticise them as individuals, but their opinion is fair game.

The people using this argument do not know me, nor what I think, feel or do, yet they will accuse me of something whilst patronising me by saying that it is not my fault; that I am a victim of circumstance. I have no sorrow in saying that I think that this argument is a load of bollocks, because I am what I am through the choices that I have made, through the way that I have interpreted what I have learned and experienced over the, almost, sixty eight years that I have existed. I am capable of critical thought and am not some brainwashed product unable to understand the world around me. If I am a racist then it is not by accident of birth.

I am appalled at the thought that an officer of the law could kneel on a man’s neck until he was beyond help. I am appalled that this could happen anywhere, let alone in the country that has become my part time home for the last twenty eight years. But there is much else afoot in this world that appals me too and at the heart of most of it is ignorance and intolerance. The argument that I am a racist because of my birth does itself demonstrate both of these traits.

Am I a racist? If you want to believe that I am then go ahead. But if you accuse me of that then where is your evidence? What have I done that gives you the right to make that accusation? The principles of natural justice require you to present your case against me, but if all  you have is a sweeping generalisation that I am a racist because I was born white then I suggest that you need to take a long look at your own attitude and beliefs. 

The people who believe that my contemporaries and I are inherently racist are probably not bad people. I don’t know them all so will not judge. I think that they mean well and want to live in the same sort of tolerant society that I do, but if we are to get there we need to understand each other and work together. 

A fundamental part of the accusation of my racism is that I would have been brought up in an atmosphere of white supremacy. This ignores the fact that my parent’s generation fought a war against, in part, the white supremacy of the Nazis and the yellow supremacy of the Japanese. Far from any belief in white supremacy I was taught that all people were equal and when there was the occasional comment from someone to the contrary it jarred. White supremacy is an obvious illustration of racism, but racism is more than white supremacy. Consider the acts of genocide around the world; yellow skinned people killing other yellow skinned, white on white, black on black, brown on brown. These are all illustrations of racial hatred, even when some are wrapped up in religious banners.

To say that I am a racist because of the environment that I was born into is an interesting argument from an academic point and I understand it, but it ignores much that would contradict it. The world was changing rapidly when I was born and things that reflected attitudes of white supremacy like imperialism were already being rejected. After a second major conflict in a quarter of a century there was a strong movement to a more equal and tolerant society, not just in racial terms, but in all terms. Consider where we are now to the time that I was born into nearly seventy years ago. One thing that you will find is that ignorance and intolerance have not gone away and social media has exposed just how rife they are. Not necessarily just in racism, but generally and sadly that is a facet of human nature. We are complex people and do not all think the same.

My code is simple; I will treat you with kindness and respect regardless of your skin colour, race, religion, sex, sexual leanings, wealth or anything else that might, or might not, differentiate you from me. If that is reciprocated then we will get along fine. If it isn’t then I will do my best to have as little further contact with you as possible. If that makes me a racist in your eyes then so be it. In my eyes it makes you a bit of a bigot.

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Filed under about me, america, serious stuff

Nearly 70 and no tattoo

This train of thought was kicked off by a friend sharing something on Facebook. Normally I avoid re-sharing such things, but “50+ and no tattoo” struck a chord. At 67 going oil 68 and still unadorned I shared the post.

I did once fancy a tattoo. This was in the early 1970s and with the end of my teenage years knocking on the door I seriously considered some ink. At that time the males in my orbit came into roughly three generations; the lot who had managed to get a bit of time in the forces in the First World War, those, like my Dad, who had done their bit in the second bash and the ones who had done National Service. All had tattoos of some sort and as we rolled up our short sleeves in warmer weather my forearms looked conspicuously bare by comparison (as did the arms of others my age).

There were two problems. Firstly there were not that many tattoo parlours around in those days and the ones that did exist tended to be in less salubrious parts of town. The other was, for me, an aesthetic one in that I did not want a new tattoo, I wanted one that looked nicely weathered in.

The young lady that I was with around that time quite liked the idea of me getting a tattoo, especially if it included some commitment to her. I mentioned this to the other members of my platoon at the next Civil Emergency Core practice and they were horrified. A cleaned up version of their advice was “No way old chap”.

I took that advice and forgot about the whole tattoo thing until the more recent craze for getting inked. Whilst I can accept that there is some artistry around and some tattoos look very good a lot do not; they look bloody awful to my eyes. Fortunately for both of us the Berkshire Belle feels the same way.

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Filed under about me, random rants

Letters to the editor – will they ever learn?

Sir. A certain group of people are at it again, now deploying a tactic on the topic of the Corona virus that has failed them twice in very recent history.

I refer to their smothering of social media channels with the most appalling nonsense with regard to the UK government’s handling of the crisis. Everything is too early, too late, too little, too much and so on. They twist their arguments to suit and all with the sole aim of bringing down the government.

They seem to forget that this government was recently elected despite their efforts to encumber us with one that they would have approved of. When they talk of the Prime Minister’s performance as “sampling” I wonder what they would have thought had we had Jeremy Corbin and Diane Abbott managing things.

Not only did their flooding of social media fail to elect a Labout government many of these same moaners used the social media platforms to keep us in the EU by flooding it with messages of doom. That failed too.

Will they ever learn that the silent majority are not so stupid that we will believe all of their nonsense? I think that we should be told.

Yours etc, Disgusted of Dorcan.

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Filed under Letters to the Editor - I think we should be told

The joys of writing, part seven

There are those days when I can stare alternately between a blank page and the world outside my window for ages with nothing flowing between brain and fingers. On other days the two parts will connect and words flow freely onto the screen, but with none of them making much sense.

The magic happens when the words just flow and a good story emerges. It may be fact or fiction, a blog, article or book; it doesn’t matter as long as it just pours out of me.

It is rare that any such good session is perfect. Almost always I will print a copy off to look at later and read off the page. That is where I will see the typos and redundant words and can correct them, making whatever it is that I have written tight and economic. Of course if any such piece is going before an editor they will improve it further; the fresh eyes always make a difference.

Nothing can compare though with that thrill of a good hour, part or full day at the keyboard. It makes up for all of the frustrating days when nothing worthwhile can be prised out. They always come; I just don’t know how, when or why and maybe that is why they are so special.

The odd thing is that, when faced with a deadline, something always does come. It’s just that not everything forced works as well and whilst I have never had a piece rejected, there have been many where I have taken my fee with no feeling that I have earned it.

Beauty is in the eye of the beholder though and just because I do not like one of my offerings does not mean that others will not enjoy it. The hard side of that truth is that something that I feel is magnificent may fall short of my reader’s expectations.

It doesn’t matter though because the pleasure that comes when the words fly onto the screen is such that it will keep me going for days.

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Big brand bashing

It seems fashionable to bash the big global brands like Amazon, Costa, McDonalds and so on. Regular screams for the castration of their leaders come riding on the back of accusations of tax avoidance and the like.

Rarely do I see any mention of the fact that these businesses employ thousands who pay taxes and spend their money to prop up our economy. No-one wants to mention the benefits that come to their customers in terms of convenience and access. They all provide a service and contribute to the countries that they operate in to some degree, but it is easier for the media, mainstream and social, to bash them. An irony that, especially when you read people using Facebook to do it when that is another of the brands that generates their ire.

A couple of thoughts on this from the perspective of an independent business man. Firstly I would say that about 90% of the meetings that other independents, and small businesses, have asked me to have been in Starbucks, Costa or Cafe Nero and lunches have generally been in KFC, Pret-a-Manger or one of the other big brand fast food outlets. We use them rather than pay for a meeting room at serviced accommodation or an hotel because we only pay for the food and drink. I have even seen job interviews taking place in these places. We use them because they give s what we need and don’t charge too much.

The other thought, here specifically about Amazon, is that a lot of people selling on Amazon are sole traders or small businesses. I fall into the former category and am very happy for Amazon, and for that matter eBay, to give me a global outlet for my wares and an easy way of extracting payment. They might be the scourge of the traditional High Street, but they prop up a lot of smaller traders and provide an entrepreneurial opportunity that was not there fifteen years or so ago.

Bash them if you want to, but they are succeeding because we use them and we do that because they help us to succeed.

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Filed under business life, serious stuff

Letters to the editor – the crustless quiche

Sir. One of my occasional breakfast pleasures is the small quiche that my local supermarket offers. They have a range of ingredient mixes and are an inexpensive treat.

However, on deciding to purchase one this week I find that they offer a crustless version. Surely a quiche without a crust is a frittata? Whatever it is it is not a quiche.

Yours etc, Disgusted of Dorcan

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Filed under Letters to the Editor - I think we should be told

Tidying up

One of my first jobs now that I have integrated this blog with my website is to check all of the links and menu items. I know that some of them need updating, but I am having problems working out how to do it as WordPress seems to have changed the way that these things work.

No doubt I will work it out, but it may take me a day or two so I apologise if you find a dud one before I get them fixed.

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Filed under General postings

A change has come (and more will follow)

I have merged my old johnjbowen.com website with this blog or, to look at it the other way around, this blog is now my website. It had ceased to make sense to have both a static web site and a blog so I have moved on.

This blog will evolve too as I settle into a new way of using it. It has been the frivolous companion to Monday Musings, but I think that it will take on a more serious tone whilst dealing with things that Monday Musings would not cover. The latter has always tried to stay above politics and I will keep it that way. Here I have usually treated political comment to sarcasm and humour; my letters to the editor and so on, but I may try to bring a more serious comment in from time to time.

I will also try to cover other things that interest me in more depth, but, as always, these things eat time and I will have to find a level that works for me. The important thing is to try and be more regular and consistent with my postings.

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RIP John Bowen

No, not me. If you look at the tabs under the banner on this blog you will see one for the John Bowens who are not me on the Which JohnB? tab. There are several famous ones, even notorious in one case, but they are not this one.

Continue reading

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Filed under General postings, obituaries

Changes afoot in the ether

I have a silly number of blogs and websites that exploded fifteen years or so ago when I went freelance. Over time a few have fallen by the wayside and this year I began a serious purge. Why? I am getting older and my life has changed a lot from those early days of being out from under the corporate umbrella. The world around me has changed too and current events will bring another step change; if nothing else they are giving me time to think. Continue reading

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Filed under about me, General postings, serious stuff