Monday, 16 November 2015

Local boy makes good. Is material success, all it's cracked-up to be?

David Pott's - CEO Morrisons

In my youth, school masters often told their pupils when they were about to leave school, that the world was their oyster. But as D.H. Lawrence once said in his naughty novel, 'Lady Chatterley's Lover', "The world is supposed to be full of possibilities, but they narrow down to pretty few in most personal experience."

There are many reasons why success in English society tends to favour members of a social elite. Upper class twits, like Boris Johnson, David Cameron and George Osborne, owe much of their success, not to having "sharp elbows" or merit, but to the elite social class into which they were born. In Cameron's case, it helps if your mother-in-law is Lady Astor, who got him his first job at Carlton TV, his only venture into employment outside of the political world. Other reasons, include inherited wealth, attendance at an elite public school and where you live.

In countries like Britain, where there are now extreme levels of inequality of income and wealth, a child's success is now more linked to parental status than intellect or merit. As they say, "To Him That Hath Shall Be Given." Never the less, though few in number, some people do succeed in spite of the many obstacles.

One such case, is that of local Ashton lad, David Potts (58), a former pupil of Hartshead Secondary Modern School, in Ashton-under-Lyne. Despite leaving school in 1973 without any qualifications whatsoever, earlier this year, he was appointed C.E.O. of Morrisons supermarkets on a reported salary of £850,000. After leaving school, he started working for Tesco supermarkets, in Ashton, as a shelf stacker, and became the youngest store manager at the age of 23. Before quitting Tesco in 2011, after 38-years, with a reported pension pot of £7.73m and shares worth £6.5m, he had been group manager at Tesco, in charge of 250 stores. Had Mr. Pott's been leaving school today, he would probably have found himself doing the same work for nowt, under the government's state sponsored slavery scheme, otherwise known as the 'Work Programme'.

In the Autumn edition of 'The Tameside Citizen', a propaganda rag published by Tameside Council, David Potts, is hailed as one of six examples of business success stories.

That well-known local scourge of New Charter Housing, Steve (Starlord) Fisher, well remembers his fellow school friend David Potts, when he also attended Harstshead school at the same time, 1968-1973. While David Pott's rose to the dizzy heights of business success, and was awarded a CBE, after leaving school without any qualifications, "Starlord", left school with 7 'O' Levels and obtained 4 'A' Levels at Ashton Grammar school, before attending Manchester University, to pursue an academic career as an entomologist (the study of insects). Apart from four jobs in two years and having been reborn in 1983, following a spritual experience with LSD, he was unemployed for 25-years and for the last 10-years, has been a self-employed astrological consultant.

Steve (Starlord) Fisher
Anti-Bedroom Tax Campaigner

While David Pott's found a pearl in his oyster, Steve (Starlord) Fisher, chose instead, a life of dignified otiosity. It just goes to show that education and qualifications aren't everything. As the old English proverb says, "It's not what you know, but who you know", that really counts, coupled  with an acute ability to suck-up. And there is no better example of this maxim, than our very own nepotistic Tameside Council, where one-third of all councillors, are either married couples, couples or related to one another.

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