Saturday, October 07, 2006

Oil Lamps and Computers

By the end of week one, the marriage of two long established
law firms with Church origins, Catholic and Methodist, is
proving very successful, people-wise. Computer-wise is currently
another matter. People talk to each other easily and warmly
around the coffee machine. Computers can also
communicate with people, but easily and warmly? Not at present.
Our Catholic and Methodist computers are currently experiencing
the same kind of communication problem as has
beset different Christian religious leaders almost
since the time of Jesus.

In moving old maytrees' legal aids accumulated over the years,
from one floor of our delightful Pimlico stuccoed building to another,
I came across an old paraffin storm lantern. This oil lamp
was a relic of the Ted Heath era of the British political scene
and the "Three Day Work Order" imposed from the end of 1973.

Ted Heath in 1972, defied the coal mining National Union of Miners
by denying them an extra £9 wages on top of their £25 per week. The NUM
members stopped digging coal; electricity supplies from coal generation
began to dwindle and had to be rationed to protect health and safety
over the needs of commerce. Commerce was permitted to use electricity
at the workplace for ony 3 days each week. Oil lamps instead of
electric lights, stairs instead of lifts/elevators
and manual typewriters or pens, quill or otherwise, instead of electric
word processors and dictation machines, were all used to
overcome these restrictions.

An oil lamp, a biro and some carbon paper were sufficient
to maintain my own 5 day week.

The Great British public gave Ted Heath no
support at the next election which served only to postpone
the next stand off with the Trade Unions to Maggie Thatcher's day.
Most UK coal mining jobs in the UK, subsequently ended.

Should history ever repeat itself in the form of another
3 day week, society's virtual
dependency on computers today, would result in far more
havoc and disruption than in 1972/4.

In reflecting on those unlighted times,
I've decided to lighten up this blog's appearance a little,
by turning on the light and losing the black template.

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