I recently took off, bound for the wilds of the north of Scotland. Him Upstairs called it a sabbatical – I called it politics after a clampdown on expenses revealed His monthly claims tallied rather too closely with the mortgage on his new villa in the Costas.
Now I love Scotland for its wild landscapes and engaging people. However, once you’re out into the hinterlands the word cosmopolitan applies with alarming infrequency. Diversity is a word that is sometimes bandied about, but only when farmers are deciding between square and round hay bales.
Or at least that’s what I thought.
I was taking a taxi with a chap who doubles up the driving job with raising pheasants and quails. So when he commented that there were 60 Polish folk living down the road from him and working in the local chicken farm, I prepared myself for the inevitable assault on ‘Them’ and how they were coming to take ‘Our Jobs’.
Instead, he praised their hard work and said the local area was lucky to have them since there really wasn’t anyone else to do the work.
Eureka! I thought – there is light at the end of the tunnel. If people who aren’t really exposed to a diverse population at all can accept the importance of mixing it up then surely those of us who claim to be cosmopolitan and worldly-wise can do the same.
I didn’t ask the fellow about the issue of women in the workplace, but after the next expenses audit, I’m sure I’ll get the chance.