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Friends like these

Updated: Aug 1, 2019

Or Nepotism and the Overuse of Italics Might Not be All Bad?


I don’t know about you (people I don’t know are now reading these entries), but when me and my friends are moaning about the present state of affairs and we get on to how they all went to Eton and get their friends and relatives cushy jobs in Quangos or whatever, you know the sort of thing, then I hate nepotism as much as the next person.

Not just the Politicians, the people with soft power, which I think is what used to be called Positions of Influence; Journalists, Telly people, Directors of the bigger not-for-profits like Think-Tanks and charities, The Metropolitan Elite, you know; them. All looking out for each other, it’s not what you know, it’s who and They are all in it together etc, etc.

Then, on my way back from getting a bit of paid work from Ceri Dingle’s charity WORLDwrite, my old friend, the polymath Graham Barnfield, calls me to let me have a spare ISBN and I see nepotism in a different light.

I don’t want an Amazon ISBN because if I ever choose to self-publish another, more difficult, way I would to get another ISBN. That’s messy and unprofessional and I am going for it. But ISBNs are a long way from cheap. Graham Barnfield has really helped me out.

And my friend Caspar helped get my Eldest a work placement where he is now an apprentice, and my mum and dad read a draft of Changing the Subject , and John Davey (who doesn’t have a public link) did some comprehensive editing and taught me how to do it myself for nothing, and Mark Al-Dulaimi and Sophie Moorcock read a draft of my next one, and Alex Cameron is designing my book jacket for free. Is that nepotism; just helping out your mates? Loyalty? Giving a friend a helping hand is good surely? When I put some-one in the direction of some work, I feel better about myself.

So are we a they? Lots of the people mentioned above are old RCPers like me and we styled ourselves as a political party. A few people still think the old RCPers are a they. I don’t feel like a they. But then a lot of them don’t seem to realise that they are they either?

So I think of the opposite of nepotism; if I were to betray a friend and we were to start having a go at each other; saying nasty things publically on Facebook or Twitter, trying to get each-other into trouble at work, bitching to other friends or something it would be deeply upsetting and at least one of us would feel bad, even lose out on something we need. All very sad, but if I fall out with a friend it has a negligible effect on Our reputation abroad or the exchange rate of the Pound.

Whereas, when they turn on each other like angry cats in a sack, we all suffer, because they are running the country. They do seem to fall out rather a lot at the moment, which isn’t very nepotistic at all. And we all have to put up with who said what to who, and which schlep leaked what to some other slime-bag for hours, days and sometimes weeks and months on end. And everybody lives in interesting times, some more interesting than others. And we don’t get a look in.

We have to look out for each other surely. Especially when they seem a bit busy tearing each other apart at the moment.

So, does that mean nepotism is wrong when they help their friends get placed in positions of soft or hard influence? But good when my mate, Graham Barnfield, gives me an ISBN because writing doesn’t pay?

Is it that there’s nothing wrong with being loyal then, it’s just you have to be a bit careful who you help out? Be loyal to? Us or them? Graham Barnfield is definitely an Us.

When I go on like this to my mates, someone often tells me I should write a book, not always in the most positive tone. But I had better get on with it anyway.


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©2019 by kate abley.

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