Thursday, 12 December 2013

Well the inevitable has

happened and the big boss in Detroit has informed the minnow in Adelaide that Holden will close the doors in 2017. It means that a lot of people are going to be out of a job.
Everyone expected this to happen. Yes, they did expect it to happen. All that money they kept pouring in was just trying to delay the inevitable.
Most of that money was wasted. I do not mean for a moment that it was wasted by the workers themselves. They have families to feed, mortgages to pay and all the other expenses of every day life. No doubt some of them will wish they had not spent quite so much on unnecessary things and more on paying off the mortgage and saving for the future but that is true of all of us I suspect.
No, the money was wasted by successive governments who kept bowing to union demands for ever rising wages and conditions. (Where else in the world does the car industry actually close for three weeks over Christmas and New Year like Toyota still will because the union says it must?)
Money spent on trying to save the car industry should have been spent on diversifying and retraining and developing for a future without a car industry. The dollar was too high, our population was too small, we manufactured the wrong sort of cars and the industry was set up to be as inefficient as possible by unions which refused to recognise the need to be flexible.
Our state Premier is of course now blaming the Prime Minister for Holden's demise. There is a picture of the Premier in this morning's paper. He is looking furious. He reportedly is furious. Why? He is claiming that all it would have taken his more taxpayer funds and better negotiation to save the car industry.
He's wrong. He knows he is wrong and furious embarrassment is not going to get him anywhere. I have no doubt he believes that his stance will cause people to believe that yes the Prime Minister is directly responsible. Certainly there is more than a hint of sympathy for the Premier in the way it has been reported.
I suspect the decision was made long ago. It was probably made  well before the Federal election. Detroit would have been waiting to see how much they were going to get before making the decision of when - not if. The two previous Prime Ministers knew that nothing was going to save Holden. Putting money in was a way of shoring up votes.
But politics are politics and the present Prime Minister will no doubt be held responsible.
I pondered all of this while trying to by sheets yesterday. The untidiest shop had sheets for sale at half price. They were good quality and, at half price, about the amount I could afford to pay.
We needed them. I had bought some for the Senior Cat earlier but gone on using the threadbare ones myself. Those have also reached their use-by date (and then some). Another woman was also looking in the disaster zone for similar sheets. We helped one another - and came away with what we needed.
I had to wait while a young girl bought fabric and a pattern. We chatted too because she had a question about where to find something.
She is making herself some clothes to wear to university next year. She will do it while watching out for a neighbour's children...who are old enough to entertain themselves apparently but not old enough to be left.
She was wearing something she had made for herself too. "Not the jeans but I made the top. Mum taught me to sew. It saves a heap."
The top was as good - perhaps better - than anything she could have bought. The fabric was a remnant and, she told me, had cost her six dollars.
I felt like suggesting she go and teach our Premier the value of learning old skills to make something new, of putting the effort in and getting the satisfaction of creating something you not only want but need.  The problem is I don't think he would listen. It is easier to blame someone else.


Helen Devries said...

When I think of the taxpayers' money that goes to bribing foreign firms to come in in order to massage the unemployment figures I think also that that money could have been better used setting up smaller local industries and businesses - the real generators of employment.
But politicians don't look further than the next election campaign.

Anonymous said...

I cannot believe the panic now the decision has been announced ... there is time to think about it and make good plans, and announcing something today is the sort of kneejerk reaction we can live without.