Editorial: All in the soup together

Well, that was the month that was. September 2008 was 30 days most of us will wish to forget. And not just those who work - or worked - at HBOS, Lehman's or AIG. We're all in the soup together, facing an indefinite spell that will be markedly lacking in irrational exuberance, or, indeed, exuberance of any variety. Let's hope the moment of highest pessimism is over and that we can get on with trying to mend things.

by Matthew Gwyther, mt editor
Last Updated: 09 Oct 2013

Willie Walsh appears to be one of life's natural optimists. And he needs to be. The British Airways boss must wonder if someone up there really has it in for him. Ever since he took over at our nation's flagcarrier he has been assailed by one nightmare after another: striking baggage-handlers, the Terminal Five cock-up, having one of his 777s come down short of the Heathrow runway, the price of kerosene, or merely a dose of polonium in two of his planes, courtesy of those charmers in the FSB (son of KGB). Now he's faced with a marked lack of investment bankers travelling business class with him across the Atlantic. What could be next - a plague of frogs in the BA canteen? Still, look on the bright side - he could have been boss of Alitalia.

One thing's for sure about Walsh, he's an airline person down to his marrow. But what are you? Are you what you do, or somebody else altogether? Our article about work and identity looks at how people are moulded, even defined, by their job.

As someone who loves his Etro shirts - without being defined by them - I got a rude shock when I received an e-mail from a reader taking me to task for my dress sense. The cheeky sod in question is Austen Pickles from Yorkshire: with a handle (and a nerve level) like that, he couldn't come from anywhere else. Anyway, he's insisted on improving my life chances by making me a suit from his Southern outpost, Salts, near Liverpool Street, London. And here it is in the new ed's photo.

Because I'd like to ease my conscience about accepting this outrageous freebie, I will be going through my desk, sideboard and coin jars and giving all my spare foreign cash to the Unicef appeal that Walsh was supporting on his Tanzania trip. If you wish to do the same - and just think, if global downturn is going to be bad for us, how it's likely to hit those less fortunate than us in the developing world - then hand over unwanted rupees, kina or bhats on any BA flight. Or make a personal or corporate donation via www.unicef.org.uk/changeforgood.

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