Let it never be said that Toady cannot admit his mistakes. After a lifetime of cynically believing that the world was ruled by nepotism, the genesis of Major's classless society has finally proved him wrong. No more do tiny scions of great industrial families find seats on the board in their Christmas stockings. Those who succeed, it seems, now do so on merit alone. Indeed, when the blue chips are down, the possession of a gilt-edged mummy and daddy appears to have become a positive liability.
Consider, if you will, the case of one Robert Hanson. Aged only 32, wee Rabbie has already worked his way up to become a director of one of Britain's largest conglomerates. Rabbie's is as clear a case of virtue rewarded as you could want: the stratospheric young man has managed all of this in spite of the fact that the conglomerate in question is called Hanson plc (prop. Lord Hanson).
And Hanson II is not unique. Those who espouse the cause of freedom and meritocracy will also take heart from the story of young Nicholas Ritblat, one of six executive directors of the mammoth British Land group. Cruel tongues might once have hissed that his prodigious rise was not entirely divorced from the fact that the company's chief executive is called John Ritblat, but no more: freed by Major from this mendacity, Ritblat fils's success can at last be seen for the personal triumph that it is.
Nor are opportunities afforded by the Brave New Major Meritocracy confined to unfortunate older sons alone: as might have been hoped, daughters, too, may now benefit.
In spite of her unfortunate surname, young Justine Roddick has recently managed to find a job with the Body Shop's New York operation (and this in the face of her mother's well-known taste for commercial democracy), while Debbie Raymond, Crown Princess of Soho, has triumphed over genetic adversity to take up employment with her father, Paul Raymond's group.
Enthused by the compelling moral wisdom of Major's new egalitarianism, New Britons, too, have begun to carry its banner. Ambar and Akash Paul have started at the bottom (as mere directors) of their father, Swraj's, Caparo group, and may, in the fullness of time, be expected to work their way up to the top. All this makes Toady's newly-democratised heart swell: men are created equal after all, and Lincoln knew what he was talking about.
Northwards ho! The land is bright.
Another piece of advice from the Toady Centre for Management Studies: cultivate a taste for tripe, and buy yourself a whippet. If there is a tripe and whippet shortage in your part of Surrey, a flat cap and some racing pigeons will do. Why? Consider this: while much of British industry has recently imploded, three top Yorkshire firms have announced results that are nothing if not, well, against the trend; Kevin McDonald's Polypipe and Bill Rooney's Spring Ram have, it seems, upped their profits by 11% and 13% respectively (giving credence to the time-honoured link between muck and brass: Rooney makes bathroom fittings, McDonald plastic plumbing). Graham Kirkham's more fragrant furniture manufacturers, Northern Upholstery, has just announced a 66% hike on profits, with a well-padded 60% return on capital. This is hardly what we had been led to understand by the North-South divide.
Redundant researchers rise again.
Now Toady will have no truck with xenophobes, but let us be frank: some of these foreigners have a strange way of doing things. Take this story from the Japanese electronics giant, Hitachi. In the early '80s, the company decided to revolutionise hydro-electric power, and commissioned a team of home-grown researchers. A couple of years later, the project was dropped. Did the aforementioned research group do what any red-blooded English team might have done (ie, go on strike and then trash the lab) in its place? It did not. Nor did it even, in that beguiling oriental tradition, publicly eviscerate itself. Instead, the researchers went underground, working quietly - unpaid and in their own time. Sickening enough, perhaps, but there is worse. Eventually, the team emerged into the sunlight and presented Hitachi's president, Tsutomu Kanai, with - a revolutionary hydro-electric process. Now you know, Lord Weinstock, if you didn't already, just what you're up against.