Flashback: In this week last year


We’d just arrived back in London after a holiday at a friend’s house in Spain. It was a journey of discovery because our friends were in Spain because they decided suddenly one day that Spain was where they wanted to be. They sold their house in Sussex and shot straight off to Spain. First they rented a property, then bought one that “needed work”. This is where we spent the holiday that had just finished and when this diary entry begins. So happily it does not include the day we arrived, a day I accidentally sat on my one and only pair of reading glasses. It thus became the holiday “of sticky tape and epoxy glue”.

Tuesday Some pictures from our visit to Spain.

Sunday Andrew Rawnsley writes in the Observer: “The government’s desperation to stampede parliament into signing off on the [Brexit] deal was further illustrated by its point-blank refusal to publish any analysis of its economic impact.”

Later: Yesterday was the Barbican Archive Residency Weekend and I was given a table and a TV screen to display my Golden Lane Collection. I also featured on the Archive Jukebox talking about the Golden Lane Estate. The event was a good first step to opening an interest in the estate to the public. We had some enjoyable conversations and heard some fascinating recollections.

The Golden Lane archive collection…
With Barb looking bored…

The icing on the cake came afterwards during a talk with a group of construction workers who went on strike during the building of the Barbican. A range of views came out, from the militancy of the unions and the corrosive bonus culture used by the bosses in a cynical way, to the seeming absurdity of the job demarcation rules that meant simple tasks could not be performed by anyone from the ‘wrong’ union.

One member of the audience (himself a lefty builder) stated in the QA afterwards that demarcation was a way to safeguard solidarity among the workers.

The strange feeling was that although this all seemed part of a past that has long gone, and of the prevalence of a mass-workforce industrial model, the issues are still alive and a generation of young workers are about to be pushed into re-enacting that battle for better conditions.

I wonder how they will handle it since Britain now has a fragmented workforce. Can the unions pull them together in the fight?

Read all of my Diaries.

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