A simple country baker

13 January, 2006
Comment
Page 18 

Tony Phillips is past president of the NAMB and is (allegedly) retired from running Janes Pantry with 10 shops in Gloucestershire

Another year is over and we have survived. In fact, to be truthful, we have had a pretty good year, so we have a warm glow of satisfaction that we can soon give a good proportion of the little money we have made to the politicians to waste!
Have you ever wondered what the difference between theft and redistribution is?If I break into your home, steal your money and give it to travel agents or shops in exchange for services and goods, I would be a criminal. In the unlikely event that I were caught I could be punished.However, if I were a politician and took your money, it would be called redistribution. And if I then gave large amounts of your money to, say, Poland to improve its underground system, I would be called a good European.Alternatively, I could take your money and build a huge dome-shaped useless building and call it ‘The Dome’. After failing to find a use for it I could then virtually give it away.No, that is too ridiculous. Even as a politician I could not be that stupid, could I?With a new year perhaps we could have a wish-list starting with a few radical ideas, such as a police force that might start thinking its first job was to stop crime and possibly catch criminals.Next, an education system that taught at least 90% of pupils to read and write by the age of 16 and taught them that the private sector is the true source of wealth and the public sector spends it, not creates it.I read recently that 1% of Britain is covered by roads. Could we not double that? This would surely solve our road problems for the next 40 years and by then I am sure there would be a much more environmentally clean form of transport. Think of the enormous economic advantages of being able to deliver goods swiftly around the country.We must control the supermarket chains – their growth has got out of hand. While they have done a great deal in keeping prices down, they have become too powerful and will soon be a monopoly, which is against the public interest. And I have not overlooked bakery. At this time of the year we can look back on the highlights of the past year and look forward to the coming 12 months.There were so many great times to look back on. One I remember with great pleasure was my time spent with Albert Waterfield and being shown around his company. He is a truly remarkable man.Then there was my stay with Noel and Sheila Grout – old friends and again a fine business.There’s always so much to learn. While Albert and Noel’s businesses are very different in size, the two men are similar in their love for the trade and constant search to improve.Every year we make New Year resolutions. Mine is to be perfectly clear when requesting any job to be done. A lack of clarity can sometimes get you into trouble.For example, when Barbara and I were young we had an artist friend. I asked him if he would paint Barbara in the nude, to which he replied: “Of course, but I will have to keep my socks on because I have a tiled floor!I hope you had a merry Christmas and I wish you all a prosperous and happy New Year.



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