The workers’ hero

Not since the communist ratbaggery of the Stalinist era has there emerged a workers’ hero quite like Anna Coote.

This new darling of the masses belongs to the New Economics Foundation, a so-called think-and-do tank that has operated in the UK for the past two decades. Her premise is that we work to consume and our consumption is ruining the planet so we’d all better work less.

Now, before anyone engages in economic rationalism or any other form of fiscal denunciation, let’s hear what this wondrous woman has to say. Essentially, she reckons we should all only work 21 hours a week. Don’t know about you but that’s enough to have me subscribe as a life member. Don’t even care what she’s selling, I just like the pitch.

My missus might reckon I wouldn’t work in an iron lung but the notion of being able to say I am only working 21 hours a week as a matter of principle has had a more wondrous impact on me than Viagra. Love this woman!

The delectable Anna (who may be as ugly as all get out so far as external appearance go, I just don’t care) says that by working 21 hours a week we would ‘have more time to be better parents, better citizens, better carers and better neighbours’.

But wait, there’s more! Anna says employers would get their chop, too. She says we could ‘become better employees: less stressed, more in control, happier in our jobs and more productive’. The chorus of this new anthem is: ‘It is time to break the power of the old industrial clock, take back our lives and work for a sustainable future.’ Hear, hear.

But wait, there’s even something for Kevin Rudd and Penny Wong in this! Anna and her cohort tell us that a 21 hour working week would reduce high carbon emissions. So, there you have it. Not since the mooted second coming of Jesus Christ has any initiative promised so much, to so many, with so little effort.

Oh, there was just a niggling doubt I had but that’s probably because I’m a cynical bastard. Nowhere did NEF tell me how I could pay the mortgage on just 21 hours of work a week. I trawled right through their site but that little bit must have got overlooked somewhere. Do hope they find it. Seems quite important, really.