Phyllis Chesler Interviews Carol Gould

carol gould

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I do not accept the notion that Britons will not take service jobs
Last uploaded : Sunday 10th Sep 2017 at 11:56
Contributed by : Carol Gould



The first question on BBC ‘Any Questions?’ this weekend focussed on the gaps that will overwhelm us when foreign workers will no longer be serving us at Pizza express, Pret a Manger and other establishments. My response is ‘Why can’t British workers fill these roles?’ I am told by family and friends in the USA that service jobs are still, for the most part, held by local employees, particularly outside big cities. In fact, I think Labour leader Jeremy Corbyn, deep down inside, would like to see more jobs for British workers.

Bonnie Greer once said on 'Question Time' during the controversy about the £9,000 UK tuition fee that she flipped burgers whilst completing her degree. I held down three jobs in high school, college AND graduate school. Americans like Bonnie and me didn't do 'gap year.' Young Britons, instead of blaming us oldsters for Brexit, can get off their behinds and do these Pizza Express/Pret etc jobs. Likewise I had an ultrasound practitoner at St Mary's Hospital who couldn't discuss my leg pain because 'No English!' said he. Recently my chemo had to be delayed for hours because a Romanian phlebotomist used the wrong vein to take blood. I had warned her to consult the chemo unit but her eyes glazed over -- before I could stop her she plunged the needle into my arm, smiling broadly. Here's the clincher: at Baker and Spice a couple of weeks ago the waiter ('No English!') gave me his notepad to write out my order.

I have a unique perspective. When I came here from the USA in 1976 EVERYONE working EVERYWHERE was British. I loved making small talk, whether with the greengrocer, librarian, bus conductor, cab driver, my GP or postman. The country ticked over nicely, thank you every much, without EU rules. WHY Britons can't fill the jobs left vacant by EU workers is beyond me. I worked hard in my teens and twenties. I still completed college and graduate school. The Remoaning British youth had better get used to doing that, too.

Another aspect to this is that for three years after multiple medical crises I have had carers. Some are kind but many aggressive, hostile and basically useless. Not one over three years has been British. Same with District Nurses. Why?? What I find sad about this is that I cannot have even a brief chat with them -- they have no idea what I am talking about when I mention the Proms, Wimbledon, Trooping the Colour, Guy Fawkes, Halloween or other things lonely sick people like to talk about. But worst of all is trying to get these girls to understand what I want from the shops or what newspaper I would like. Several have barked at me 'No English!' Some will not even buy vacuum-packed bacon as they are not allowed to 'look at' it. I was pleased to see that a young woman up North has started a care agency that employs carers who are capable of sitting down for 5 minutes and chatting to sick and elderly people - some war veterans - confined to home. Perhaps central London will look to this model.

Carol Gould

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