Decline and Decay

I have been on the P&O cruise ship Azura all week and got to thinking about where we are in the struggle for independence and I realised that this ship and indeed the corporate culture of P&O epitomises the last vestige of the British Empire.

P&O, although owned by Carnival , an American company, promote themselves as a “very British “ company and they show this in several ways, none of which are Scottish ,Irish or Welch, so really they are English . Their attempt to promote this “Britishness starts in their publicity material, where they explain that the ships in the fleet are crewed by British nationals. Not quite true as in general the officers and senior admin staff are British, the servers, the cleaning staff the “Gaungadins” are in general Asian.

First impression of the ship is the butchers apron wrapped around the bow of the ship and this continues as you board with all the decks named after a one time British colony. Dress code is strictly adhered to with two formal nights and all other evenings requiring a shirt and jacket in most bars and restaurants.

One thing missing is a group of strange people, wearing bowler hats and Orange sashes, parading along the Prominade deck, but given recent government mascinations ,I am sure they will think of that before long as they continue their policy of shuffling the deck chairs on the Titanic.

So I am sitting here in the ships coffee shop having my usual morning capachino and thinking of where we in Scotland are in relation to the decaying British empire, I am served by a pleasant young Indian gentleman who looks at the t shirt I am wearing which depicts the heading of my blog “ Society grows great when old men plant trees they know they will never sit in the shade of, create a better country for our children” He gives a big smile and the thumbs up sign. They did exactly this in India and many other countries when they broke away from the shackles of the British empire and removed the butchers apron from their flag poles for good, except in some token ways as members of the commonwealth.

I am reminded of the state of the last vestiges of that once enormous empire , as I sit here aware of the mild but prevalent exotic scent of leaking colostomy bags percolating in the air conditioned breeze. Yes this ship truly represents the decaying British empire and we in Scotland need to continue on our road to independence for our children’s sake.

It has been an interesting trip and I enjoyed Norway very much, a country of much the same size, population wise as Scotland but a much wealthier country because of the fact that they have complete control of their assets and more importantly control of their future.

I probably won’t travel again on P&O , not because of the quality of the ship , the service or attention to detail but because of their culture.



I have been in business for well over half a century but I learn something new every day. My politics are the middle of the road. I believe that the far-right and far-left are equally harmful. Jim Murphy ( at that time, leader of the Scottish Labour party) asked me if I called myself a socialist. I said, "no Jim, I am not a socialist, I am a capitalist, but a capitalist with a social conscience.

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