I read these words with interest the other day.
"Today, more than never before, the economic battle is the main task , because it is on this work that the sustainability and the preservation of our social system rest.
Without a sound and dynamic economy and without the removal of superfluous expenses and waste, it will neither be possible to improve the living standard of the population nor to preserve and improve the high levels of education and healthcare ensured to every citizen free of charge.
If the people do not feel the need to work for a living because they are covered by extremely paternalistic and irrational regulations, we will never be able to stimulate love for work or resolve the chronic lack of workers; teachers, police and other indispensable trades.
If we do not build a firm and systematic rejection of illegal activities and different expressions of corruption, more than a few will continue to make fortunes at the expense of the majority.
If we keep the inflated payrolls in nearly every sector of national life and pay salaries that fail to correspond with the result of work we cannot expect the prices to cease climbing constantly or prevent the deterioration of the people’s purchasing power."
Now these don't come from Manchester or Liverpool and are not a sneak preview of what's to come in Birmingham. But the sentiment and general thrust of it could be used, I suggest, at anyone of them.
I have always been struck more by the similarities between peoples across history, geographies, and ideologies than the differences. Reading Chaucer I find behind the Germanic language characters that are readily identifiable to me today. Travelling the world you meet people whose concerns and aspirations are much the same as ours. Looking at early business history I see the same concerns and issues being grappled with as modern entrepreneurs face, albeit mediated through different technology. It is that belief that we have more in common than we often give credit to that I think is both hopeful and positive. I also believe that Social Media, when used well and appropriately is a wonderful tool to help us to nurture and tap into shared enthusiasm, shared innovation and shared prosperity.
Oh and who said those words – General Raul Castro Ruz.