No License for Derek Wiscombe
APRIL 01, 1958
Derek Wiscombe, in the town of
And then the vested interests got to work. The nationalized Pickford’s objected to the grant of a license. Derek, they said, was "too enterprising." Not more enterprising than Pickford’s had been in the remote past! For Pick-ford’s began with a single horse and cart! Nobody, it seems, must follow the trail that Pickford’s blazed — least of all a boy of 17!
Then — and here I quote from the Recorder of 16 November:
". . . a big firm called Tyneside Removals objected on the astonishing ground that Wiscombe is a person who will work round the clock, and would be a threat to our business if he were granted this license. In five years he might replace us in this town.’ "
It might have been supposed that the Traffic Commissioner’s Tribunal would have been very outspoken on this matter. It could have said to Pickford’s — "Do you thus scorn the base ladder by which you did ascend?" It might have said to Tyneside Removals — "Is your concern — large and well-established — so fearful, so inefficient, so distrustful of its own capacities, that it fears the competition of a boy of 17, whose only sin is that he is prepared to work hard? Could not your men work as hard as he is willing to do? Must the whole machinery of the modern, mighty State be invoked to prevent this lad swapping a horse for a lorry?"
There might have been made by the Traffic Commissioner’s Tribunal a parable of this case, a parable of universal application in this, our
But what did the Tribunal do? It refused Derek Wiscombe a license. That will teach him that the unforgivable sin in the eyes of nationalized industries and big private firms is to work too hard. What, in the light of this case, becomes of the conservative belief in the virtues of private enterprise?
Lord Hailsham goes around ringing bells. But I recall a verse from one of the poets, which suitably adapted seems not inappropriate here:
‘Twould ring the bells of heaven
The wildest peal for years
If Commissioners lost their senses
And people came to theirs…!
From the column by "Diogenes" in the British weekly, Time & Tide,