A Married Man

Read, Piers Paul

J. B. Lippincott, 1979

p. 93

John Strickland, a barrister who runs as a labour party candidate argues with a conservative banker that a coal miner ought to earn as much as he, namely, the banker. The banker replies that no law prevents a coal miner becoming a merchant banker. No, says Strickland, but then you wouldn’t give him a job. “Because he couldn’t do it,’ replies the banker. “There you are,” says Strickland. “You assume that coal miners are stupider than merchant bankers and that the merchant banker’s financial cunning should bring a greater reward than the courage and endurance of the coal miner. It’s not surprising that those of the top of any given hierarchy should see it as the natural order of things, but it is equally predictable that those on the bottom--be they helots, plebeians, serfs, slaves, or British workers--should take a different view.”