Text of this morning's thought.
In any crisis, there are always some people who manage to benefit. One such winner in the current financial turmoil is FirstGroup, who run most of Bristol’s buses and trains. Yesterday they announced a 56% leap in first half revenue, and a 44% jump in profits. When cash is short, more of us use public transport, which is good news for those who provide it.
Another winner is Barack Obama. Obama is such a charismatic politician that perhaps he would have won the US presidency whatever the competition. But he was surely helped by the unpopularity of George W Bush, and the global financial crisis, both of which made many voters more receptive to his message that change was necessary.
FirstGroup and Obama may have little in common: I certainly know which I’d rather travel with. But it is precisely their differences which make this one point of connection interesting. Problems of whatever kind always create opportunities. Some of these opportunities are to make a profit, some are to do good, and some may be to do both. All of them, however, are opportunities that only exist because things are not right in the first place. We would not need the hope Obama often talks about if everything was hunky dory already.
What I am talking about here is optimism without illusions, the belief that things can be better that doesn’t deny that right now they’re bad. FirstGroup’s profits and Obama’s victory remind us in different ways of how every solution needs a problem; and that the surest way out of a hole has to be found from within it.