The Lord looks after him who looks after himself (After the Life of Brian)

It is not news that I have always campaigned against the various groups of people who claim to be representing the Industry (that is us operators, by the way) and yet the plain and simple truth, and their track record, is that they are actually doing nothing to improve our lot.

I suppose I should give the SURVIVE Group 5 out of 10 for their efforts to reduce hard shoulder fatalities, but in some way by publicising the fatalities has alerted most people to the danger. So possibly they have not achieved as much as even I think they have.

The fact of the matter is that the only way forward is for each operator to look after himself and not worry about anyone else, which is really what these Green Flag Super Operators are doing. While I feel sorry for every operator who loses a territory, as I have said before, these large operators have more bottle than me. I therefore have to admire their courage.

Looking back over the last 30 years (the true life of our Industry) it has been the skill and dedication of various operators that has kept them and the Industry alive and while all these quango groups have in the last 10 years claimed to help us, I can only think of one person who has ever helped the Recovery Industry and that man is Brian Hagan, formerly of National Breakdown now, of course, Green Flag.

It could be said that he happened to be in the right place at the right time in history but I would prefer to say that it was “cometh the hour; cometh the man”. Brian was there at the beginning 30-odd years ago and almost single-handedly developed a chain of operators which were then, of course, used by many other work providers.

Remember there were other people who tried to meet the challenge of forcing the independent Recovery sector forward, but soon realised that they couldn’t cut the mustard.

Brian not only threw his weight behind every single operator, large or small, supported them to the hilt, unless of course they let him down, and then they were promptly history. But more importantly he ensured that we were paid what was for the time the proper rate for the job. He then followed this up with annual increases which must have taken some doing in the Board Room. And all of this with no bureaucracy, just common sense and keep the member happy. The result was there for everyone to see – National Breakdown went from 0 to 100 miles per hour in just 20 years.

It was a sad day for all of us when, in later years he got marginalised as the Royal Bank of Scotland played their part, and he eventually retired.

Time and history proves who has been valuable and who has given that bit extra and Brian was that man. 30-odd years ago the opportunity was taken to model our Industry but now in many ways we are left rudderless after falling foul of big company policy. So, until our next Brian appears we are left looking after ourselves, each and every one of us, we have no other choice.

What a pity one of these quango groups can’t do something similar and be our new Brian.

Fred Henderson
Breakdown Doctor
September, 2012