yemenOne of the films that made me think the most was Salmon fishing in the Yemen. I’d not heard others rave about it and it didn’t catch my eye when it was a trailer. Fishing is not my thing either so I don’t know what sttracted me to it.

Times are getting tougher for most folk. Messages about even harder times for public services are becoming more blunt in tone. The reality of less folk to do what is needed are increasingly being felt, meaning some things will have to change and some things will stop.

Back to the film, the story is about a Sheik from Yemen who has money to do what he wants. His dream is to fish for Salmon in his home country; a land where Salmon don’t live and where climate and geography are not on his side. He enlists fishing expert Ewan McGregor to make it happen. McGregor doesn’t believe the Sheik’s plan is possible. Statistics and science tell him Yemen is not the place to make it a reality but the contract is too good a deal for his employer who put him on the job anyway, expecting results.

In short, he goes through the motions waiting for the moment when the concept is proved a pie in the sky project and he can return home to the work he normally does.

The key moment is when the Sheik takes McGregor fishing. He asks him if he is religious. McGregor replies he has no use for religion as he relies on science and statistics. The Sheik then asks him when he will catch his next fish. McGregor can’t answer and admits there are times he catches no fish at all. The Sheik then asks why he fishes if he can’t be sure he will catch anything, suggesting McGregor must have faith to believe there will be another, perhaps bigger, fish.

And that was the point at which McGregor engaged with the project in Yemen and made it happen.

I’ve never been religious either, but I do think you can have faith in an idea or people to achieve something in a different way that, on the face of it, appears not achievable. It’s about possible and probable. Either way, these things need a spark to ignite them in a way that makes people see them differently and that often starts with communication.

There is no endless pot of money for public services. That message is clear. What there is will reduce and it will change things. The current reality is that change is going to start by someone saying ‘NO’ or ‘not in that way’.

Good communications will be crucial in explaining changes. The quicker things are explained, the better.

It means having faith that ‘different’ might also get the job done.

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