I suddenly realise why Bevan felt the need to stuff the medical profession's mouth with gold

I should have known better, but it was a moment worth savouring. The trouble is that my enthusiasm for Alan Shearer's goal has left me still hoarse and strangely getting hoarser. And as a remarkable amount of my life is spent talking in public, this is emerging as a potential disability of alarming proportions. This morning, London Borough Grants has asked me to speak at a breakfast launch of its rather good appraisal of what is happening in the social economy. I croak about globalisation, winner- and loser-take-all neighbourhoods and the need to back the bottom-up institutions of the social economy. Can anyone hear? Somebody afterwards tells me they prefer it when I'm hoarse. Why can't I be more adult in front of England football games?

This evening, it's the Industrial Society Work World Awards for outstanding journalism related to work and business, and, as the society's chief executive, I find myself the still-hoarse master of ceremonies. Judging this year has exposed an interesting and worrying trend - the competition from the print entries was notably less fierce than from television and radio. The more the judges reflected on it, the more they came to the view that TV and radio are taking these issues more seriously. There are notable exceptions but newspaper enthusiasm seems focused on areas that seem more certain circulation-boosters. The result is that business, industrial and labour print journalism is going through rather a lean patch.

Michael Portillo gives the keynote speech, with well-honed elan, even if some of the lines are familiar. Intriguingly, he talks less about individualism than the rewards of teamwork and association. He has the magnetism of a classy front-rank politician. His job has been to close down the attacks on Tory flanks with his commitments on full employment, the minimum wage and matching Labour's spending plans on health and education - and so allow Hague to make populist sallies. It's an interesting double act. The Tories may yet surprise us.

Jeff Gates is in London - the self-styled conservative who insists that American inequality has now grown to such offensive levels that the only way to legitimise capitalism is to find new ways of giving ordinary citizens a stake in it. The Industrial Society has organised a lunch for him to talk about his new book - Democracy at Risk - in front of a small roll-call of well-known British believers in the merits of wider employee share- ownership.That route is too slow to spread wealth meaningfully, he says. Something more radical is called for.

Why, he asks his bemused British audience, does anybody need more than $25m of personal wealth? Above that cap, wealth should automatically revert to the commonwealth and the dividends be distributed as a citizen's basic income. It's the coming big idea, he insists. You can't run any society with America's obscene levels of wealth inequality and expect it to survive. Who in Britain says such things with the same passion?

There is no typical Industrial Society day. Today begins with a radio interview - I'm still hoarse - on how e-mail overload is threatening to make organisations angrier as we hit the reply key with immediate, short and angry responses to others' e-mails. The moral is to sleep on your replies, and consider whether that angry one-liner is really what you want to say. Then there's a couple of back-to-back meetings; a two-hour board meeting; and an afternoon working through enough correspondence to clear my desk and prepare for a flying visit to Switzerland.

So who would spend half their weekend in Zurich celebrating the tenth anniversary of the bankruptcy of an almost unwatched TV channel? Well, a whole bunch of us, including ITN's Dermot Murnaghan and the director of programmes for the new Swiss Channel 3 - all former colleagues who tried to get the European Business Channel off the ground. My old friend James Long imagines he has booked two single rooms for us, but it turns out the reservation went missing. We wind up as the odd couple sharing a room in Zurich's seediest and cheapest hotel, vying with each other for the loudest snores. But as reunions go, this is good; genuine pleasure at seeing each other again. The Germans, Swiss and British who worked together in astonishingly adverse circumstances are now bound by real friendship. The project didn't work, but I finish the weekend as inspired by the European ideal as I was ten years ago. One Europe can and must be built.

Back in England, I board the Virgin train for Manchester for an Industrial Society conference on business ethics. But afterwards, to make amends for a cancelled visit two months ago, I have promised Waterstone's to talk about New Life for Health in the evening - the commission looking into accountability in the NHS. A doctor reacts angrily to our view that the NHS is hopelessly unaccountable. What matters is personal conscience, he says. Doctors are different from the rest of the professions and don't need busybody regulating.

I suddenly realise why Bevan felt the need to stuff the medical profession's mouth with gold. There is a culture of curmudgeonly contrariness among some doctors who really believe they are a class apart. I do my best to persuade him, but what I really want is to sleep. And on the 8.59 home, that is precisely what I do.

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