RICHARD BRANSON and the SECOND CONDITIONAL!
Student Worksheet & Poem
1. For Your Information 1
NIMBY – stands for Not In My Back Yard. The plural is Nimbies. Nimbies are people who support any kind of government plan to build houses, motorways or prisons just as long as they aren’t built near where they live.
2. Discussion 11.
Where do the NImbies in your country live?
Are they usually well-off or poor?
What plans do they oppose?
How do they oppose them?
3. Information 2
Philanthropists are people who invest a great deal of their personal wealth in big scale building projects to help the poor. Peabody Carnegie and Cadbury were just three famous 19th Century philanthropists
4. Discussion 2
a. Do you know about any philanthropists in your country?
b. Are there any today?
c. Do you think it’s right that individuals should invest their money in public works?
d. Should only governments do this? Justify your answer.
5. Reading aloud and comprehenison
Get into a group of 3 and read the poem aloud to each other
Partner 1: you play the part of Bert (who starts)
Partner 2: you play the part of Ron
Partner 3: you are the narrator and read what they don’t say (in italics)
IF RICHARD BRANSON ......
Bert: - If Richard Branson built a firm .....
Ron: - That’s not the word they use these days.
Bert: - If ........ he acquired. ... Is that the term?
Ron: - It is! (In truth Ron liked Bert’s ways.)
Bert: - If Richard bought up some old plant
‘Cause he can do that. Us, we can’t.
Or even new build. Got the site
Set up a brand new company, right?......
Ron: - It’s not so simple. There’s a catch
He’d have to win the nimbies round
And they’re retired. Have jobs.(Bert frowned)
“What here? Not here. Not on our patch!”
They’d get the M.P.s on their side
They’d give your Branson one, tough ride.
Bert:- He’d do it. He would take them on
Then he’d take on the unemployed
For miles around! ..... No, listen, Ron ....
i](The thing is that they both enjoyed
This kind of argument, debate
No need to take offence, berate.)[/i]
Bert: - They’d also need accommodation ....
Ron: - Then schools .......... the kids ....... their education......
Bert: - First house the workforce.............. Nice, this beer.
Ron: - And how’d they get in? Drive? Commute?
Bert: - No cars or trains. No trek. No route.
They’d walk or cycle. They’d live near.
Ron: - So, Virgin cycles? Virgin shoes?
Bert: - A Virgin waterway ......... canoes!
Ron: - Then clubs and clinics, megastore?
Bert:- Just one of each. And just one park.
There wouldn’t be the room for more
Ron:- One theatre, cinema? You mark
my words. ‘Cause Branson, he would need
to make a profit. There’s the greed
in every philanthropic act.
You can’t avoid it. It’s a fact.
Bert: - Hmmm. “He who dies rich, dies disgraced.”
Carnegies’ libraries, swimming pools
And Rowntree’s village, with its schools.
Ron: - But them, they’re dead, just like Bill Gates.
Bert: - The thing is that they all had vision
Invested first, then made provision.
Bert: - Of course they’d need their corner shop
Ron: - A pub on every corner, mind?
Bert: - On every street? That’s over the top!
Sir Richard needn’t be that kind!
Ron: - I’ve got your drift, Bert. So, small scale?
Bert: - That’s right. So it’d work, not fail.
Let’s have another. It’s my shout
What are you having? Ale or stout?
And so they supped ‘til gone eleven
Discussing what the “firm” would make -
The pay, conditions, what they’d take
for having dreamt this dream, this heaven
for willing workers, (not laid back)
Now facing cut backs, then the sack.
6. Reading comprehension
Now work together to answer the questions.
a. Where do you think the scene take place? Why?
b. What do you think Ron and Bert’s relationship is?
Complete the sentence with the right answer, then justify your choice.
Ron and Bert are discussing how to help _____________
• Sir Richard Branson?
• the “deserving” unemployed?
• build new plants
• improve commuting
7. Grammar Spot
When you want talk about an imaginary future, remember to use: if + Past Simple + Conditional (would/could/should) + infinitive without "to"
Notice how, in speech, would id contracted to ‘d (I’d/You’d/He’d/She’d etc.). It'd is included! Practise saying it!
Example If Richard Branson built a firm, he’d take on the unemployed. It'd be a great idea!
8. Grammar Practice
Reread the poem and Answer the questions
a. If Sir Richard Branson decided to have a new plant built, whose opposition would he
b. Why would they object?
c. According to Bert, would Richard Branson back down?
Here are the questions. Write the questions!
e.g. If Richard Branson were to go ahead with the plan, what would the workers need?
e. ______________________________________ ?
A club, a park, a theatre, a cinema and a pub
g. _________________________________________ ?
Because there wouldn’t be enough space
No, they’d take their cut! (payment)
Find words in the poem that mean:
Definitions Words in the poem
a. to buy a company to acquire a company
b. a small problem
c. to persuade / convince
d. a local neighbourhood
e. to create big problems for someone
f. to tackle someone; to employ
g. to criticise, tell off
h. to travel from a dormitory town to your place
of work and return there after work
i. Listen to me .....
j. Wanting too much money or too may possessions
k. to understand someone’s general idea
l. to drink
m. keen to do something
n. relaxed; lazy
10. Discussion 3
a. How high is overall unemployment in your country?
b. How high is youth unemployment?
c. Do you think Ron and Bert’s idea of hiring philanthropists
is a good one in theory?
d. Could it work in practice? Why? Why not?