Act togther?

WP_20170725_004Farce, insanity and slapstick, they have it all.  But what they have in spades is confusion.  Keir Starmer says one thing then Jeremy Corbyn says something else.  The Trade Unions mumble in the background.  A chorus of different voices sound off in every different direction.  Its near on impossible to figure out exactly what policy the British Labour Party has on Brexit.  Just taking one part of the debate around the Single Market and within ten minutes you’ll be totally confused.

Since colourful metaphors seem to be the order of the day and trade is at the heart of many discussions, here’s a maritime one.  Yes, a storm is raging and the Conservatives are the dangerous navigators who are pointing the ship of State towards the rocks but Labour are the wreckers on the beech who are luring the ship to its doom.

I have no care for the Labour Party but I do wish they would get their act together.  They need to look in the mirror and ask themselves the question: what is it we stand for?  It matters for future generations what happens over the next months.  If the Government goes for the most extreme form of Brexit then the outcome will severely impact everyone.  Now, it maybe that the Labour Party fully intends to continue to ally itself with the Conservatives.  They are even receiving warm praise from UKIP.  I call that insane but it’s their choice and they had better be clear about it.  In such a case millions of progressive British people are being betrayed.

Don’t Carry On – Change

WP_20170725_001One definition of “stupid” is to keep doing the same thing but, at the same time, expect a different outcome[1].  There’s a time when change is not just desirable but necessary without delay.

On the backfoot, the defensive stand being taken by Brexiters is now a simplistic yell of – stop being negative – be negative about climate change – be negative about media bias but don’t be negative about a failing pet political project.  Social media is full to the brim with this chanting.

The insistence that everyone should be positive about the gloomy daily diet of Brexit news is repeated constantly.  At the same time, it’s no real surprises that the latest official data on the UK economy shows bad news.  This is a familiar story as there have been plenty of warnings about gathering storm clouds.  Many have been prompted to take contingency measures or hunker down.

Now, the messengers are being targeted for sounding their warnings.  Somehow speaking clearly, calmly and objectively is equated with being unpatriotic.  The Brexiters formula is that, on all occasions, people should smile and be upbeat regardless of the impact of this self-imposed calamity.  To not do so is to let the side down or to support a, so called, “enemy”.  The wise know that the cold reality is that shutting our eyes to negative information doesn’t make it go away.

My response to this thoughtlessness is in aeronautical terms.  If a warning system is telling us to take emergency actions then it’s imperative that it be taken.  No delay.  Now is the time to change.  There are far too many who have ignored warnings and as a result are not here to tell the tale.  Exit Brexit without delay.

[1] “Stupidity is doing same thing and expecting different results” said by Einstein.

What’s being lost?

WP_20170719_008We do seem to be getting a lot of Brexit related announcements.  There often of this flavour: “Great victory – things stay the same[1]”.  Or “Success – something is not getting as bad as predicted”.  This is most peculiar.  Never has the status-quo been so advanced as a shining example of achievement.

The other strange phenomena are the; it was going to happen anyway but look how wonderful we are – we made it happen.  It’s our great achievement.  Passing off actions as their own, Government sidesteps the facts for the real propaganda value[2].

The problem is that a lot of people are swallowing this boloney hook-line-and-sinker.  Ministers are putting their foot down all over the place to elegise about everyday continuity.  I would not be surprised to read tomorrow’s headline as reading: “Sun rises again due to the popularity of Brexit.  Minister says; predictions of Armageddon were misplaced (for now).”

I’m not a one for reading lots of business books but there are one or two on the shelf.  By the way, we have an Austrian economist to blame for coining this phrase: Opportunity Costs.  If a country, like ours, loses the opportunity to earn income, whereas it could have done so by making a different choice, we can call that income lost Opportunity Costs.

I wonder if anyone is doing the sums to add up the lost Opportunity Costs of Brexit.  It’s not easy because the sums should include investments that weren’t made or businesses that didn’t start-up. That said, the tangible items, like; businesses that moved away or trade deals that will be exited should be easy to add up.  I guess, the answer is a huge and growing number and one that Ministers can’t face.  Now wonder this Conservative “magpie Government” must steal news from the everyday.

[1] BMW to continue to build cars in Oxford.

[2] EU action on unfair credit card fees.

Good and Bad

WP_20170719_010There’s some good news.  It’s not often that can be said in this rather peculiar time.

There’s some bad news too.  So, let’s go with the bad news first.  It occurs to me that an enormous amount has been written about Brexit but little of what’s written is getting any traction in turning around the ridiculous situation we find ourselves in.  It’s assumed that the rift between IN or OUT, Remain or Leave, Pro or Anti is unbridgeable.  However, day-after-day, people are leaping over that rift and regretting their vote to leave the European Union but, now, not much is changing.  I want to add one more reason why people need to take that leap forward and reject Brexit.  The reason comes in this shape and it has much to do with my experience with rules and regulations.

Whatever you do in life things go wrong.  Accidents happen.  Errors get made.  Failure occurs.  It really doesn’t matter if you come from the left, right or centre of politics.  Stuff happens and one of our expectations is that Governments, wherever they are, will fix problem stuff.  You might say; what the point of them if they don’t?

What’s concerning and dangerous about the current Brexit obsessed Government has hit us before.  It’s the phenomena that is so easy to see in hindsight but difficult to see when it’s happening.  It’s often called; groupthink.  Laws get made, regulation get amended and decisions get taken in a way that doesn’t consider the impact.  That’s where we are today and its really is bad news.

Next for the good news.  I welcome Vince Cable as the leader of the Liberal Democrats in the UK.  There’s a huge gaping gap right at the heart of British politics.  A massive vacant spot to occupy.  The right is in its fox hole.  The left is up on the barricades.  Nobody is addressing the clear majority of sane, sober and honest people who just want the best for their community and their Country.  The good news is that there’s an opportunity to offer an alternative to the blind groupthink of the extremes of left and right.  A positive, progressive internationalist centre ground Party will go far.