View from a Nobody

I run a small Engineering firm in the West Midlands. This year is the company’s 80th anniversary. We employ 41 of the best employees a Managing Director could wish to have. We are an SME manufacturing Rivets which for those who don’t know what one is, they are one rung up the technological ladder from a Nail. We manufacture 24 million parts per month in two factories in Birmingham and one of our largest export market is the Far East.

I am so dismayed at the turn of events surrounding Brexit that I feel I need to commit them to paper, they are my personal views but having kept people gainfully employed for the past 30 years or so in proper jobs I feel I must put my “two peneth” into the debate, even if no-one reads it, it will make me feel better

We are where we are because?

Brexit has shown the political class in general and current politicians to be incapable of carrying out the instructions of the British people.

Why is that?-

  • Progressively over the past 40 years parliament has ceded responsibility for decision making to the EU
  • Due to the poor quality of many politicians and the fact that many of them have never had a proper job, they have relied more and more in the advice of civil servants and special advisors

Disregarding Brexit, a clear example of the disconnect between the executive and the population at large is the introduction of “universal Credit”. Having made the poor, disabled and disadvantaged pay for the banking crisis, the bright young things thought it would be a good idea to make the least well off in society wait 5-6 weeks (sometimes longer) to be paid and take away the payment direct to landlords, resulting in potential claimants being at the mercy at best, of food banks, but in some cases “loan sharks” and prostitution to ensure they can feed their children. And the threat of eviction as when they got the cash their rent was used paying back loans. Someone signed off on this. They either didn’t understand or didn’t care, either way it was a dereliction of their duty.

We the people are not the enemy.

When Mrs May undertook to fulfill the will of the British people, she made a fundamental error. She outsourced the negotiations to the public sector i.e. the Civil Service in general, Olly Robins in particular. This was a flawed decision due to the following:-

  • From subsequent polling the Civil Service is staffed by predominantly remain leaning individuals
  • The Civil Services idea of a successful negotiation is compromise.
  • They have mistaken the most momentous decision to be taken in a generation for a debating society competition.

In my Business life there is only one successful outcome to a negotiation and that is to win and win big

They say that the definition of madness is doing the same thing time and time again and expecting a different result. David Cameron tried to get the EU to change using the same ineffective team as we currently have. He failed comprehensively sparking Brexit. So why did we expect a different result doing the same thing?

Hence the deal Mrs May has been trying to get through parliament. Was it not obvious weeks ago that it would fail?

The so called back stop was never an option, Olly

The UK, the fifth largest economic power in the world, would be locked in a prison with no escape and no voting rights but have to be subject to the EU’s decisions. Something they singularly failed to do in 1945 – I know, don’t mention the war!!


If the EU are not going to build a hard border (EU have confirmed this) and we (the UK) are not going to build a hard border and the EU “doesn’t really want to use the backstop” then what’s the point?

Unintended consequences.

In my job I have to look at any agreement or decision and look at its wider consequences, particularly those that are left field. If we found ourselves in the backstop and i were the negotiator for the EU, during the ongoing what would be the ongoing trade discussions with the EU, I would let it be known that we (The EU) were considering let’s say the harmonization of two pin plugs across the EU or perhaps a road safety measure, let’s say harmonizing which side of the road we drive on. Then charge the UK for any derogation of these plans, enshrinement of the four pillars?……..unlikely? , you think?

The vote cannot be allowed to be passed.


At what point did we as a nation become so fearful of our own abilities as a nation? Notwithstanding the continuing dire performance of our politicians, our companies large and small are innovative and in some cases world beating, do people really think we cannot manage our own affairs in spite of the politicians not because of them?

So enough of the background, what about the future

Meaningful vote

Theresa May will lose the vote on Tuesday. This will result in three options, not necessarily exclusive of each other:-

  • Peoples Vote
  • No confidence vote
  • General Election
  • No-Deal

Peoples Vote

The people have voted and decided to leave the EU. The Remain camp were in total disarray, not being able to articulate a cogent response other than to denigrate the leave voters as at best misguided and at worst stupid. Finally they feel they have a vehicle with which they think they can frustrate Brexit.

Unintended consequences

Since the referendum, it is well known that standard of public discourse has deteriorated, particularly on social media. However, this is now spilling out of the Twitter-sphere into real life. Social media and recently Main stream Media are making stars out of people like the guy who harangued Anna Suobry. If misguided politicians think about supporting this idea, they will have heard and disregarded the arguments about  the political deficit of such and the lack of trust (what’s left of it) for a generation, but as previously mentioned they either  don’t understand or don’t care about the ramifications. Nothing motivates people more, in my opinion than righteous indignation, the feeling you have been slighted, denigrated, ignored (sound familiar)

What if we won’t have to worry about drones at Heathrow, Manchester etc. on the run up to a new referendum, people will be walking onto the runway and live streaming it to boot! The main arterial routes up and down the country will be bought to a grinding halt with groups trying to outdo themselves in terms of the biggest routes they can block. Friction less trade forget it you won’t be able to get to the port.

Second ref supporters, be careful what you wish for


When the May deal fails, it has defacto been rejected by our elected representatives so it therefore it cannot be put to the people, so the only question that can be put on the ballot paper is



No Deal

Given that the poling after the referendum indicated that as well as wanting to be shot of the EU, a lot of people wanted to give the establishment a bloody nose and given the awful performance of all concerned to date in the negotiations, what are the odds of getting the result they are looking for?

Confidence Vote

Labour will lose because whilst the deal on offer will have been voted down, there is a grudging admiration for Theresa May and so all of the conservatives and the DUP will support her as the result will be a general election (turkeys don’t vote for Christmas).  Jeremy will lose

No Deal

My Preferred option as if we actually get to no deal I am certain that in the run up many of the issues will miraculously disappear as they are in the main invented problems to get the UK to stay in

Why am I so confident:-

  • We make rivets, we are a sun set industry, we have been forgotten and actively discriminated against by successive governments of all complexions with them favoring services, particularly financial services (that went well in 2008 didn’t it) as they have added the burden of regulation tried to make us less competitive, but you know what we are still here and thriving. Germany is the 4th largest economy in the world and the third largest exporter, before unification 40% of Germans were involved in manufacturing. T May, please note
  • I constantly hear about certainty, I have never known certainty in all the years I have been in business. High interest rates, recessions, the banking crisis, Y2k, the banking crisis to name some of the low lights but every day we have to find new customers, create new products, have to put up with new regulations, modify our processes, become more lean, become more responsive, improve our productivity. This is our job, we fix things.
  • If we get to the 29th of March without a deal, the sun will come up, businesses will adapt very quickly to the new situation, some better than others but that is the nature of the job. Many good well run businesses went out of business in the banking crisis, those of us that lived through it and numerous recessions are not frightened by the No Deal Scenario, unfortunately the politicians for the reasons stated earlier don’t understand this but by then they will be out of the picture
  • We will have £39Bn to distribute as we see fit to support those businesses who are hardest hit as we will no longer have to comply with state aid rules
  • At the risk of repeating myself, we make rivets but we sell to 38 countries worldwide only 6% of UK companies export to the EU even less worldwide. If we can do it, I am sure much cleverer people than us can

But it could be even better than that:-

In our business we expect anyone recognizing a problem to find a solution instead as simply bleating or fighting lost causes is a waste of time

Given that:-

The EU is a rules based organisation

Being British we have played by the rules, the rules written in Brussels

We are 2 nil down with 15 minutes on the clock, we need a Harry Cane, a deli alli

Stop doing the same things, do something different

To paraphrase the Americans “it’s all about the money, stupid”


Mrs May Get out of Jail Card

I have explained why I believe we are where we are, but there is a solution in my humble opinion

Outsource the remaining months before we leave to the private sector

I have met in my career people whose sole purpose is to fix problems for multinational companies, not the big 4 management consultancies that are the usual civil service go to companies. I am talking about clever, imaginative street fighters who specialize in “getting the Monkey off the back” of multinational companies

These people know the law and accounting backwards and come up with innovative solutions workable solutions

The PM needs a new team, it should be made up of these people, and if No10 haven’t got them on speed dial I can help track them down

One other addition would be for Yanis Varoufakis to head it up

The EU is in effect run by (certainly financed by) Germany. Germany is a powerhouse driven by their motor industry

On Wednesday she should go on TV and:-

  • Apologize to the British people for having got the negotiations so spectacularly wrong and making the UK a laughingstock abroad (I paraphrase)
  • Have a “Love Actually” moment where she points out that a friend who is a bully is no friend and as such we are pulling the deal and therefore the money
  • Explain she has been badly advised by her team and that it is now time to implement Brexit fully as required by the British people

I suspect Mrs may would be getting a call very shortly after announcing No Deal if the forgoing was plan was met

Maybe it’s a pipe dream but maybe not………………………………..




So…….Why start with So?

Evan Davis

I am becoming increasingly irritated with interviewees, when asked a question by the interviewer to start the answer with “So….”


Why do they do that,? is there a media training school somewhere that has trained all these people to start the sentence with “So, the reason we have” blah, blah, blah. It is totally un-necessary. Is it supposed to make a difference to the way the information is imparted? does it add anything to the response?


Tony Blair, The pendulum swings again

Tony BlairFor many years I was a Labour supporter. It wont make me many friends in the blogosphere, but I liked Tony Blair and the “New Labour Project”. I admires Margret Thatcher when she first came to power and I saw the fresh faced, media savvy, televisual Tony Blair as a reformer and the best chance Labour had had for many years, to get into power and so it came to pass (young Jeremy Corby supporters take note)

I mention Margaret Thatcher as their similarities in terms of the sweep of political discourse over the years is striking. Some could argue that “shock and Awe” was Tony Blair’s Falklands, but not so well executed and without the Para’s, I digress.

I heard on today’s news (when I wasn’t making up backstory’s for the newsroom figures on the BBC loop [see my previous post])  that the redoubtable Mr Blaire is to make a speech today the jist of which is that Remainer’s should take any of their friends who voted to leave the EU to one side and persuade them that they were wrong to have voted to leave as they were misled due to incomplete or dubious information put forward by the Brexiteer’s.

Seriously, you couldn’t make it up! this is the guy who sent us to war based on the famous sexed up dossier and in so doing killed and maimed hundreds of young men and women needlessly. Again I digress from my main point, which I am coming to. The stupidity of his proposition and its source beggars belief but hopefully the newspapers and other media will be in overdrive tomorrow pointing  this out

No, my point is related to an affliction that affects “popular” politician’s (not to be confused with populist politician’s) Mrs Thatcher came to power at a time when the unions were systematically destroying the country and the old guard, the people running major manufacturing businesses were complicit in this as they didn’t or wouldn’t understand the sea change driven by increasing workers rights. complete the triangle with a public sector so bloated and poorly run and it was little wonder that we were rightly called the sick man of Europe (thankfully a mantle now taken on by the French, again I digress). She bought in union reform, sold off British Gas, BT, water companies etc., allowed the sale of council houses at terrific discount’s, developed the financial services sector and created yuppie’s. Fantastic. Then she developed the PM affliction to which I refer. So certain was she of her abilities she started to believe her own PR. If you consider a pendulum, it started on the left (metaphorically and politically) and with all the good things she did she bought it to equilibrium, the mid state, a good place. But no, the need to keep proving herself became and how right she was drove her on.  she introduced the hated Poll Tax and I sat and watched with tears in my eye’s as British mounted police, baton charged the striking miners at Orgreave. The pendulum went to far the other way. How could someone with such a steady hand make such terrible and ultimately catastrophic mistakes? Simple, she forgot the parable of the “emperor’s new clothes” (probably not a good metaphor as it involves her ending up naked and Geoffrey Howe as the little boy who spill the beans) any way, you get the picture.

Enter our Tony, May 1997, landslide victory. Labour in power after years in the wilderness. He introduced much needed reforms and created a political blue print with Alastair Campbell that was the envy of his adversary’s and the scourge of the media. The fight against Child Poverty was enshrined into law, free nursery places and of course the “Good Friday Agreement”  other references can be found at via this link:-

 All good stuff, then he gets afflicted, pendulum coming in from the right (for the sake of impartiality) gets to equilibrium. Stop. But no, he too starts to believe his won PR. The “Dodgy Dossier” The cavalier attitude towards parliament and the British people through his un proven but suspected agreement with George Bush to drag us kicking and screaming into a war for the sake of vanity. Boom!, out he goes and in come Gorgon Brown, oh dear the pendulum has done for him again.

So our Tony goes on the American lecture circuit, builds up his property portfolio, becomes a Middle East go-between, but clearly something rankles with him, there is some unfinished business. Then along comes Brexit.

His brand was considered toxic in the campagn so he was kept off the front line. but now he feels the need to be involved. is it for the sake of the British people? I don’t think so, for the fame?, no he has been there and done that, the money? Once again that sure footedness, deftness of touch that swept him to victory and vanquished his union detractors has left him and I believe when its gone its gone. If its an itch that needs to be scratched, pick some other avenue. this is a fight he doesn’t need to get into, could it be that he knows best?…….history suggests not. that leaves Vanity, some people never learn.

As I am new to this game, I need to emphasise the above is simply my view

BBC Rent a Crowd?


I, like many people watch the BBC news most mornings. It is perhaps a measure of the need to fill the 24hour news cycle that often the people interviewed or their content are less than riveting. Its at these points my focus starts to wander and instead of watching the interviewer, I start watching the background upon which the interviewee is superimposed, the busy news room filled with people rushing hither and thither, clearly on important business to get the days news out. Next time you watch, pay attention to the frantic activity in the background and you will see that it is a loop.

I am sure you clever people in blog land knew this, but it came as a surprise to me when I first noticed.

My wife and I now fill boring bits of the news in by naming many of the repeating figures and providing them with a back story “lady retuning from a heavy night out” “man with back pack very confused” “guys more friendly than they should be, realise they are being filmed and split up” “Lady dressed up to the nines who thinks she is on the catwalk” you get the picture, or more accurately the loop. Try it see what stories you can find, in many cases it beats the news.

I then got to thinking, if it is a loop, did the BBC management say one day, OK guys we are going to film you doing you job, but its only for background purposes? as a caring employer, can they do that?

The alternative is that the busy background scene is staged and so are the people employees or actors, if the former, presumably they had to apply, how were they vetted? did they get paid? were diversity, gender and age criteria adhered to? if the latter,  is this a sensible use of BBC resources? does this fall into the category of fake news? (certainly fake newsroom!!)

You would think I had better things to occupy my time, you would be right but I just thought I would put it our there.


This isn’t what I signed up for

Steve Hewlett
Eddie Mair

As you may know, I started this blog to let off steam, one of my targets was lazy reporting

Well here I am on my second blog and it is about the opposite

I have always been a great fan of radio four’s Eddie Mair. I am also a fan of the Media Show’s Steve Hewlett.

On PM (Radio 4, 5.00pm) Eddie Mair is conducting a series of interviews with the interviews with the aforementioned Steve Hewlett.

Steve has cancer of the oesophagus and over a period of time they have simply had a conversation about the ups and downs of Steve’s situation. Not you might think, the most either riveting or uplifting of radio discussions, you might think. But you would be wrong.

Sometimes Eddie Mair asks the most difficult questions of Steve, questions that cause one to stare open-mouthed at the radio at time. Steve Hewlett for his part, answers these questions in a measured, interesting, self-effacing way with accuracy, warmth and humour. you feel through these encounters that you are privy to something very special. not prurient eaves dropping (which I suppose in all honesty it is) or the usual attempt to over dramatize beloved of “look at me” no-mark interviewers. No sensationalism or any attempt to pull at your heart-strings. Put simply it is a privileged to listen too.

It has more impact for the simple humanitarian candour of the two guys involved. It has a powerful effect on me and I am sure many other listeners by the fact that you listen to every word as bomb shell’s sear into your mind as you process what appears to be simply a chat between friends, but your brain analyses what you have heard and you realise the gravity and the implication in the same way that a good book, conjures either an image or threat. This is radio of the highest without gimmicks or soppy music, because it needs neither. It is an astute and caring interviewer talking to an articulate and extremely brave man about a subject that none of us want to talk about and teaching us about many facets of the human condition that ultimately is very uplifting

If you haven’t heard it get the podcast. the link below covers all the trait’s referred to above.

When I get better at this malarkey I will learn how to put a link in properly

First blog post

Well here it is, my first Blog.

Its purpose is to stop me shouting at the TV, Radio or hitting the keyboard very hard each time I see or hear what I consider to be nonsense or bad/lazy reporting

What I put in this blog are purely my own thoughts and if they simply waft into the ether, I am not that bothered because I will at least said what I thing needs to be said, right or wrong.

Anyway, we (probably only I) will see how it progresses