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!!

Discussion

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.

Question

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

Question

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

Stay

Or

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………………………………..

 

 

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