Brexit (The World Keeps Turning)

The Century of Revolution

Today I’m talking about Brexit over a week has passed since the historic vote, the certainties of being part of the EU which we had just a few short days ago has gone. Regardless of political colour or how you voted that we are now entering unknown territory cannot be disputed. I titled this blog 'The Century of revolution' also the title of a well know book on history undergraduate syllabuses when I was at University. The book deals with the multiple revolutions across Europe as the ancient regime was replaced with, eventually, the more recognisable family of democratic countries that characterises the 20th Century on-wards. Out of these revolutions and turmoil evolved the Europe of today. I also deliberately picked the word revolutionary as its dictionary definition means complete and total change, but the reality is that whilst significant change occurs at the moment of a revolution a huge number of pre-existing structures, public entities and the people remain unchanged. Taking the long view change is evolutionary far more often, and importantly successfully, than revolutionary.

Both sides spent far too much time attacking the others position rather than outlining a strategy for the future they saw either inside or outside the EU as a result of the vote. I think this is a failing not just of the referendum but of our current political class who fail to connect or respect the intelligence of the people of Britain. Anyone who has worked with me knows I’m a ‘glass half full’ person, my mind always seeks out the positive and in dealing with life and business. As the popular saying goes the people have spoken and so now we deal with the situation through a very clear set of glasses not rose tinted ones. The glasses I refer too can be best expressed in the words of Zig Ziglar who to paraphrase said, ‘lets see things as they actual are not worse than they are.’

"What’s important is that all of us work together to make it the best and fairest Britain it can be. I really believe that.

“That’s what has to come out of this. What we mustn’t do is lay in this position of dogma, and try and prove the decision was wrong. We’ve had the process, we’ve decided to leave, and we’ve got to make the best of it – all of us.”

Martin Lewis by Alan Selby Mirror 26/06/16

For me the biggest real immediate risk is that the negativity that has been peddled during the referendum campaign translates into public actions or rather inaction. If the people change their spending behaviour, get cautious stop spending then his will have a far more dramatic impact then the vote to leave itself. Someone (forget where I read this now.) once said the only thing to fear is fear itself and with this I concur. Specifically, over the last 10 years I have helped business overcome ‘fear’ in virtually every area of business practice and the starting point is often pointing out what fear actual is. Fear should be seen simple as another useful acronym where FEAR stands for False, Expectations, Appearing, Real. Only through the paralyses of FEAR, the surrender of the power of decision do we create our own negative experience.

Lets try to remain positive! I hope in reading this that it is clear that historically the evidence overwhelming supports the fact that the country is more than capable of steering its own course through the upcoming difficult political and economic waters. The shock we are all currently feeling is a result of the highly negatively charged campaigns by our own political class as well as the FEAR expressed by external agencies, governments etc. Yet the reality may well be less severe and provide opportunities in the years to come than we cannot currently anticipate. If we think leaving is a bad idea I would suggest we also consider that remaining may also have been a journey to a destination, we would rather not go. Unlike the clever quantum physicist, I cannot run two parallel universe models and use this to inform a choice I have yet to make. Instead I’m a realist and a business man so deal with the reality that I face today. My phone is still ringing, invoices are being paid and I have challenges to face… just like yesterday. Today I have a set of choices to make and I chose to approach them not from false value position of right or wrong and instead from an open stance of different possibilities.

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