Last week I let rip on Facebook stoking up a bit of debate. After a wet and windy weekend, during which autumn has properly kicked in, I am feeling mischievous. So here we go for the monthly Whelan view on the world.
I hear the siren calls from James Dyson, hedge fund managers and my mother on how we need to move into the digital age and lose the flabbiness of the EU. I hear how being too comfortable will keep us inefficient and stifle a growth mindset. It is true that Blighty conquered the world due us leading the industrial revolution, in part driven by a need to be inventive as we simply had fewer inhabitants than the French (and Europe) and hence less available labour. But is 18th century history a guide to the future here? Are we really going to steal a march on the whole of this interconnected world, where an invention in a small lab in Thailand is being peer reviewed in Buenos Aires?
So we told Jonny Foreigner to head back to Europe (accelerated by COVID) and now the chickens have started to come home to roost. We will be asking a few of them back (just til Q1 2022 mind) to do the jobs they did before we told them to… Depart. As a consequence of Brexit, the pound devalued, so we will need to pay a load more in pounds to get some to come back and do the same job.
It’s easy to see why an increasing proportion of the country believe the UK is being run by clowns as politicians consistently link the problem to transport companies not paying enough, rather than having the gumption to acknowledge that Brexit is a significant contributing factor.
In the UK we have a shortage of workers, full stop. Job vacancies in September stood at 1.6m, with 1.9m vacancies. Lots of folk have retired or left the UK, leaving us short of labour, with bottlenecks on key skill sets. We see clients needing to give 20% pay rises to retain some staff. These costs will either be passed on, ultimately to Joe (or Josephine) Public, fuelling inflation, or they won’t, in which case businesses will suffer, with a proportion of the smaller ones likely to cease operations.
I have an idea!!
Why not join one of the largest trading organisations on the planet? We even built a tunnel to make it easier to get to them. Now when I tow a boat to our near neighbours, I must fill out an import /export form and hope I don’t get stung for tax (as happened to a J70 or 2 on the way to European Championships). The Europeans do not want to come here for the same reason. If we joined that huge trading group we would have free trade, and access to their skilled workforce. Maybe they could buy the fish we have rotting on the dock because we don’t like that sort of fish. Oh no, Boris and the rest of his circus want us to join the North American trading group. How stupid of me to think that a trading arrangement with lands that are more the 3000 miles away is less preferable to one less than 30.
Meanwhile we continue to hemorrhage financial services to the French, Dutch and Germans; our online retailers can’t sell to Europe. The list is extensive. I should be more optimistic – maybe Boris can spearhead our export drive by solving Ireland’s clown shortage? More seriously, I’m sure the power of British entrepreneurship will shine through as it has done in previous challenging periods.
Now I have got that off my chest let me remind you of the interesting articles the team have blogged this month. From food marketing tips to more eco-friendly planes, as well as a look at fintech’s recent shopping spree, we’ve had plenty of interesting news. Meanwhile Joe, the resident youth was reminded recently of the 2013 horsemeat scandal and thought it may stirrup a reaction.
Have a great month and may the fuel be with you.
I hear the siren calls from James Dyson, hedge fund managers and my mother on how we need to move into the digital age and lose the flabbiness of the EU. I hear how being too comfortable will keep us inefficient and stifle a growth mindset. It is true that Blighty conquered the world due us leading the industrial revolution, in part driven by a need to be inventive as we simply had fewer inhabitants than Europe… But is 18th century history a guide to the future here?