• June 2016

Theo’s Blog – The Genie is out of the Bottle

I spent Referendum night in the ITV News studios and I promise you there was no sense of elation when the results were coming through and the final outcome becoming clear. More a feeling of apprehension as the reality of the uncertainty followed by the dangers that will need to be navigated in executing the Leave vote and further, the realisation that the majority of the Great British Public had, just like me, come to the conclusion it was time to grasp the once in a lifetime opportunity on offer, to pick up the proverbial can now rather than continue to kick it further down the road.

Even though I predicted before I cast my vote the shock to the financial markets if the outcome was Leave (see my previous blog Decision Made, Voting with my Head.  Saving my Heart for Love – 20th June 2016), when the pound began its sharp fall it was hugely sobering and to be honest slightly numbing. These were the identical feelings as when I have in the past purchased companies out of administration with the aim of turning them round.  Irrespective of how much confidence I had, upon completion there was always a thought in the back of my mind, “Have I made a mistake and bitten off more than I can chew?  Is this a bridge too far?” I consider these feelings, whilst at the time worrying, very healthy as they have helped me to focus on the job in hand and take absolutely nothing for granted, contributing substantially to the successful outcome.  It was a brave decision by the British public to vote Leave but no one should underestimate the dangers. We will now have to rely on our politicians to negotiate our new relationship with the EU; their performance now is everything and will either prove that the public have made the right decision or not.

As a businessman a Remain result would have made life so much easier for me in the short term and one of the few times I could have absolved myself from responsibility as the wishes of the people were binding and we would all have to work within the EU as is, hoping for reform from the inside, although I fear a Remain endorsement from the British public would have been seen by the EU mandarins as a clear message to continue their undemocratic failed experiment without need for reflection or reform.  Culminating in much greater upheaval in the future.

Once the Prime Minister made the incredibly poor decision to let the genie out of the bottle by calling for a Referendum, the die was cast.  It was now or never as far as our relationship with the EU was concerned; any chance of reform was over, the UK would have to leave with all the unknown consequences before the EU would even consider reform, if at all! None of it made sense at the time and still does not.

The words of Jean-Claude Juncker, President of the European Commission, prior to the Referendum, that we would be classed as “deserters” and treated accordingly if we voted Leave said it all for me as to the EU’s will to compromise or reform and Mr Juncker’s words since the vote have been no less confrontational, telling us this is not going to be an amicable divorce and he wants it done now on his terms, however painful it will be for the British people ……..’Get Lost’ comes to mind, the Great British Public have made a very brave decision realising that there would be some short term pain for long term gain and are not going to make it worse by dancing to his tune and thus giving away our negotiating rights. I hope our new Prime Minister and negotiators are strong enough to tell him and his unelected bullies just that!

In my last blog I made it clear that if we voted Leave not only would there be a shock to our financial markets but I believed the same for all the EU markets hence I did not understand the intransigence of the EU in their negotiations with David Cameron, as the risk of the UK voting Leave would unleash turmoil across Europe. Now we are having to listen to some awful non-political language from Mr Juncker and other unelected colleagues who are horrified by the effect our vote has had on the EU and member state economies…..no shit Sherlock! It is quite amazing that these grotesquely highly paid unelected individuals are also not prepared to accept any responsibility for their actions and the position we all find ourselves in.  If Jean-Claude Juncker was an honourable man and had any morals, he too should resign immediately as he too has played a big part in the final outcome, unless of course that’s exactly what he wanted.

In order for the UK to leave the EU we must trigger a never used before ‘Article 50’ – simply explained…send a letter from the UK government to the EU saying we want to leave, this then triggers Article 50 and the clock starts ticking for a defined maximum period of 2 years in which we must finish our exit negotiations and leave. If no agreement is reached, then unless an extension is agreed by both sides our relationship with the EU is terminated and we are on our own without any trading agreement. If I was a betting man, this is exactly how Mr Juncker and his friends would seek to punish us for having the audacity to question the fact that the EU Emperor has no clothes on.

Now, irrespective of the fact that we have had a Referendum, if we do not send that letter we remain part of the EU and all the uncertainties we have now will just amplify both for us but just as importantly the EU and its member states and as I have said before, this is totally unacceptable to the democratically elected leaders. The dangers to their economies will grow along with unrest from the people of many of their nations who themselves are not happy with the EU and are beginning to call for their own referenda. Not triggering Article 50 until we have finalised most if not all of our exit negotiations gives us the best opportunity to conclude a mutually beneficial outcome for both sides and gives us some protection from the unelected, unaccountable mandarins with personal agendas. We must not on any account rush to issue that letter!

I am now of the firm belief that the unelected bureaucrats that run the EU, if left to their own devices, would be more prepared to damage every EU country than consider significant change to its failed ideology. My only hope that we can negotiate a mutually beneficial exit is that all of the EU nation leaders are democratically elected and accountable to their people so will see sense; some early signs of this have already begun to emerge with a conciliatory statement from Angela Merkel saying the UK should be given time to deal with its own affairs, contrary to the words of Juncker and Co.

Well, if things weren’t complicated enough we now have a divided country with half of the population very unhappy, which would have been the same if the result had gone the other way. The resignation of David Cameron has triggered a Conservative leadership battle and a coup is in progress against the Labour leader Jeremy Corbyn with sackings and multiple resignations from his shadow cabinet occurring. The Scottish first minister Nicola Sturgeon is calling  for a further Scottish independence referendum on the basis Scotland voted to stay in and do not want to leave the EU followed swiftly by Sinn Fein making the case for a United Ireland on a similar basis, oh what a mess!

A further consequence has been some alarming reports of negativity towards the immigrant population of the United Kingdom, by halfwits who have mis-read the result and outcome of this Referendum.  The UK is richer and a better place to live in through the diversity of its inhabitants. Anybody who thinks otherwise is not only a fool but I’m sure will not be tolerated by the overwhelming majority of the Great British Public and this type of attitude, however minimal, needs to be stamped on immediately.  Whichever way people voted, let me make it clear, the UK needs immigration and needs to continue to look outwards in defining its immigration policy.

Whatever was David Cameron thinking when he let the genie out of the bottle by firstly calling a Referendum and secondly running such an appalling Project Fear campaign that crushed his and the Chancellor’s credibility in the first few days?  It is clear that this result is also a wake-up call for our politicians who blatantly seem to have lost touch with people across the whole of the United Kingdom; those that they purport to be representing.

There is still no question in my mind that David Cameron was right when he said the UK could thrive outside the EU in his now infamous pre-referendum Bloomberg speech but boy has he made it difficult!  Onwards and upwards!

Published: 27 June 2016