6 April 2015

What makes Britain British?

We are a tiny island that has spent centuries defending our shores. We are used to being the underdog, we are used to rolling up our sleeves and taking on the big challenges. There is courage running through of veins and we must never settle for anything other than what is right for this Great Britain we call our home.

There is a great divide at the moment with the discussion of politics and leadership, however this is a healthy debate and it is a great reminder of the democracy we have fought for over the ages.

There is one front we should all be united on, whether you vote, labour, conservative, UKIP, or one of the others. One front that  there is no argument against. Governments past and present have overlooked foreign companies coming into the UK and taking advantage of loop holes in our tax structures and laws. It’s imperative we attract foreign investment and create a multicultural, diverse business environment, however not at the cost of the Great British people.

When you walk into UKFast Campus, there are plenty of clues to just how patriotic we are, from the Union Jack emblazoned sofas to the portrait of the Queen in reception, painted by British artist and friend Paul Oz. (funny name for a Brit!)

When it comes to this country, I’m especially proud of the business people of Britain – the people at the coalface who drove us out of the economic crisis over the last few years. If you believed all the politicians, they  sound like they did it singlehandedly! Yet it’s the money from the successful British businesses who make the UK a stronger economy, and I think it’s right that we support them.

Imagine a different scenario where we are dominated completely by foreign companies and there is NO innovation and its impossible to break into the markets. There would be no money, no tax coming in, the UK would be a bleak place.

Whats the alternative? Simple, just buy British.

We have already lost the car industry, manufacturing and a great many other areas where we pushed innovation and drove the global research and product development, yet somehow we let these British brands slip into the hands of others.

So, how do we get people to buy British?

Personally I think it has to be an emotional thing; if the whole of the country rallies together and says, “Let’s not buy from global companies when there’s a great British alternative,” I think that’s a good start.

I had a conversation with an analyst called Tiny Haynes from Gartner this week who described Amazon as a 4 billion dollar corporation, saying “get big, get niche or get out. Now I like Tiny a great deal but if this is the advice from an analyst (who works for an american business mind) I have to take stock and say hold on.

Amazon does not contribute to the UK in the same way the myriad of British small businesses who drive and fuel our economy. This is how its managed to create a billion dollar corporation.

Amazon may offer fast deliver, and slightly better prices on occasion, however the money you save is only part of a greater share thats taken off shore and carefully removed from the UK balance sheet so the Inland Revenue cannot tax them. Your contribution to Amazon leaves this shore and does not contribute to the NHS, our roads, or schools are service men and women who protect our shores and all the other great establishments that need our help.

Whilst there are certain sectors we might not have a big share of any more – cars, for example, which are now mainly German-owned – there are other industries with more variety and there is a wealth of choice. When it comes to cloud hosting, the UK is highly competitive with the US, and it makes sense for Brits to keep it local and choose a British company with local data centres.

If you host with a American firm, you have the patriot act to contend with which means the US government has access to your critical data and customer information whenever they wish. You also need to be mindful that if you are selling your product to the British public, you want your site and information as near to your customers as possible. Therefore a data centre offshore, in Dublin or the US or even farther afield is not the answer.

At a time when the public is focused on what’s best for Britain in the run up to the election, it makes sense for us all to stand shoulder to shoulder. If we can buy British whenever possible and support our local SMEs, we can drive our economy, and our country, forward.

Buy British before its too late and its “Good-bye British!”


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