24 June 2016

I was going to write a blog about life being as good or as bad as you make it. That playing rugby taught me that the rules changed and we learn to play within them. Unfortunately, we’ve not been given that chance.

Boris

Image from Twitter @dpcarrington

Today we’ve been given more uncertainty and more debate. Now the summer will be taken up with an election debate. Who will replace David Cameron? Who will take on the responsibility of cutting the umbilical cord, of separating us from Europe?

Once again it’s all about the politicians, it’s all about Boris, it’s all about Farage, and it’s not good for Britain.

David Cameron has created an absolute implosion in his time as Prime Minister: the Scottish referendum, then the election, then this. The country didn’t need this. It always seems that Britain does well and we immediately seem to shoot ourselves in the foot.

One of the biggest shocks for me is the amount of extremists who have raised their heads as part of this campaign. Not every ‘Leave’ voter fits into this bracket, of course, but the vilification of immigrants throughout the campaign is beyond reproach.

It forces me to ask, is Farage our leader of the future? Personally, I can’t think of anything worse! He has been the most vocal person and the one with the most airtime this morning and throughout the whole process.

Where has Cameron been? He gave us this opportunity to choose to leave and, along with it, the opportunity for people to go against the Tories. The campaign was too much about the Eton Public School brigade – it’s been about them, not about Britain. Today Cameron has shown the weakest trait of leadership to run away when the going gets tough.

That being said Corbyn also failed to deliver. He has to be the most insipid leader Labour has ever had. For Farage to win, it shows you how bad Corbyn is. The result in the North is catastrophic for Labour.

david cameron taken from twitter

Image from @David_Cameron.

I honestly believe that if you’d have done this vote at any other time, with normal leaders, the vote would have been very different.

It’s a lesson for everybody to learn that continuous marketing will always beat sporadic messaging. Farage and Boris simply worked harder. Cameron hasn’t been visible. I think he just thought we would be safe with the Remain camp and he’s locked himself away.

Looking at the regional split of votes, the North-South divide is more prevalent than ever, although Manchester and London were key ‘Remain’ areas. It is interesting that there seems to be parts of the country with strong schools and strong industry saying that we need to ‘stay’ and areas who haven’t benefited from as much funding saying ‘leave’. I wonder about the link between the success of the area and the way in which the people there vote. Clearly there’s a real need for change, it’s extremely evident in the north of England, but is leaving the EU the way to bring that change? I don’t think it is but time will tell.

I hope the massive divide this referendum has caused doesn’t continue to grow. The margin to stay in wasn’t that high – around a million people. A result of 52% to 48% splits us effectively down the middle. That’s an extraordinary amount of disgruntled people.

From a business point of view, the result is concerning to say the least. There will be decisions that big businesses who want to be connected to the EU will make or perhaps have already made, it would be naïve to think otherwise; people like certainty.

The real damage will be caused by these businesses who want to stay connected to Europe who will either leave the UK or put their future investment into Europe instead of in the UK. The impact of the business and opportunity that we could have won, we may not see the effects of this for years to come.

It’s a big message we’ve sent to the world. It’s saying that we want to be on our own. It’s the exact opposite to how I feel. Business and life is about collaboration, about working together, about being connected. It’s about freedom.

How does the rest of Europe feel about Britain now? We are going to create resentment, not only in Britain between the two camps but obviously with Europe too.

Ultimately, it’s not about the money we get back, it’s about the legislation, about the culture, and it’s about the collaboration. If you look at all of the things that Europe invested in like the museums, art galleries, medical research, rebuilding Manchester after the bomb – the list is so long – and the Leave campaign are saying that they have more money to spend but where will they send it? Farage has already admitted that the NHS spending figure was a lie.

We were significantly better with Europe holding people accountable – what’s to stop us now having dictatorships? It sounds absurd and dramatic but it could happen.

Politics has dominated Britain since before the Scottish referendum with at least four big political debates, now there is a leadership struggle and another Scottish referendum on the cards. It’s not good for Britain.

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