“… that our devices still are overthrown.
Our thoughts are ours, their end none of our own.” (W Shakespeare, Hamlet)
Similarly, the Romans said: “men make plans and the gods laugh”, and nowadays folk say “random, yeah?”. What we know is that things never turn out as we expect.
Who would have thought that within a few little weeks, we would have voted to leave the EU, seen markets panic and re-stabilise, seen a Prime Minister resign and a new one take his place, our second female Prime Minister, seen Boris Johnson in the political wilderness only to emerge within a fortnight as the new Foreign Secretary, see England knocked out of Euro 2016 and Portugal the winner, and Andy Murray winning Wimbledon again? Well, one of those events was fairly predictable.
Continue reading ““Our wills and fates do so contrary run…”
UPDATE: The survey below has now closed. We are really grateful to those who took part and we will be conducting further research in due course. Please do check back to take part in future surveys. Our report is available here.
First there was a vote. A little more than a week later, we have no political authority in the country and Her Majesty must be thinking something like, “Well that’s a great 90th birthday present guys – I really could do without having to wade in and take control at my time of life” (I am sure the Royal thoughts are more eloquently put). Apart from Parliament self-destructing, vast numbers of petition signing people threatening to hold their breath till they turn blue, and the leaders of the European Countries getting severe indigestion and threatening handbags at dawn, nothing has actually happened yet. Surely it is not news that half the UK doesn’t like being in the EU, and half does?
Never the less, based on this startling revelation, the banks have downgraded the UK’s credit, Sterling has sunk and rumours abound about the next knee jerk. In the meantime, Mr Osborne may be thinking of making the UK a corporate tax haven, something we would all welcome? Some question how on earth government can allow a fractional majority of the votes cast and less than 50% of the voting population to force a change as momentous as our removal from the EU. This is the same government, I think, that has said that, to go on strike in a key industry, a union should have a 60% majority?
We have now heard anecdotally that some overseas businesses are reviewing or deferring decisions to invest in the UK, while others say it is business as usual, and some report increases in sales. With all the confusion, we would like to find some clarity. Please would you tell us a little about your experience, and how the EU Referendum is or may be affecting you, by answering a few questions on our survey page? The survey is open to anyone, but it can only be completed once by each person. At the end of the survey, you can optionally leave your details and we will use them to contact you with any interesting results.
It takes about three or four minutes to complete.
Continue reading “Survey: Has the Brexit Vote Affected You?”
One of the funniest comments I heard about Brexit this morning, as we awoke to its being a reality, was in response to the question of how Brussels will react. The answer was given “they will be completely shocked”. If it is true, it tells us all we need to know. There was a referendum in the UK yesterday; it was always going to be close. This is not a shocking result, and anyone who is shocked by the outcome must surely be open to accusations of some degree of arrogance.
Politicians will disagree about the political, and economists will disagree about the economic effects. In my previous blogs I have been clear that I do not believe we can predict what will happen in this Brexit scenario, so speculation is as good as we can get. A look back at history does tell us that humans, economies and people generally are far more resilient than we fear and no doubt we will be living in very interesting times. We should be more than cautious as pundits supply endless opinions on how Brexit will impact on business.
But what of your business and what can we learn?
Continue reading “Don’t Ask Me What I Think of EU”
After my last post on the matter, I had intended to let it rest. There is now so much being said about the Leave/Remain debate that we start to hope for different news. Then we get different news, and it’s so awful that we would rather focus on Europe. Maybe there is a lesson on being careful what you wish for. Maybe that lesson will have some impact on the way we vote.
Despite the volume of words, very little is actually being said. Each side speculates on the financial effect of a Brexit from opposing perspectives; but no-one knows. Each side speculates on immigration, defence, security, you name it; but no-one knows. Each side throws ever more unpleasant (if often truthful) barrages at each other. The polls are currently weighted toward a Brexit. The bookies still marginally favour Remain.
I continue to wonder where to put my “X”. If you do too, you may find some help in EU Referendum FAQ’s produced by the UK200 Group, of which Hillier Hopkins LLP is a member. The UK200 Group has produced this document under its Campaign for Clarity project. The Times is trying to do something even more sophisticated. Laudable as all this is, I am not sure that anything is clearer.
Continue reading “Euro-nausea and how to survive the white noise”
In the press this week, was a report that the DVLA thinks that they have lost £200m in road tax revenues since introducing the new disc-free tax system. It caught my eye because, about a year ago, the Chancellor announced how they will now do away with paper tax returns and replace them with an online tax account. Many of us wondered at the time how the IT would work.
In the 1970’s (I know I don’t look old enough) I recall how we all thought computers would do away with almost all mundane work, and we would live lives of leisure, and only do the work that humans must do. It was a Promised Land, delivered by second class post via Royal Mail (like most government mail), it seems. Is Government trapped in a 1970’s time bubble, desperately doomed to failure, yet hoping to save costs by computerising our lives? Or does government have a long term strategy?
Continue reading “Someone Sent a Promised Land”
We often hear, “if you have nothing to hide, you have nothing to fear”? Were it true, we would not object to the idea that some gentleman from the secret service might listen as we whisper sweet nothings, joke with close friends in a politically incorrect manner, or discuss a private business deal?
Privacy and secrecy are very much a part of business. Confidentiality is fundamental in professional life. Businesses work hard to create contact lists, customer lists, know-how and techniques, and guards them jealously. Sometimes a non-disclosure agreement is needed to enter into any discussions with companies. So let us not pretend that transparency in business is widely accepted as beneficial. It has long been established that there is a need for a balance between the right to privacy, and the public’s right to protection.
But on which side of this balance do the new People of Significant Control Regulations sit?
Continue reading “Nothing to Hide, Anything to Fear?”