Saturday, 17 September 2016

Well I Wonder…

Sometimes events stir your passions, and make you think! Maybe they’ll change your views and perceptions…

As I write this post, I am sitting at an oversized cotton reel, on a stool that’s too high, trying to decipher the bizarre debate that I have just been to. The occasion in question is FutureFest a forward-thinking event all about innovation. It’s at this stage that I declare the event does take place at a client’s venue, Tobacco Dock, but I don’t think that’s going to be an issue in writing this post.

The discussion in question focused on the future of the EU and I was frankly dismayed by the negativity, pessimism and misinformation shared by a distinguished panel (all of whom were vociferous remainers). At this point, I should also declare that I voted remain, before a brick gets chucked through my window by some misguided zealot. 

Of course, there were some interesting points regarding the future of Europe, but I got the feeling that the speakers and the majority of the room still harbour a bad case of sour grapes about the decision. They seek to highlight the problem, moaning about the outcome, yet offer no solutions aside from going back to the way things were. 

This was meant to be an event about vision and ambition, yet I heard nothing regarding the potential opportunities the UK has in terms of business and society in a post-leave world (aside from strengthening trade bonds with Europe, of course).

I am not knocking the event itself, let me be clear. I like to think that its purpose is to generate thought-provoking content which spurs writers like me on to develop or challenge the ideas further. It’s delivered that in spadefuls. 

But the direction of the session was pessimistic, offering none of the pragmatism for which Britain was once famous. The usual messages were spun, that the public had been duped by the right-wing media, the decision was only advisory, we don’t have to do it… the more I look at Europe, the more I feel the choice of the nation was correct. I’m big enough to say that perhaps I was rather sentimental and cautious in my decision back in June, who knows maybe I was wrong. 

Furthermore, the panel talked about accountability. When you have characters like Jean-Claude Junker and countries with the financial regulatory reputation of Luxembourg in the current EU, I don’t think you can come close to transparency. I was left thinking, ‘take the log out of your own collective eye’ before you start levelling your guns at the Daily Mail and Daily Express (which, incidentally exist to sell newspapers and make money, not act as your moral compass). It seemed the panel wanted to sweep the 52% of the nation who voted under the carpet, ‘not today thank you very much!’. 

Ted Heath, who took us into Europe, was famous for having the ‘longest sulk in history’ after he was defeated by Margaret Thatcher for the Conservative leadership in 1975. It seems the remain camp’s going to do the same, being unhelpful instead of constructive, stubborn instead of open and to me, deeply, deeply boring. 

I know this article will draw its share of criticism, but let’s look forward and be excited for opportunity rather than adopting a doom and gloom approach which might be completely unfounded.

Of course, I welcome debate on the above, but no abuse, please! 

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