It wasn’t the #brexit referendum that was wrong, it was the question.

Embed from Getty ImagesAs the weeks tick by towards Britain’s exit from the EU, and as it becomes ever clearer that neither the May government nor the Brexit fanatics have the slightest clue as to what to do, my mood darkens. If this was a storyline for a political drama on Netflix, it would not get commissioned on the basis that it is too far fetched, so let’s look at this plot outline.

David Cameron, the then British Prime Minister in an apparent attempt to ensure victory at the next general election, decides to pander to a significant minority in the country by offering a referendum on the UK’s membership of the EU, and, he thinks, simultaneously head off the growing popularity of the right wing UK Independence Party.

Having called the referendum he doesn’t even bother to make it clear that it is advisory and that Parliament retains the final say, so confident is he that remain will win. The government also decides not to take a neutral stance and declares itself pro remain, and in a great example of irony, when the remain campaign is unsuccessful, because of this pro remain stance David Cameron is forced to resign anyway.

Camerons’ smart move would have been to declare that he was holding a referendum to gauge the true feelings of the British people toward continued membership of the EU. He could have asked “If given the choice would you vote to leave or stay within the EU?”, thus giving those wanting to protest the status quo the opportunity to do so, without risking the current catastrophe.  Should the result be negative and armed with this information he would then have truly been in a position to demand a renegotiation of our membership.

The problem with this is that thanks to Maggie Thatcher, we already had a sweet deal.  We get a rebate on our contributions, whilst having one of the most powerful voices in the EU parliament. We enjoyed being the centre of the EU financial universe and have attracted massive investment from overseas investors such as the car industry because of our skilled workforce, combined with free access to EU markets, all of which is under threat from #brexit.

“Oh but we are slaves of the EU politicians and their rules and laws”, says who?  We always had the power to create our own laws, we had a veto to stop anything that we didn’t like to do with foreign affairs, laws, taxes and the EU budget, and since ‘None EU Immigration’ was a big issue, maybe people should have asked why successive governments failed to tackle it.

Tony Blair has of course come out of the woodwork again recently to try to do his bit for reversing the article 50 process but it was New Labour as much as any government, that led us to this position. Lets remember it was one of his MP’s who was witnessed saying the “British people where inherently racist” because of rising concerns of apparently uncontrolled immigration, and this was compounded by that fabulously excruciating moment when Gordon Brown accused a lady, who had expressed concern over immigration, of being an awful bigot, whilst still wearing a live Sky News radio microphone.

Political arrogance and complacency led us to the point where we had a vote to leave the EU (our best hope for future prosperity) in order to resolve problems not caused by the EU but by our own hopeless political elite.

Congratulations Britain, we freed ourselves from freedom.

Why the EU needs Nigel Farage #brexit

Embed from Getty ImagesYou could well have read this headline and thought “what in gods name are you talking about” but there is method in my apparent madness. I very much wear my pro EU stance on my sleeve for all to see, but I have never been in a state of blind love with the organisation as it stands. There are areas of grotesque waste, such as the laughable moving of the EU parliament between Strasbourg and Brussels every month at an estimated cost of £150m a year, lavish spending by MEP’s, many of who are considered political failures back in their home nations and who get big salaries for debating if McVities can legally describe ‘Jaffa Cakes’ as cakes etc. Oh yes, Jean Claude Juncker gets right up my nose too!

Despite all of this, the EU still serves it purpose of preventing war in Europe and sharing wealth and prosperity amongst its members. It invests the shared pot of money amongst its wealthiest and poorest member equally as needed and if you doubt me, just google EU grant funded projects in the UK; there are hundreds. This is important to understand as the pro #brexit lobby kept talking about bridges that we funded in Spain etc. Whilst conveniently overlooking what the Spanish (who get no EU rebate by the way) has funded in the UK.

“So then EU fanboy, why are you suggesting that Big Nige was good for the EU”?

As I said, the EU is far from perfect and is filled with gold plated cronyism that will continue to waste money and time instead of being the powerful force for good that it can be, and to avoid this you need dissenting voices on the inside, and Mr F’ was that man. I have had many genuine laugh out loud moments watching him winding up his fellow MEP’s, who look on incredulously at what he has said. Sure, some of the stuff he came out with was outrageous, but he would also state the blindingly obvious stupidity of some of the proposals put forward and let’s give praise where its due, in a room full of people who hate you it takes Godzilla sized testis to stand up and tell them that they are wrong.

Britain will not thrive on its own, not in the world as it it now, its strength is in being the oddball amongst conformity, the annoying hand at the back of the room asking the awkward question in the face of political correctness or stupidity. We have a weak government currently preparing to stockpile food and medicine in the face of a no deal #brexit as if they are doing something good rather than seeing that the fact that they even need to think about this shows what a catastrophe leaving the EU will be.

We not only need to cancel article 50, we need to elect a few more Farage style, awkward bastard MEP’s and send them back to the EU parliament to kick ass and get the EU working properly again for the benefit of all. So please Mr Farage, stop this Brexit nonsense and fulfil your destiny.

PS. We should tell Donald Trump exactly how far he can F’ off.

A tough few weeks but here we go.

2012-01-07 20.32.17For a while now I have been considering starting up a blog and I have been getting encouragement from a few friends.  I suspect this is largely because I quite enjoy throwing in a controversial comment on social media conversations and then standing back and letting everyone else get on with a damn good argument.

With this in mind, and the fact that I wanted to resurrect my small ‘Clan Hannay’ website in order to share our direct family history and artefacts, I signed up with wordpress to get a replacement for my old site up and running.  I am also keen to share some of my experience in sales to those thinking of taking this up as a career path and maybe being discouraged by the impression given by TV shows such as the BBCs’ ‘The Apprentice’, that to succeed you need to be an arrogant plonker with a massive ego. Maybe if you plan on being some jet setting, multi millionaire its what you need to be, however most sales people are decent and hardworking professionals and I hope to be able to offer my knowledge, such that it is, to help them avoid the pitfalls and to truly enjoy business to business selling as a career and as a route into management and maybe the freedom of self employment and creating a business.

I start this blog though with the sad news of the passing of my Dad, Brian Hannah, at the age of 86.  Dad started out in sales back in the 1960’s working for the ‘London Rubber Company’ selling and refilling codom machines in pubs.  I remember him telling me how the landlords welcomed him with open arms (and pre drink driving laws) with a free pint, as they did nothing but offer some wall space in the loos and in return got a cut of the condom machines takings!

He always worked hard to be successful and to provide for us, his family, and this sometimes made him a hard character to live with but he was my Dad and I loved him for who he was.  Its probably fair to say that my selling style was quite different to his, which came from an era where entertaining the customers was as big a part of business as any product or service and most of his customers became close friends.

He ultimately became sales director of Leicester’s Invictor Plastics, famous for the game ‘Mastermind’ (trade marking that must have annoyed the BBC) and for the original Red Nose Day red noses.

So I dedicate this blog to my Dad who spent his life ignoring advice to cut down his drinking and eat healthily and lived well until a very short time before his death at 86 year old.  Here’s to you Dad.

Stuart Hannah 22/07/2018