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1948 Original Equipment Blog - Original Equipment Blog


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It is an empty bus and I look around as buildings flash by. It appears we are accelerating and I am not sure where to. I remember sitting on a crowded bus with lots of jolly people. It was crowded and we did not want anyone else on the bus.

I believe I am the very last person on the Clapham Omnibus. As I look back I have no idea how our politicians became so polarised and so obsessed in their own doctrine and self-interest. They have completely abandoned the very tenets that drew them in to serving the people.

The mistake, was the referendum without clear objectives and evaluation of consequences or saying where it might take us. The lost opportunity, was not making the action plan for Brexit cross-party. The reality, is throwing away a generations hope and aspirations.
What reasonable man can possibly think “No Dea”l will benefit the country in any way? The answer is only reasonable men who have significant financial resource, property owners and those who have never experienced what it means to be ordinary or poor.
So much has been written about the EU. There is no doubt the concept is top heavy with greedy people who personally put nothing at risk. Reform of the gravy train should have taken place years ago and the EU members must take full responsibility for the mess all sides are now in.

Much is talked about the red tape that cascades from Europe and binds us. As the last man on the Omnibus I don’t recall the red tape.

I have been involved in business my entire life and been fortunate to work all around the globe. I welcome new experiences, new food, new religions and new culture. I embrace it. I now run two small business units. I employ people some on zero hour contracts which suits them as they work when they want to. We pay well above a living wage, give holiday pay and pensions with everything going through the PAYE system. Our business and staff pay taxes, we all contribute. Where people come from should not be a recruitment criterion; if they work hard and contribute to society, should be.

Today, goods we make in the UK and sell in the EU have to meet EU standards, goods sold in the USA have to meet their standards (the car industry is a good example). Exporters have to meet the standards required in every country they sell to. What will change when we come out of the EU? Not much as we will still have to meet the standards of every country we sell in to. We will not suddenly relax everything to meet just our own standards.

Will immigration cease? I sincerely hope not because if it does there will be no staff in my local 24-hour garage. What will happen about the NHS, distribution chains and many more industries all of whom have a large percentage of their workforce made up of immigrants.? There are many young people from overseas within the UK now and their future may be guaranteed but what happens when they return home and we need another wave of people to replace them?

The intellectual argument that we need so called “skilled workers” is completely disingenuous and shows the lack of basic human morality. Why is a computer engineer any more worthy than a care worker? A high percentage of care workers are immigrants. I could and would not be capable of doing their jobs and increasingly we need more care workers due to an aging population.
In my thirties I was a child of the Thatcher revolution. I believed in market forces, I lived and worked in London. Work was everything to me. It was all about the next flight and the next meeting. Age has brought experience, better understanding and tolerance. I have enjoyed an easy life, home ownership and wealth creation but I now realise we have no right to deny future generations the opportunities I enjoyed
Free trade and free movement of people should be the objective of all governments worldwide. Our concentration should be on how we create this for all. We now appear to want to turn back the clock and isolate ourselves. To what end? Our energy should be on inclusiveness and striving to understand others no matter the barriers put in our way by dogma, greed and fundamentalism.
In all the debates about Brexit I have not seen one list compiled by any group that does not suggest we will all be worse off in the short term. I have not seen one list offered about quantifiable defined gains in the medium or long term.

Many people voted to leave on only one thing the reduction of immigration. It now seems most parties accept we need immigration to staff our Warehouses, NHS, Care Homes, Distribution Networks, Retail Stores, Agriculture, Restaurants and Hotels to name but a few. These are not those currently described as “skilled workers” these are good honest workers. The disconnect between some of our politicians in understanding what we need for our nation to function and their definition of “Skilled Workers” is astonishing. Let’s drop the term skilled. We simply need good workers. It should also be remembered that good workers contribute substantially to our taxes and economy. If we pursued bad workers and frauds with the same vigour as Brxit many of our ills could be solved.

My politics were fixed for nearly forty years. Today I am so bitterly disappointed in all parties. Policies founded on a public vote of 48% to 52% with such a complexity of resolution that no-one when voting could have had no idea what they were voting for, are now so polarised on theory with no consideration of destination. Who will vote for a house value drop of 20% and price increases of 20% due to a fall in sterling? Not me for sure. Will any Brexitiers guarantee no fall in sterling, no price increases and at best a static economy? If there is one out there, please tell us now how and why you hold these views and why we should all support you.

Negotiations are as hard and difficult as you make them. Posturing is part of a politician’s DNA. Openness and honesty might bring surprising results. The often said cliché that you don’t show your cards when negotiating is in reality pathetic when dealing with many nations well-being; but then again honesty does not come easy to powerful people. It is clear to many that the only acceptable solution is to make compromise on all sides. Divorce is never satisfying and only the very wealthy can really pay for it.

I sincerely hope that the driver of my omnibus lifts their foot from the accelerator and not only applies the brakes but also follows a road to a destination we can all live with without facing financial disaster.

The mantra that we must honour the peoples vote, and out means out, has worn mighty thin with me. All families and business adapt to changing environments. What is a decision today is changed tomorrow as new intelligence emerges? Politicians must understand that we can all change our minds. It is not a surrender to do so but it is bravery of the highest order to admit we might be wrong. The mandate to leave the EU was not a landslide but finely balanced. I suspect if there were to be a second referendum we would see very different campaigning and probably a high turnout of young voters who currently feel disenfranchised and ignored.

Our party political system that may have served us well in the past is not serving us well now. There are simply too many wealthy individuals who are immune from the real financial worries that the majority of voters carry. Humility is a trait many could embrace. I am sure all start out with good intentions but power corrupts and they lose sight of their original purpose.

Now more than ever we need cross party thinking to achieve any reasonable form of Brexit. We also need to know when to stop digging. The decisions we make on Brexit are probably the most serious decisions facing our country since the second world war. There is no consensus within parties let alone across parties.

As the last man on the Clapham Omnibus I have no faith in the driver. I only hope he or she has is not blinded by the timetable in simply wanting to arrive on time. I hope the driver finally realises that they are a public service on which the whole nation relies. It is not the driver’s bus or their journey it is how future generations will travel and to what destinations that is important.

Where has all the common sense gone? Politicians need to stand tall and realise they are playing with the lives of at least 60 million people. With more and more companies and institutions warning about the downsides and not one as far as I am aware guaranteeing anything good, what are we doing? In a globalised economy companies and the wealthy can move but whole nations cannot.

It’s a pity there are not more people on this omnibus as I always liked a good singalong.

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