Month: July 2017

Brexit State

Brexit state. Who would have thought it? Seventy years ago the Welfare State in Britain was founded on three pillars – housing, education, and health.

If, after the Second World War, there had not been a promise to found the welfare state then there was a risk of revolution – just as there had been a risk of revolution after the First World War when soldiers came back and found that things have not changed and that they were in the same divided country.

Ever since the introduction of the welfare state there has been another kind of war – the war between the Conservatives who want to return to Britain to a privatised ideology and the socialists who want everybody to benefit under one State.

There are risks from the ideologies of both sides.

The problem for the welfare state is that people live longer, have greater expectations, no longer necessarily want to be looked after by the great State – and particularly after they were offered the chance to buy (at a discounted price) their own properties to live in.

This created a huge surge in house prices that has fuelled an imbalance in the true value of assets of all kinds, including the cost of buildings such as hospitals.

The problem with the health service is that the infrastructure of the ’40s and ’50s and ’60s has now become old and decrepit – and where was the money going to come from to replace it?

From taxes? That was seen by Labour under Tony Blair and Gordon Brown as a sure way to lose an election.

That is the beguiling attraction of the privatised ideology. Theresa May is simply continuing the work of Thatcher and Cameron.

Labour’s latest manifesto is to bring energy, postal services, rail, etc. into public ownership. The current owners will want to be paid – there will be a revolution in everything in name if they are not – and the upset to that delicate balance is something we haven’t seen in this country for a long, long time.

The 2017 Labour Manifesto states:

  • Bring private rail companies back into public ownership as their franchises expire.
  • Regain control of energy supply networks through the alteration of operator license conditions, and transition to a publicly owned, decentralised energy system.
  • Legislate to permit publicly owned local companies to purchase the regional grid infrastructure, and to ensure that national and regional grid infrastructure is brought into public ownership over time.
  • Replace our dysfunctional water system with a network of regional publicly-owned water companies.
  • Reverse the privatisation of Royal Mail at the earliest opportunity.

Brexit State

Brexit muddies the waters and makes a lot of things seem possible.

These are dangerous times and some will want to take advantage of that.

Being In Business Is A Bad Way To Run A Business

Being in business is a bad way to run a business.

I came to that observation today when reading a trade magazine. What happened is that a few weeks ago my wife and I decided we didn’t really want to continue with the business – it was taking up too much time and effort.

So we closed a section down and kept the easy bit going. If that gets too much we can shut that down too.

So today I was reading this trade magazine – just enjoying reading it because I didn’t have to be thinking about what we could be doing to stay ahead of the curve – and there were a couple of good articles in the magazine.

One in particular was from a man who was retiring after 40+ years in the business. He dropped little gems of information that I think I would have missed if I had skimmed the article or simply not read it because I was ‘too busy running the business’.

And that’s it in a nutshell – too much ‘hurry hurry worry worry’ (even when things are going well) leads to no time to absorb and think.

Information overload and the nagging drive to get ahead or stay on top reduce our ability to let our minds absorb information in its own time – in its own correct time.

Worry saps our energy and stresses us at one and the same time. We become hooked on beating the train as it thunders along behind us – threatening to catch up to us and grind us into the dust. It’s easy to see how workaholics thrive on the addiction. They are fixed on the track as surely as the train is.

The answer is not solitude exactly – although that state of mind will help – it is being aware and dealing with the situation as it really is – which brings us back to the fact that being in business is bad for business. Worry and stress are bad for business.

No matter how much it might seem to hurt, someone else has got to take part of the load and deal with part of the worry so that we can slow down and smell the roses and the coffee and ‘learn’ and make wise decisions.

Hire a manager – get someone who can do those things well – and then take time out to relax, to think and think creatively.