Monday, 26 February 2018

Trading Places

I make my living teaching the dark arts of electrickery; how to tame the demon amp, how to bend the devil’s conduit. It’s a good job, I am paid reasonably well and I also get to imagine I am helping to fill the skills shortage we have had – exacerbated by all flavours of government – for far too many years. Skilled electricians will always be in demand, indeed the fatherly advice of my generation and before was: ‘Learn a trade, son, learn a trade’. (I never did, by the way; I picked it up as I went along, but it’s not exactly rocket science.)

Theresa May faces a tough week ahead as Labour perform their seventeenth – or thereabouts (who’s counting?) U-turn on their Brexit policy. Now it’s customs union and single market all the way, in a direct flouting of the views of their old heartlands – proof, if proof were needed that Labour is embarrassed by those who once claimed they worked for. If better paid jobs for the many British workers is what they are after, remaining in the EU in all but name is clearly contrary to their headline message.

But whatever the outcome of future Parliamentary votes on the matter, sooner or later we will face a final decision and whether the referendum outcome is actually overturned – as a majority of MPs so dearly wish – or not, the future is always uncertain. Whichever way the eventual (and by definition undemocratic) Westminster vote goes, the nation will remain divided. So, in that respect at least, nothing will change; there were always divides on all sorts of grounds. If anything, Brexit just simplifies things by putting all the other grievances in the shade.

Over the course of the last 70 years, too many people have come to depend on the government to deliver their daily bread. Now, too many people have been persuaded that their daily bread comes hand-delivered from foreign climes. Given that it has long been a complaint that government does not listen to the people who elect it, how likely is it that a government elevated above our own is going to listen, especially when they airily dismiss our concerns in a foreign language?

The EU isn’t really accountable to anybody except the idealistic dreamers who appoint each other to lofty posts with grand titles, who do little but push through legislation which is incomprehensible to the masses. Trade is engaged in by real people, production is dictated by demand and pay is controlled by the economics of labour, materials and money supply. Despite all the bullshit spouted about customs unions and free trade deals business will find a way to operate whatever the conditions.

For sure, some businesses will fail – they do that, you know. Some will up-sticks and settle elsewhere. Some products may become unavailable, some too expensive, but none of this is important on either an individual or a national basis, unless you have put all your eggs in one rickety basket and ignored the golden rule; look out for number one. So, you can’t buy your favourite continental frippery? Find a substitute; the little luxuries of life do not define you or your place in society; don’t make them your master. 

So, you lost your job? That’s the market making a decision about your employability. You need to make sure that if the market for your unique skill-set dies you can adapt what you have to what the market needs, regardless of Brexit, climate change, war, famine, fire, flood or earthquake. You want your kids to thrive, post-Brexit? (This ‘but what about ze cheeldren?’ belly-aching is getting tiresome.) Then teach them well. Teach them that mindfulness is a new-age bollockry but maths is there for ever. Teach them that nobody owes them a living but fortunes are there to be made. And tell them: “Learn a trade son, learn a trade.”


  1. There is truth in what you are saying. However the environment in which you make those choices makes considerable difference to the quality of outcome from those choices. A society shaped by socialism, progressivism and membership of the EU in any shape or form are environments that are not conducive to being able to make much of a life or pursue certain preferences.

    1. Oh, I don't think that's the case. You make do with what you've got and what you haven't got you take steps to acquire, if not for yourself, for your offspring, for the future.
      The biggest drawback I see is the silken cage of socialism, lulling people into believing the state knows best and the state will provide.

  2. An excellent post, as always.
    My son and family are in the process of acquiring legal residency in the US of A to escape the strictures of life in Venezuela. The DIL has now got a job paying in dollars which allows them to live like maharajas in a golden cage. They are consequently getting cold feet about moving; but I see nothing good in the future where they are.

    My younger son referred to that mysterious force as electrickery when he was three.