I haven’t talked about Brexit for a while, but it can’t be avoided this week as there is now just 6 months to go until deadline day. The next few weeks will be key for the UK’s deal with Europe and will make a massive difference to the years ahead. There is a growing move for a ‘people’s vote’ as more and more voters are unhappy about the governance of our country. Both major parties, though, seem too focussed on ensuring that the ‘will of the people is done’ (i.e. deliver Brexit) to notice that the will of the people now is completely different. Various polls have suggested recently the vote would be 60:40 against Brexit if the referendum was held again now.
Anyone who believes that all this uncertainty is not affecting the British economy is bordering on delusional. Within the past few days I have heard an EU supplier say that they are not looking for any more business in the Uk until after Brexit, and a potential export customer said that, whilst they love our range, they won’t be placing an order with us until they know the outcome of the Brexit negotiations. Conversations like this are happening all over the UK and this is hindering UK businesses, yet no-one seems to care. It is incredibly frustrating for us all. I know various business people who are closer than ever to entering politics, but they are currently holding back as they don’t feel with our two-party system their voice will be heard. Let's hope the politicians and negotiators have a good few weeks and we can get all this over with, but I have an unpleasant feeling that the ripples from two years of virtually no action by the government aside from Brexit will have damaged the UK more than we imagine.
On a more positive note, I had a wonderful trip to Orkney last week. What a stunning place! Amazing scenery, history and full of artisan food producers. I thoroughly recommend a trip, especially if you are a connoisseur of gin and whisky. Trips like this are very good at promoting a region’s food to food and drink buyers and will always end up in business deals. Wales, Ireland and Scotland are very good at promoting the food of their regions, but I can’t help thinking that different regions of the UK could do a lot more in promoting their regions artisan food companies. Particularly in these uncertain times, now perhaps is an opportune time for buyers to realise just how good British produce is.
The silly season has started for many us with this being week 4 of ‘Christmas’ order despatches, so for all your merchandisers, buyers and producers out there, have a great week.