If you don’t know the missing word, google P. J. O’Rourke, and you’ll learn. But after yesterday’s announcement of a General Election in Britain on 8 June, there is a real risk of voting apathy/exhaustion in the UK. So, here’s today’s quiz question: just in the same way that “claustrophobia” means “fear of confined spaces”, “fear of elections” is – what? A bottle of something (quality depending on the quality of the winning answer) to the winner!
Since most of the rest of the world seems to get by OK with fixed term parliaments or presidencies, I had thought that the UK having a fixed term parliament was a step in the right direction. But now I know: our parliamentarians had their fingers crossed when the Fixed Term Parliaments Act was passed, so it doesn’t mean what it says on the tin.
What all of this means for UK businesses – Brexit uncertainty; the Westminster election; the threat of Indyref2 in Scotland; the current lack of a devolved assembly in Northern Ireland; local elections; and all the others that I have forgotten to mention – is continuing uncertainty. That means that it is harder to make long term decisions and when to make those decisions – and of course, it is all too easy to delay making that difficult decision.
It’s maybe some small comfort that we are not alone. Imagine that you were running a business in France just now, needing to make the same sort of decision, but with even greater political uncertainty there. As Donald Trump is finding out, running a business and running a country are two very different things. The CEO of a company is quite clearly in charge, and reports to only a few groups of stakeholders (such as shareholders). When running a country, annoying and unpredictable things like democracy get in the way (unless, of course, you follow the Turkish model…)
Enough of this rant (but do check out P.J O’Rourke). On a brighter note, we are hosting our Avrio colleagues in Edinburgh on 19/20 May. We already have a few clients lined up to meet colleagues from other countries (Cyprus, Switzerland and the USA so far) so if you have or might have any need to chat to one of our overseas colleagues, get in touch and I’ll see what I can do.
Meanwhile, keep practising your “x”: you don’t want to spoil your ballot paper!