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The Times, 16 January 2019

Everything that can be written about last night’s historic House of Commons defeat of Theresa May’s Brexit deal has been written, except for one thing.  I would now make it mandatory that anyone wishing to enter national and international politics must spend at least ten years in an industry, any industry, that has to create and sell products to remain in business. And I mean “create and sell products” not “provide a service”.  In so doing, politicians will learn the arts of negotiation, compromise, project management and working to deadlines, marketing and sales, leadership and, most importantly, the principle of reciprocity.  If you look at the career paths of Theresa May, Jeremy Corbyn, Donald Tusk, Jean-Claude Juncker, Boris Johnson, Jacob Rees-Mogg, David Cameron, Michael Gove, Dominic Raab, Michel Barnier and pretty much any other politician who has been Brexit-prominent over the last two years or so since the 2016 referendum, you will see that, before embarking upon a political career, they either worked in a government organisation (May); or was a trade unionist (Corbyn); or a political opinion writer or journalist (Johnson, Gove); or a lawyer (Raab); or emerged from “soft” service industries such as finance (Moog) and media/spin (Cameron); or were career politicians from day one (Tusk, Juncker, Barnier).

I’ve worked in factories (aircraft assembly industry, automatic electronics test industry, software industry), in start-ups (where every day is focused on survival), in American companies (where considerable attention and training in management skills are de rigeuer), and as a one-man-band (where technical and personal skills, and ensuring repeat business, are paramount), and I’ve seen what it takes to get products out of the door, on time, and to the satisfaction of the customer.  I have not observed any of these management and production skills in the people who have tried to implement the results of the 2016 referendum.   What I have seen is massive faffing around, massive protectionism (of jobs and policies), massive ambiguity and fluffiness of statements of intent, and massive incompetence.

Like everybody else, I have absolutely no idea what will happen now, both before and after March 29.  All I know is that the same people who created the mess will now try to solve the problems they’ve created and I have zero faith that they will succeed. Brexit is well and truly fubared.

Donald Trump once said, “Politicians can’t manage. All they can do is talk.”

For once, I agree with Trump’s statement.