Blog

A Life in Business, Tomb Raider and Brexit – Revisited

I wrote this in August 2018. Not a great deal has changed. We are still in the EU and long may it continue. For many people it is already too late. businesses have moved. $1 trillion is leaving Britain because of Brexit. I personally know good people who have already lost their jobs and are struggling to get work in the supply chains for the automotive industry. I know people who have sold up or retired because they just can’t face the coming storms. I wrote this to give you some understanding of what it is like to run a small business and updated some information on the numbers of businesses in the UK from the Governments statistics. It’s interesting to note that numbers HAVE dropped since 2017.

I sometimes think a life in business is like playing Tomb Raider.  It’s a strange analogy, I know.  Having spent more hours than I should have sneaking onto my son’s computer in the noughties there are some similarities so bear with me whilst I try to explain my logic.

When you start, the first couple of levels seem easy.  You are well signposted, there are plenty of instructions, there’s lots of information available to guide you and give you some clues about which direction to explore in.  You can, if you have been cautious, afford a few false starts before you have fully committed yourself heart and soul into the game ahead.  Most importantly, you get a huge buzz out of every problem you solve and feel happy as you work your way up, around and through and over all the obstacles towards your goal.

It’s not long before you get on to the harder levels.  There are fewer pointers here. You have an idea of where you want to go but in the words of Oasis, “all the roads we have to walk are winding, and all the lights that lead us there are blinding “.   Every new level brings with it unfamiliar territory. The problems are harder to solve, the obstacles trickier. There are sabre toothed tigers and baddies with pistols around the corner threatening to end your game. Along the way you acquire new skills and weapons.  You make mistakes you lose a life you try again having learned from your mistakes.  But here is where the analogy departs for a while because suddenly your business is your life, it has become  almost your entire life and now you are immersed the consequences of the decisions you must make are very real.   

I am not an academic or an expert or an economist.  All I can offer are my personal thoughts having been a co-director of a small business for 20 years.  In fact, I have been involved in small businesses since I left university in the late 80s.  During all those years we have seen many things. I have experienced dealing with bailiffs at the door and conversely been in the fortunate position of being able to help when others were at a similar low point. There have been times when we had to sell everything we could to help us through cash flow squeezes or borrowed heavily on credit cards to make month end and times when making money was easy and we have been able to happily reinvest in the business to expand and move it forward.  We have had the privilege of building a team of people who do their best for us every day. We have been able to borrow to invest and taken many risks and chances, always calculated but sometimes dicey even so.  Some paid off some did not.  This is life. We make decisions, some are right, some are wrong, some work out, some not so much.  Just as in a computer game though, we only have so many business lives.  Unlike Lara, we can’t reboot and replay the game once all our chances have gone. 

Here is the thing I have learned.  However stable a business is, nearly all companies are really only 3 to 6 months away from annihilation.  From time to time paperwork will cross my desk from a liquidator winding up a customer or supplier and I always notice the same thing.  The implosion after the crisis point is pretty dramatic and rapid.  

There are several reasons why a crisis can occur.  Bang – a change in government policy.  Slap – a loss of an important contract. Biff  – the most profitable product is now out of fashion.  Punch – a miscalculation of stock.  Crash – a sudden dramatic move in currency exchange rates. Kick – a rise in interest rates when over-borrowed.  Zap – a stupid misjudgement on an expansion plan.  

This is not an exhaustive list but any of these things can happen to any SME with fatal consequences for their business.  The liquidators move in.  Suppliers switch to self-protect mode.  All the value everyone thought was there ebbs away and dissipates like Lara’s energy bar, as the customer base drifts off to competitors, stock is marked down, customers find reasons not to pay their outstanding bills and the accountants and bankers who make their living out of the dead bones of SMEs take their cut.  Long standing contacts distance themselves uncomfortably, embarrassed to admit a superstitious fear that failure could be catching.   I look at the updates from these liquidators and I shake my head with sorrow as it could be any of us.  I doubt I am the only one who sees it this way. 

So you see, the life of a small business is  fragile.  We plan, we build reserves, we look at the prevailing conditions, the things out of our control, and we try to make sensible decisions, we hedge against our vulnerabilities where we can, we look for opportunities to get ahead and hope they pay off.  Here is where I come around in a roundabout way to Brexit.  The fragility of SMEs means we are heading for some extremely difficult times with Brexit looming. Remember my list of potential obstacles?  Well for a proportion of the 5.7million SMEs and even some of the large businesses, Brexit, any flavour of Brexit on the menu, will mete out a number of those blows simultaneously.  The companies affected won’t so much be rolling with the punches as knocked unconscious before they have had a chance to even buy gloves.  We could do some contingency planning, we are doing what we can, but when there is a finite amount of time and resource and personnel we need to know roughly what we are planning for otherwise we may as well just buy a lottery ticket.  

If you voted Leave, you – yes I do mean each and every one of you –  have helped to put my business in harm’s way, but not just mine.  A great many SMEs will face existential challenges because of a direct effect on their EU sales, disruption in the supply chain, an increase in their input costs or less directly because of a downturn, which will most definitely come, leading to cuts in their customers spending in the short to medium term.  2 years on and I still have not seen a convincing reason which explains why we are voluntarily following this insane path.  There is no benefit to me and mine, my staff or my business and after asking the question multiple times, nobody credible has ever been able to cite a specific example of a benefit to my business or my life.

My partner and I are both from working class backgrounds, we started out with no contacts and no capital but lots of bravado.  Over the years we have adapted, diversified  and changed our business model to suit changing business environments.  We have battled and fought and sought the tenacity we needed to keep ourselves in the game.  We have reinvested our profits, taken chances, learned from our errors, some of them bad ones.  Some days I look at the uncertainties ahead and the idea of giving up, selling what we can and going away somewhere regardless of the consequences crosses my mind for a moment.  But I know we are not quitters and we will fight on, one problem at a time, one obstacle at a time.  

For many in business however, Brexit might just become like one of the nightmarish corridors in Tomb Raider Level 20 with the jets of fire, a sword of Damocles and a giant boulder rolling behind. There will be too many obstacles coming together in too short a time to negotiate successfully and no amount of stockpiled medi-packs will get us through to the next level.  Don’t be surprised if some players decide to just quietly turn the computer off and take up yoga.

The Curious Death of the Sunlit Uplands.

I wrote this for Chester for Europe on release of the so-called Yellowhammer document by Government

The government, under duress of the Humble Address Motion, have published an Operation Yellowhammer document.  We have put it here for you to read in full.  There are a few salient things I feel we must point out. 

The title of the document is “Reasonable Worst Case Planning Assumptions”. The document is identical to that leaked to the press a month ago and the journalists who saw the leaked document say it’s title was “Base Scenario”. In other words, this was the expected set of consequences of falling out of the EU without a deal and that is why they should be planned for. Tom Gordon here provides with some evidence by comparing the copy which which went to the Scottish Government

Paragraph 15 Has been redacted.  Comparison by a journalist saw the leaked document says the paragraph says

“15. Facing EU tariffs makes petrol exports to the EU uncompetitive. Industry had plans to mitigate the impact on refinery margins and profitability but UK Government policy to set petrol import tariffs at 0% inadvertently undermines these plans. This leads to significant financial losses and announcement of two refinery closures (and transition to import terminals) and direct job losses (about 2000). Resulting strike action at refineries would lead to disruptions to fuel availability for 1-2 weeks in the regions directly supplied by the refineries.”

Would this closed refinery include Stanlow, we ask?  Not only will our area be at risk from the closures and company moves linked to the Just In Time problems as a third country, Stanlow may be at risk too.  That’s a lot of jobs in Cheshire at risk for no benefit.

This document is little more than an executive summary with no detail at all.  No information on what the measures are to mitigate these things.  Why have they not provided any of that detail at all? 

For example, examine paragraph 20.  It informs us of the impact on the adult social care sector.  The Upshot is within 4-6 months we will see social care providers closing as Brexit affects an already fragile sector with insufficient staff and no margins to play with.  When these companies shut their doors, who will look after the individual adults affected? Where are they going to go?  Where will we get staff to look after them?  It also presents questions such as,  if there is less social provision, will bed blocking become an even bigger problem than it is now?  We have no idea how the government have answered any of these obvious questions from this document.

Paragraph 20

We now know Project fear is Project Clear.  If these scenarios were not likely why would our public servants be spending our time and money on this.  We know they are and planning for food shortages, delays at ports, job losses, business closures,  It’s all there in black and white in this short document.  Don’t be fooled by the business=like, sanitised tone. 

The starkest warning is in paragraph 17 and represents a warning we have been giving since we started campaigning. 

“Low income groups will be disproportionately affected by any price rises in food and fuel”.

The title change demonstrates an attempt to downplay, remove the scary words in our heads but where are the spreadsheets and tables and figures and mitigation details?  At any rate they have not been able to hide the fact that they have confirmed everything remain campaigns have been saying for 3 years about the dangers of Brexit and no-deal Brexit in particular. 

Let me ask you this final question before you read the full document, if this is the worst case scenario, why have they not printed the Best Case Scenario?  If I wanted to ease peoples minds or show the benefits of no-deal and why I thought it was a valid way for the country to go  I would do that.  Wouldn’t you?  The government has not done that. There is no cost benefit analysis. Its all costs and no benefits.

I am sorry to report the Sunlit Uplands of Brexit were dead and buried a considerable time ago and this document proves it.  Mr Sunlit and Mrs. Uplands never really existed except in the minds and personal bank balances of the Brextremist Glitterati. 

Disaster Capitalism, takedowns and takeovers revisited.

I wrote these words over a year ago as part of a longer piece which was an analyis of the then situation with the two main parties both of who had succumbed to populist forces, but looking at the stories about Johnson’s cronies betting against the economy today I think this story perfectly illustrates #disastercapitalism.

I woke up this morning with my mind on an old customer whose story I would like to share.  I don’t wish to name names, so, as it amuses me, I will call them Dave, Ed & Nick LLP.   They were a customer for the best part of a decade.  I personally looked after their account and every other day would be talking to their excellent general manager John who ran the show for the owners, taking his orders, sorting out his problems, make sure his supplies and equipment arrived when he wanted them where he wanted them, keeping him happy.  A wonderful chap, an expert (yes, I know expertise is so last year), keeping his employer’s ship on a steady course for many years.  John knew what he was doing.   Sometimes he dropped a clanger or would make totally unreasonable demands and I would be swearing and muttering to myself around the office as I tried to figure out a solution that would get him out of a fix.  I always did and often it cost us money and he wasn’t always as grateful as I would have liked, but he always paid the bills and gave a fair price. Our working relationship was both excellent and mutually beneficial.

Then out of the blue the Dave, Ed & Nick LLP partners all wanted to retire and sell up.  John decided to go to pastures new and his assistant, Ben was put in his place.  We were assured there would be no change, we would have the exact same benefits and relationship with the new permutation of the company.  Of course, the inevitable unravelling started quickly.  The calls from Ben were full of unspoken anxiety and stress, you could almost feel him shrinking in the middle of the circle of wagons as he came under siege.   Their accounts department dragged their feet, Ben’s budget was squeezed, customers started to leave them in droves.  I would have to stop supplies until invoices were paid, never happened before.   It turned out that the new owners were not interested in job creation, or investing for growth, they were not interested in the existing staff or the long history of the company.  They had used lies to keep staff on board.  The prize in their sights was the prime property the company owned which was right in the middle of an area of intense redevelopment for buy to let luxury apartments.   Without telling anybody who would be affected they were running the company down for the cashflow whilst they got a developer on board, which they did.  Within a year the company which had operated for 30 years was dead, no profit, no customers, redundancy notices handed out.  The plaque on the swish new apartments should read RIP Dave, Ed & Nick LLP you served us well but well, we couldn’t be bothered with all that work malarkey and besides we made more money this way.

Bland Men Toxic Lies

I wrote this as one of the speeches to be delivered today by my friends at the Chester for Europe demo today 7th September 2019.

I watched some footage today of a bland faced politician being confronted by an angry French woman.  With tears in her eyes and defiance in her heart, she explained to him exactly why she stood with a stop Brexit banner with her British friends.  She has been in the UK for 21 years, longer than she lived in France.  Her husband is British, as are her children. 

The Bland Faced Man tried to present his Brexit as a difference of opinion, like you would discuss what you think about porridge or boiled eggs.  The woman let rip and demonstrated the passion felt by every single person who has been adversely affected by that vote on June 23rd 2016. 

5 million people denied a vote on their very futures remain unsure what will happen to them.  Settled status means nothing certain and there is no protective legislation so a no-deal offers them nothing.  The British in the EU likewise have little to go on beyond unilateral guarantees made in individual member states.

A friend of mine and her husband moved into her daughters spare room this week thanks to a job loss directly linked to Brexit.  Her husband is struggling to find a new job, as an EU27 citizen combined with his area of expertise, Brexit is having an ongoing effect on his employment prospects. My friend said “I know I should be grateful I have somewhere to go but right now all I feel is anger and distress” The poor woman even feels guilty at feeling her justified and righteous anger.

I saw a man on twitter share his distress, the Coroner had confirmed worry about brexit was one of the factors in his EU27 citizens wife’s suicide. 

Imagine that? Imagine having to live with that?

Politicians have created a divide.  In our Families, in our communities, in our country.  For what? What is so good about a future outside the EU? 3 years of asking this have never yet yielded a satisfactory answer from the bland men who sold us their lies in 2016. It’s unforgivable what they have done to our great nation.

And meanwhile, what of our cross border families? These people are YOUR friends, your colleagues, your neighbours, your own families.  Our government cares not a jot about them.  These people with no voice are OUR responsibility, Brexit has diminished their status from being less than equal and this is wrong.  They have stood by our sides for all these years contributing to our communities.  It’s now time for us to stand side by side with them.  

Stop Brexit,

Equal Lives No Longer

This week has been full of turmoil. Boris Johnson and his special adviser, the unelected Dominic Cummings have engaged in a war of attrition against Johnson’s own party and summarily chucked out 21 MPs for voting against their plan.

They have pretended that the British Government is busy negotiating some kind of deal whilst the EU have confirmed that in fact nothing new has been put to them at all, in fact I don’t think anything has been put to them at all. As per the last 3 years the Tory government seeks only to negotiate with its own party and by extension the Brexit Party, in this, May and Johnson are the same though Johnson remarkably has been somewhat less successful having now fired his majority. There is something deliciously absurdly brexity about that particular act of foot shooting isn’t there?

As campaigners, we in the Remain Grassroots have been busy fighting the spectre of no deal. We must continue to do that. Although Parliament has successfully flexed its sovereignty muscles and pushed through the Benn Bill, there are still many holes in the road that we can fall through. It’s not inconceivable with a certain chain of events we could be back to facing another cliff edge. It all depends on the order of play.

Ideally we need Brexit to be settled first before we go into any multi issue general election. After all, if we are to have a general election just about brexit why not just have a referendum specifically addressing it? If we do go into a general election with Brexit as the central question we cannot stop debunking no-deal in the starkest and toughest way. So this aspect of our work, informing of the calamity of no-deal must be kept up regardless of the Benn Bill unless and until we know we are truly safe from it.

Having said all that on strategy, I have been reminded too, this week, of all the core reasons I started to campaign and they have not changed. I hate to quote Theresa but let me be clear, let there be no confusion. I reject all types of Brexit. The opportunity for bringing remainers along to a compromise passed 2 years ago. There has been no respect shown from Leave proponents for the lives and realities that people face. If within the first few weeks, months even, some attempt had been made to firstly immediately secure the rights of EU27 in the UK and British in Europe and secondly create a cross party commission to investigate and thrash out a workable approach which got broad agreement , our remain movement would never really have grown, Thats on the May Government and the No-dealers.

To turn the oft quoted phrase thrown at Remain back to the fence sitters and deal makers. We are where we are. You didn’t manage that, you did not successfully get parliamentary agreement on any deal. Three and a half years on and we are no closer to defining Brexit beyond the catastrophe of no-deal. We have wasted billions on fridges and lorry parks and ferry companies, we have neglected the domestic agenda and still nobody can better the terms of our current EU membership in any way whatsoever. Remember they said it would be better. Not worse.

But the contradictions of Brexit aside, the real cost of the last 3 years has been entirely emotional. Let’s start with the 5 million excluded from a referendum, the result of which was to impact their lives in the most personal and egregious way. As the promises on their security made pre referendum by the Leave campaigners who now sit in government where shredded on the floor of the House of Commons, their initial bafflement and mild concern has turned into fear and fury blistering fury and rightly so. They have been insulted and demonised and discriminated against. The settled status scheme is throwing out stupid decisions to people who have been here for decades. We see fresh new insane stories of filing cabinets full of ancient paperwork demanded so people can finally feel secure. I feel extremely worried of there being a scandal similar to windrush perpetrated on our EU27 friends. The hostile environment in the Home office is still alive and kicking as our friends from outside the EU will attest.

More fundamentally than the procedures imposed though, the enactment of the referendum result reduced the status of the 3 million. As EU members we are all equals under UK law. We were the same. The Leave voted turned EU27 citizens into people who are NO LONGER EQUAL. Their rights have been removed. They or their parents came here exercising treaty rights or came before that with indefinite leave to remain. They have now been told they must justify their presence in the UK. Their history by our sides in the UK has been downgraded in importance. Imagine having to justify your life?

The British in Europe face similar problems. In a way their issues are even worse because the removal of FOM also removes their right to move easily from their current residence to another EU27 country. For some this is already creating business and or employment problems. Whilst some individual governments have laid down laws to protect their British residents, others are looking to confirm reciprocal arrangements and cannot guarantee what will happen without a deal.

So many British are not clear exactly on their continuing rights to healthcare arrangements, pensions, exporting of benefits etc Nothing is certain. But again at the core the argument for me is that these rights have been removed by the British Government against their will. They are now less than equal to their neighbours in their country of residence. The EU can no longer protect them.

Remember in the early days the EU proposed in a document protections for the 5 million with reciprocity but the British refused to sign up to this and preferred to use their lives as chips in their political gaming.

What of the rest of us? Yes, we too are being stripped of rights to work and study and move around freely on the journey our lives may take us. Of course we will be able to try and jump through the immigration hoops that will be imposed on us instead of Free movement but we will be a third country. That means less experimentation, less access to opportunity. Why would an EU company hire a Brit as a member of a third country and mess about with visas and work permits when they are getting qualified applicants for the same job from 26 other countries. The best of the best (and the rich) will always get opportunities but the rest will just have another barrier to get over keeping them from their desired future.

Aha, but what about opportunity elsewhere in the world, I hear you ask. Well I don’t know about you but I haven’t exactly seen any countries coming along offering free movement to the British people in the last 3 years. You would think we would remember that.

We have stripped ourselves of rights and freedoms we previously had, it doesn’t matter if some individuals never exercised or benefited from those rights. I have never been arrested but I wouldn’t want to strip people of their right to a fair trial on the basis I never benefited from that. The point is I might one day, or my family or my friends or my children or my grandchildren. The Leave Vote has diminished our rights and so diminished the individual.

Which finally brings me to some of the minority of Labour people who still think there is something feasible about some kind of Brexit. What are you doing? You are supporting a policy which removes rights. This seems to me something totally alien to your movement? When did you stop supporting progressive enhancement of rights and start supporting removing rights? Get off the fence!

Brexit has divided families, communities neighbours at the deepest emotional level. Loss of rights and the real life consequences of that is felt so deeply by so many people that the anger and determination continues to build every day. This week we have seen the pressure that can be brought to bear with teamwork to stop no-deal. Forget fantasy deals. We are where we are, the public is moving to remain, the time for unicorns whether blue or red has passed. Imagine what can be done when our oppositions parties unite to fight the wrongs of 2016 and take the right steps to stop Brexit.

Arrogance Kills Brexit

Given recent events, it is clear it is the arrogance of the Brextremists which has played a huge part in the way Brexit has played out in the House of Commons and the country.  Is it an own goal by them? I think it might well be. I was passed this piece of writing on this question by one of my campaign friends who asked me to edit it and publish and I think it is very well worth a read. 

The Arrogance of Brexit.

Written By Joel Josephson
Edited by Pilar Gomez

Brexit was conceived in arrogance and is failing because of arrogance. From the day the ERG wing of the Tory party pressured Cameron into holding a referendum their very arrogance started undermining their own position. They pushed the terms of the referendum into a binary choice, two options leave or remain. The advisory referendum is allowed in the constitution.  Rees Mogg is known for his great understanding of parliamentary procedure and the constitution.   By making it advisory, they could avoid any worries about super majorities or minimum turnout rates, knowing full well that if they won, they could call out that the result was the will of the people, even if the majority was razor thin. And if they lost, by a similar small majority the argument could be replayed in the near future using Farage’s pre referendum message that if it was as close as 52/48 remain, that was too close and they would try again.

Believing that the majority they won would be enough to get their Brexit, they have miscalculated badly though,  as they forgot, or hoped to make irrelevant,  that our constitution also cares about the will of the losers .  This is a fundamental part of our democracy.

If they had used a super-majority, as a constitutional change of this magnitude merited, the opposition would have been swept away and, possibly, the EU would have made further concessions to Cameron as the government would have had a much stronger mandate. They also, I believe, did not predict that Cameron, an accepted leader, would go quite so quickly, hence the rather stunned and stressed initial reactions of Boris Johnson and Gove to their victory.  You definitely got the feeling of “What do we do now?” in those first days.   Instead rather hastily, the unsuitable and ineffectual for the task required Theresa May was put in charge, while everyone else stepped back and let someone else take responsibility.

The arrogant Brexiters, knowing their case was a dream with no real benefits to either the country or ordinary people with no factual basis, cooked up a media storm of lies and unicorns that would get the easily duped and gullible salivating and hating. It was enough for the referendum, but over the last 3 years, promise after promise, lie after lie, has unravelled and many who were duped have had their eyes opened and no longer want to take a chance on a worse future now knowing the promised sunlit uplands are not going to happen.

The next step in their arrogant miscalculations was in refusing the best deal that the EU could make with us. This may have been their cardinal mistake in achieving brexit, and it was manifestly obvious that they couldn’t offer any other plan at all. In fact the EU told them multiple times in the plainest language, there is no other deal. May for all her faults knew this, pleaded with them and put the deal to the vote 3 times, but the Brextremists chose to vote against May. Why[U3] ? We well know why.   It was not extreme enough for them and although it left the UK in a reasonable trading position In May’s opinion, we would still be under the necessity of abiding by the rules of the EU standards and regulations.  Had they already decided they wanted to force No-Deal? Or were they simply so arrogant that they believed that the nasty foreigners would roll over and give them anything they wanted?  Cherry-picking was the ERG’s favourite pastime.  Was it their English  exceptionalism borne of an inflated sense of their own importance and superiority? “We are important, our trade is important, and I am a public school educated, superior and I know best”.  Rather ironically they lost their best chance for Brexit with their own votes.

So, to the final and biggest act of arrogance, they elect the king of fools, known for his moral ambivalence, his lies and his incompetence to take the helm. He brings in Mr Dominic Machiavelli who is basking in the success of how he conned a nation into narrowly voting for brexit, he knows it all, does Dom. Cummings lays his plans and Johnson does his bidding.

These two will prorogue parliament to stop debate, pretend to threaten the EU with no deal as a negotiating ploy (the EU see right through them, as we all do) by planning for no deal.  In their arrogance they don’t consider what will be their biggest miscalculation that parliament and the country consider closing parliament as a step way too far. They attempt to dress it up in nonsense, queen’s speech, 3 years, blah blah. They treat the country as fools, and all who offer up the lie have tarnished themselves for life. But the reality of no deal slips out from their own government lips and that scares the bejesus out of most of us.  We know there is nothing being done to negotiate anything.  We know the desired Johnson destination is No-Deal.

Their strategy simply unites the opposition around two points that they all can agree on, irrespective of political hue;

  • To stop the closing of parliament or make it irrelevant,
  • To stop no deal as a disaster for the country.

Even Corbyn, often accused of sitting on the fence over Brexit, knows these two points are a step too far. Now 21 MPs have been ejected from the Tory party for defying the whip, a travesty, and a weakening of their own hand.  I don’t recall May removing the whip from Johnson for voting against her.  Dom and Bozo should have foreseen this that the nation in times of emergency comes together for the common good, it’s how we survived two wars, for all our differences the opposition are not traitors to this country.

How this national humiliation will play out over the next days, can only be guessed at, by the time this article’s ink is dry the story will have moved on.  We do know that the arrogance of the Eton elite has seriously miscalculated what this country is today and how democracy in our country operates. We can see that the Tory party has damaged itself, perhaps irreparably, and that will be much worse if they go into an election with Johnson still leading.

Our country’s leaders sorely need to do some listening; they need to face up to who our country is, that the public-school elite can no longer mismanage the country for their own ends and personal gain. They were taught in arrogance but the people have majesty and we will prevail.


The TakeOver – Don’t Wait too Long,

Without a doubt, we are seeing that the entryism into the Conservative Party by Brexit party and UKIP supporters, to push through the ERG and its agenda for the hardest of hard Brexits, has now taken hold.

How can Conservative MPs stand by and watch 21 of their colleagues, some of whom are extremely well respected across the country beyond party allegiances, be summarily ejected from their own party and feel forced to stand down from their jobs. How can they stand to do and say nothing? What is a party for if it is no longer reflecting a set of values which you can subscribe to. Even his own brother has felt compelled to remove himself from responsibility for what is being done.

Jess Phillips MP accused MPs of complaining in the tea rooms whilst saying nothing where it counts. Some of these same Tories consistently take every opportunity to attack their labour colleagues for splits and other problems and failures in the opposition party but now when their own BIG test has come, they have failed, failed failed.

Any Tory MP against No-deal who does not speak out now against what Johnson/Cummings are doing – successfully completing the takeover of the authoritarian-loving , populist right of the party, fail to fill the primary duties of their public office. Even if they don’t consider putting country first, they are not even putting their own party first. They are aiding and abetting it’s metamorphosis into something much darker and alien to the genuine values of moderates everywhere.

This is a warning you must heed. When you have given your tacit approval with your silence to what is being done in your name, further down the line you may come to a point you cannot,with clear conscience, cross to follow your leader, and you will feel compelled to speak out and take a stand. Don’t leave it too late. Soon there will be nobody to back you up or defend you. There will be nobody left with any power to speak out for you!

Moreover the public, your constituents, won’t be taken in forever. Sooner or later they will ask you why you failed THEM. They will be far less polite than the man who said Please Leave My Town.

The time to speak the truth is NOW.