Paul Hargreaves is the chief executive of Cotswold Fayre a specialist fine food wholesaler.

“The politics of uncertainty”

By the time you read this Article 50 may well have been triggered, or it May have been delayed (see what I did there?) I have made my views on Brexit very clear over the past year, so have many others within the business world, but I like them whilst we voted “Remain” had resigned ourselves to the process of leaving, hoping for a smooth transition. I wouldn’t say that I have become optimistic about being out of Europe but had begun to see some positives

However, I am now deeply concerned again and can only see the break-up of the United Kingdom on the horizon. It now looks as if certainly Scotland and probably Northern Ireland will both be in the EU and out of the United Kingdom. The vote in Scotland was 55:45 against in the last independence vote, but heavily voted to Remain, surely that will give the extra 3% swing needed for Nicola Sturgeon to win the day. And in Northern Ireland, the increased power for Sinn Fein in the recent elections will mean that the push for a united Ireland in the EU will carry more weight.

All this cannot be good for business, even if my forecasts don’t happen, then this uncertainty is not good for us. Many of us have loads of suppliers and customers in both Scotland and Northern Ireland, and it is looking increasingly likely that we will need to re-format our business relationships. It does seem crazy to me that the politicians keep saying that we must go with the will of the people, when actually they are talking about the will of 1.9% more of the people than those wanting the complete opposite.

Apart from anything else, is this nation actually going to achieve anything positive over the next two years with all this going on. Other countries will be advanced by their leadership, whereas ours will, at best, remain static and some would argue would go backwards.

Sorry for the political rant this week, but I became more aware of this being out of it for the last week at our project in Kenya. The good news is that I am able to write this on the plane home only because for the first time in 8 or 9 trips I had electricity at the children’s centre, so could charge my laptop. In fact, we paid for electricity to be run from the grid to the children’s centre and primary school. What I didn’t know when I transferred that money was that it would mean that the whole village now has electricity! Now that’s what I call progress!

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