Print Published 13th Jun 2017, 14:54

Brexit: Let’s have sense instead of slogans

This publication would hesitate to pronounce with any authority on matters of national politics and economics, but it is hard to ignore the prospect of economic decline and its impact on the marketing industry in the wake of the chaotic political machinations of the last twelve months.

Confidence and certainty in Britain’s future wellbeing have both taken a big knock.  Whether or not the long term outcome of Brexit is beneficial in economic terms, all the signs are that decisions are being delayed and investment is being curtailed while the current machinations continue.

Economic decline, temporary or not, will affect marketing expenditure.  There will be exceptions, but in general terms marketing agencies will find the going gets tougher.   Even those that benefit from a decline in the value of sterling will still have to cope with tougher domestic conditions.

As the practical implications of Brexit begin to seep out, it is not even clear that the majority of the British people remain wedded to it.  Indeed, within six months of the June 2016 Referendum a BMG Research poll was showing that a slim majority of voters wanted the UK to remain in the EU.

That mood may also have provided the undercurrent to the farcical General Election outcome that the country is now having to grapple with.

The benefits of staying in the EU and the dangers of leaving were never articulated with any clarity or persuasiveness during either the Referendum or the latest election.  The Referendum itself was won by a slogan that cleverly encapsulated all or any of the dissatisfactions attributed to the EU: who would disagree with the sentiment of “Take Back Control”, always assuming that would provide the permanent perfect panacea for everyone’s ills?

Today we know only too well that slogans can also backfire – “Strong and Stable Leadership” was an aspiration presented as reality.  So too was “Take Back Control”.  Politicians from all parties have created their own false world to inhabit.  When reality returns, and slogans are replaced by substance, Britain will almost certainly be the poorer.