Although ‘remain’ because of the overall philosophy being one that I considered most aligned with my own views (that we live in a world where connection and openness is essential and provides us with the opportunity to enhance our power, interest and influence on the world stage) I worked to understand the opinions of both sides of the argument.
Since last Friday morning, I’ve also tried to understand the basis for the ‘leave’ vote and the reasons why we voted as such.
And what’s clear is that there were a significant number of leave votes that were in fact protest votes.
Votes against the lack of investment in the NHS, lack of investment in regional funding, lack of action against those who appear to cheat the system for unfair gain and lack of opportunity due to increasing competition from freedom of movement.
With over 3.4 million people on the waiting list, the NHS is over-subscribed and cannot continue in its current form. In order to keep up with the current demand, there would need to be 22 800-bed hospitals built over the next 6 years. This isn’t due to immigration but due primarily to the ageing population we have that is mirrored the developed world over.
There is growing inequality not just across the UK but across Europe and the rest of the world. In part this is due to the inability of regional governments to effectively tax now global organisations that are incentivised to optimise their tax strategy. And until a more coherent, considered and coordinated approach is agreed, this will continue.
Whilst zero-hours contracts have been lambasted by the main stream media due to a couple of high-profile companies’ disregard for their employees, they provide flexible working arrangements for entrepreneurs and small businesses who form the majority of the private working population and contribute significantly to our overall output.
None of these things are likely to change with our imminent extrication from the EU.
Our NHS will need to be reformed in order to meet the demands of our ageing population, inequality will still need to be addressed, as will the approach to multi-national taxation. And the ‘jobs’ we once knew will be a thing of the past. In 20 years time the job market will have changed beyond recognition, with a move to assignment or project based contracts for more and more people. Those who excel in the skills required in these areas will prosper.
However, our education system is not set up to develop young people with the skills required for success in this new world. Skills in emotional intelligence, sales, negotiation, project management, creative thinking, presenting, business planning and personal financial management are weak at best, if evident at all. And regardless of our political persuasion these challenges lie at the heart of the issue.
The result is what it is and there will be five different ways of viewing the future and any associated opportunity: those who deny an opportunity exists, those who ignore it, those who take what’s on offer, those who seek out new opportunities and those who go and create.
This saga is unlikely to be over for some time as the fall out continues to reverberate nationally and internationally. And unfortunately, there will be no major changes to any of the driving factors that led to a proportion of the protest vote out – the NHS will still require reform, regional funding, inequality and taxation will still need to be addressed and there will continue to be a shift towards flexible working and project-based work as the job market changes.
Therefore it’s down to us.
And it is those who seek out and create opportunities that are likely to prosper. The irony? That would still be the same regardless of the result of the in/out vote.