I always keep an old 4 Wheel Drive for my adventures in the hills. I use an old vehicle because it takes a lot of punishment and if I write it off I can just go and get another one. This particular vehicle is over twenty years old, starts first time and has never required more than routine maintenance. I just can’t seem to destroy it. Then it came time for some new tyres.
I got a quote from a local tyre shop, selling well known brands and they were to cost around 250 pounds each, a thousand pounds for all four and more than my old vehicle was worth. I started reading reviews about cheap Chinese imports and they were horrific: “only thing keeping you on the road, suicide,” etc. I’m not trying to tell you which tyres to buy, you do have to be careful. Well, I got onto the Internet and a couple of days later four new tyres arrived, around 65 quid each. When I went to get them fitted, I asked the fitter if I was doing the right thing and he said: “well, it adds to the fun.” I drove away very nervously indeed as it was raining.
You can imagine my surprise when 30,000 miles later, I’d discovered that not only do they stick to the road like glue, they’re hardly showing any signs of wear: in spite of being driven up mountains and along rocky tracks. Great tyres and I’d buy them again. The big tyre brands may be slightly superior, but four times the price? That is a lot of brand equity!
In a world of highly optimised supply and value chains (there’s a subtle difference), old business models are very much under threat. Consumers too are much more aware in this Information Age. More examples: spectacles, local opticians: 500 pounds; online: 80 quid and very high quality. I needed a new GPS, so I looked at a price comparison site and found a model valued at 150 pounds for 50 quid. Why would I go anywhere else and pay more?
In a world of high speed Broadband, Cloud Computing has become viable. I was playing with a Shareware, Enterprise Resource Planning system (ERP) recently, that I could quickly set up on a Cloud for next to nothing and I’d have global access to it. Information Technology used to be an expensive Barrier to Entry: not any more.
A difficult and competitive world is here, one where we still don’t fully understand a new and rapidly evolving Marketing Mix. What’s a Blue Chip giant to do? Do they try and develop new business models or do they use a bit of political influence to instigate a trade deal?
If trade deals like the TPPA, TTIP and TISA are ratified and come into force, in a few years, I won’t be able to buy my cheap tyres, spectacles, electronics etc. Generic drugs and medicines will disappear too; I know cancer patients that regard this as a death sentence. Hidden behind thousands of pages of legalese there is the reality that Parallel or Grey Imports will not be allowed, large corporations and politicians have decided that you owe them a very comfortable living. These people have realised that a Dollar is a Dollar, a vote is a vote and it doesn’t matter where they come from.
Our politicians don’t represent us any more, Democracy is already long gone. Protectionism gone mad, ultimately centred around the USA and nothing to do with facilitating trade, but everything to do with centralising power and undermining national sovereignty even further. A few privileged people would like to have the benefits of globalisation for themselves but not for you.
There are huge strategic implications. Whereas you could argue that we’re using the Third World as a massive sweatshop, if you look closely at our own situation, we’re already not doing too well. In spite of David Cameron’s assurances that leaving the European Union will make us all worse off, the reality is that life is going to get a lot more expensive if we stay IN: goods, food and property.
Trillions have been printed in a variety of currencies to prop up banks and businesses, that are of course: “too big to fail.” Unfortunately, all of this printed money is finding its way into the consumer marketplace via the property market and demand driven by immigration. When the sugar rush of rapidly rising property prices is finally over, you’ll realise that we’re actually getting poorer. We’re not dragging the Third World up it’s dragging us down. It’s what I call a horizontally polarised world as opposed the old vertically polarised world that we’re used to.
Whether this new arrangement suits you or not, the important thing to remember is that the world will still be very polarised: what we’re not being offered are solutions (refer to my article: “The Zombie Apocalypse”). Our children will be poorer, they’ll likely never have a home of their own and the Health Service will be gone. Where all of this will end up, I really don’t know, but I don’t think it’ll be anything good.
It is my belief (for what it’s worth) that within not so many years, the European Union will have served its purpose as a prototype and will be obsolete, but for us it’ll be too late to escape. Until the 23rd of June we still have a chance to throw a spanner in the works and it’s probably why Barack Obama flew over to tell us to get back into our box. “Resistance is futile; you will be assimilated.” Where have I heard that before?
If I can deduce all of this by looking at my car tyres, I’m sure there are those of you cleverer than me that can deduce a lot more by taking a long hard look at the European Union. I’ve heard the European Union called a lot of things, but I’ve had a lot of difficulty pinning it down and giving it its real name, I’d be very interested to know what you think: answers below.
Think long and hard before you vote on the 23rd of June, because if you vote to remain, our world could be gone forever, it is our last hope of ever regaining our democracy and our freedom.