Sunday, 6 March 2016

Pink and Fluffy Politics - My Hairdresser's Contribution to the Great Brexit Debate

A Gentleman should have a very special relationship with his hairdresser - particularly if spending time with her is thought to be preferable to spending time with the PM or even Her Majesty. See the video clip below.

And so it was that I found myself in Ashleigh Martin’s chair this morning as she examined my hair critically and assembled the tools of her trade.

‘What are you doing for your holidays then?’ she asked in full-on hairdresser tradition.

‘Nothing. I am doing nothing until June 23rd’, I responded a little grumpily, ‘and anyway I don’t want to talk about that. Hairdressers always talk about that. Do you know whats happening on June 23rd I asked?’

‘Is it the Queens birthday?’ asked Ashleigh smiling happily at me.

‘No its the EU Referendum!’, I retorted.

‘Oh yes’, Ashleigh replied, ‘I knew something was going on then..’ I am sure she was taking the mickey.

‘Have you decided how you are going to vote?’ I asked.

‘No. Not yet. You?’.

‘I am out. No doubt about it.’

‘Really’ Ashleigh said, surprised at my certainty. ‘But aren’t the French going to do something horrible if we leave?’

‘No that’s a load of old nonsense…’ I started to say but Ashleigh cut in.

‘But if we leave.. will we still be called Britain?’

I wasn’t sure if she was serious, ’Yes of course we will still be Britain and the United Kingdom’ I replied earnestly and then looked up to see Ashleigh’s impish grin staring at me in the mirror.

‘Oh that’s a shame’, she said, ‘Can’t we be called Candyfloss?’ Another impish smile.

I grinned back at her - my morning grumpiness finally broken. ‘What you mean with everything all pink and fluffy?’, I asked.

‘Yes’, she responded smiling happily expanding on her thoughts, ‘And you know.. where everyone is happy and hugs each other and is loving all the time.’ The joke had a slightly serious yearning to it now.

‘Well if more than 50% of people want that once we are out of the EU then yes I suppose we could change our country’s name to Candyfloss. That’s kind of the point really. It’s called Democracy and we need it back.’

‘Oh ok. You mean that right now we can’t make our own decisions on everything cos of Europe?’

‘Yes. We are just one of 28 countries who make the decisions..’

‘Yes I see what you mean’, Ashleigh said serious now, ‘I just don’t think people know enough to decide at the moment - what’s a Trade Barrier for god’s sake?’.

I preceded to explain the concept of trade tariffs using a bottle of shampoo from the counter in front of me. ‘Imagine you sell this for a £1 but when you sell it to another country the customer has to pay the equivalent of £1.50 because there is a tariff on it of 50p. Are you going to sell as many as if it were sold for £1 or are people in that country going to buy an alternative made in their country?..’. 

She followed me intently as I explained why, given that the EU sell more stuff (probably including shampoo) to us than we do to them, they were unlikely to want to impose crippling tariffs on UK goods and services because we would simply do the same to them. So overall they would lose out more. 

I was waiting for her eyes to glaze over and worried that she had scissors in her hands. So I went on quickly and explained that being outside the EU would mean that Britain would be able to trade freely without trade barriers with the vast markets across the world without EU tariffs making our goods and services uncompetitive in many instances. 

So even if the EU did go crazy and cease all trade with Britain we would have two years to adjust before they could do that and around £350 million pounds a week to pay for the problem as that is roughly what we pay to the EU, and we would have much bigger, growing markets to sell to instead.

‘Blimey’, she said (I was surprisingly still unharmed), ‘this is the sort of stuff people need to understand.’

‘Well I am going to be producing a series of videos to explain some of this stuff’, I explained.

‘Oh really!’, she responded with surprising interest, ‘can you send them to me?’ she enthused.

‘Of course they will be on Facebook but actually Ash. I was thinking I might send some stuff to you before I make them so you can have a look and see if it makes sense.’ She regarded me in the mirror with slightly narrowed eyes and her hand went to her hip.

‘So you think if someone like me can understand them then they’ll be ok??’, she admonished.

‘No Ashleigh’, I said thinking furiously, ‘I mean that you own a small business and you are local Councillor but perhaps you can help me work out how to make it all make sense to the Goggleboxers’. I was feeling relieved that I had dug myself out of a hole of my own digging without injury and having grasped an important point in the process.

‘Ok. I would be happy to help’, she said smiling sweetly, ‘but I know what you are like with your big words Robin. Just make it simple…’ she brushed the hair off my shoulders finishing her work.

Thanks Ashleigh. As usual you brightened up my day with your smiles, your humour and your sparky intelligence. You make politics sexy Councillor. And you helped show me the way forward to making a contribution to the great Brexit debate. You showed me that none of these EU issues are rocket science - its all just simple concepts that need to be explained in straightforward language.

See you very soon darling.


Post a Comment