The EU Should we stay or should we go?
I've been thinking long and hard about whether I should write this.
They say in business you should always remain impartial to politics and not give an opinion. However this is probably the biggest decision as a voter in Great Britain we will ever make in our lifetime, and the decision we make tomorrow will affect generations to come.
Our customers are an eclectic lot ranging from small businesses who sell their very diverse and sometimes quite innovative products online, to students who are returning home after studying in the UK to people who just need to send a parcel to someone and who like the personal and lets be honest here, cost effective service we provide for sending parcels.
So how will our business be affected by a Britexit? And more importantly how will our customers be affected?
Well this is our student season. At this time of year many EU students who have taken advantage of the opportunity to study in a different EU country from their own are returning home. They arrive in the UK with one suitcase and invariably when they head home discover they have accumulated more belongings! The majority of them are working and they love our new DPD predict service to Europe where they get a text or email to tell them when the driver is due to collect and they can arrange their work hours round their collection. A huge amount of EU students study at our Universities and a lot of our students gain from the brilliant Erasmus program to study and learn about different cultures and languages in Europe. My own children have gained a huge appreciation of Europe and Britain's place in that community from studying and working in the EU. I know a lot of EU students find Britain a really welcoming and friendly country to live and work in. These young people are our future and their contribution to our economy vital. Their positive experience of living in Britain they take home with them and helps to promote throughout Europe what a great country we have.
The EU has provided so many small businesses with a much larger and appreciative consumer base of their goods. Combined with cheap courier prices to Europe and no time consuming customs forms to fill in, they have been quick to take advantage of the tremendous opportunities that come from trading with an audience of 50 million people rather than restricting their trading to Britain's 5 million. British goods are respected and revered throughout Europe, not to mention how many love to visit Britain and countribute millions to our tourist industry despite our weather! If we stick the finger up at Europe how many Germans or French do you think will be keen to visit Britain for their holidays in the future?
In Bordeaux last week I had a long chat with a lovely French businesswoman who simply can't understand why we would want to leave a community that benefits all our individual countries in so many ways.
Britexit quote Switzerland and Norway as an example of how we could function effectively outside Europe.
Have you sent a parcel to Switzerland recently?
You have to fill in a commercial invoice for every parcel you send. You have to allow an extra couple of days for customs to process your goods and heres the real kicker:
10 Kg Parcel to Germany £17.56 including VAT
10 Kg parcel to Switzerland £38.44
Which market would you prefer to sell to?
At our parcel shop in Scotland we are an UPS Access point and a DPD Collect shop and accept parcels for local people who call in to collect their parcels after work. We Brits love to shop and have embraced online in a big way. so many people are enjoying being able to buy products from Germany or the Netherlands and have their goods delivered cheaply to Scotland.
No relationship is perfect, our relationship with Europe is no exception but relationships benefit from working though not jumping ship.
I am extremely proud of being Scottish, British and European.
We have been through this big decision to leave or go with the Scottish Independence vote and one of the real positives of that process was it gave Scottish people the opportunity to think about our country and the relationship we want within the UK. We questioned long and hard what we want in the future.
The more I travel outside the EU I realise how I enjoy being a European.
So I'm breaking the rule here and as you have probably guessed having thought long and hard have decided personally I would prefer to continue being part of the EU community with all it's faults. I want our ministers to continually negotiate the best deals they can for our country within the EU not from the outside.
I hope some of the words I have written here will help you decide tomorrow that whichever way you vote that we as the voter can and should decide on our future for our country and what we want for the future generations to come.