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We’ve accepted the UK is in a mess – now let’s get on with fixing it – Benson Hersch

by: Benson Hersch, CEO of the ASTL
  • 04/07/2017
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The catch phrase of Oliver Hardy and Stan Laurel, “that's another nice mess you've gotten me into", was used by PM Theresa May when she faced the 1922 Committee of Conservative backbenchers, writes Benson Hersch CEO of the Association of Short Term Lenders.

Benson Hersch, Association of Short Term LendersMay said: “I got us into this mess and I’m going to get us out of it”. Unlike Hardy, she has accepted blame.

The political landscape certainly has changed, with confusion and uncertainty all around. The UK’s hand in the forthcoming Brexit negotiations has certainly been weakened. Our negotiators are even more likely to be met with intransigence, especially as the EU’s approach has been approved by the 27 other member nations.

This was always going to be a problem, as there would be a great reluctance to go back to them to get agreement. A case in point was the Canadian trade agreement, a lot simpler a situation than Brexit.

As in the 2008 credit crunch crisis, the situation represents both a challenge and an opportunity for the bridging sector. Traditional lenders are already very cautious and the current situation is almost certainly going to make them more so. Bridging lenders, with a flexible, innovative and entrepreneurial approach to lending, will seize the opportunity and provide the products that borrowers need.

A recent cover of Private Eye magazine headlined “May finally unites Brexit Britain” showed her behind a lectern in front of 10 Downing Street with word bubbles saying “Leave” from all directions, but, although her ultimate fate is clearly sealed, there are more important issues to be resolved.

Politicians seem to have forgotten that the main issue is “the economy, stupid”. This is one area where the electorate still seems to trust the Tories rather than Labour. But, despite the fact that there is no magic money tree, the divisions of opinion in many key areas need to be healed.

In my personal opinion, a brave move would be to remove three key divisive hot potatoes from the political arena and hand them over to commissions representing all the parties. These are Brexit negotiations, education and the NHS. All are vital to our country’s future and should be dealt with by consensus, rather than by parties trying to score points by rejecting proposals without providing viable alternatives.

This approach might ensure PM May’s survival in the medium term, prevent the Conservative Party from tearing itself apart and save the country from yet another trip to the polls, to the relief of Brenda from Bristol and many others. It will also enable all the parties to act in the nation’s interest, rather than increase the divisions in our society.

Yes, we are definitely in a mess, but rather than hold our head in our hands, let’s get on with the task in hand. If we fail, we will have let down future generations and they won’t thank us for it.

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