Imagine you’re standing at the top of a beautiful mountain bowl after a fresh dump of snow. The sun’s out, the snow’s untouched, and you’re just a little bit frustrated, because your guide has said it’s not safe to ski there. The risk of avalanches, he says, is too great.
Then along comes a jolly blonde Brit called Boris Johnson, wearing a pair of faded 1970s salopettes and a woolly hat, who says you’ll be fine. In fact, he’s so sure you’ll be fine he’ll make a televised apology if you’re caught in an avalanche.
Who do you listen to?
Would it be your guide, or Boris Johnson?
In many ways, this is the situation we find ourselves in, as we face the most important vote in Britain for 41 years. At stake is the health of Britain’s economy and everything that’s built on it – from the moral character of British society, to the quality of the NHS.
On one side are the Remainers, asking us to vote to stay in the EU. They’re backed by organisations such as the OECD, the IMF, the Bank of England, the Treasury, 10 Nobel laureate economists, and – today, June 22 – the bosses of more than half of Britain’s largest companies (as well as lots of small and medium-sized ones). You can add all of Britain’s international allies to that list as well.
On the other there are those that would have us leave. They are telling us to ignore the experts. They know best, they say. They can’t tell us what’s going to happen when we leave, or explain which parts of the economy are going to prosper once we’ve gone. They can’t point to a group of international businesses queuing up to invest in a Brexiting Britain. All they can offer is their gut instinct and the fact that sometimes the experts get it wrong.
Which brings us back to the mountain bowl. On the one hand there’s the guide. On the other, Boris Johnson. Okay, the guide isn’t infallible. But he knows a lot more about mountains than Mr Johnson. He lives amongst them, he talks to other mountain guides, he studies weather forecasts and daily updates about the quality of the snowpack. His life is in snow. If he has a gut instinct – based on his training and experience – we might be prepared to listen to him. Not Mr Johnson.
The fact that there are qualified guides in the mountains, who ski like gods, know their environment, and are armed with the latest safety equipment is one of many beautiful things about the modern world. And to their number you can add doctors, scientists, engineers, teachers, lawyers, judges, accountants, and economists. No, they don’t always get it right, but their net effect has been to make people healthier, longer-living, better educated, and richer in all sorts of ways. It’s been done through peer reviews, rigorous thought, a willingness to learn from experience, and lots of hard work.
By discounting the whole principle of expertise, the leavers are asking us to embrace an approach to life that’s impatient, frivolous, and proud of its own ignorance. We’re being asked to close our ears to reason and surrender to our emotions. Some of those emotions are pretty ugly, too.
Here at Welove2ski we won’t be following the Leave campaign down the mountain, thanks very much. We’ll be voting Remain. We hope you will too.
June 22, 2016Sue Pierpoint (ex Sue Grey who used to work for Nigel Purkhardt)
Thanks for this, but to be honest we will be voting out. This is for many many reasons, and not to do with Boris, Nigel et al.
June 22, 2016Laura Milligan
I’ll go with the mountain guides too.
June 22, 2016Al
Nicely summarised, and i like your simile. Thanks. I’m in!
June 22, 2016ELP
What you forget in your analogy using a Haute Savoie guide as context is that he or she considers anyone who lives beyond Moutiers a foreigner, maintains they cannot understand anyone from Marseille and the only role of Parisians is to spend money in their resort. What they truly value is their independence and the freedom the mountains offer them. Given half a chance they would vote to get out of France let alone the EU! Shame a great site has been tarnished by Politics!
June 22, 2016Xavier Schouller
Staying in will definitely be better for most skiers so we are for staying IN too as a business.
June 22, 2016Joanne McGawley
To be honest, I`m getting tired of Companies clogging up my inbox trying to influence my decision. I`m an intelligent adult with my own mind and am more than capable of making my own decision without every other e-mail telling me which way I should vote. I will just be glad when Thursday is over and we can get back to behaving like rational, mature adults again.
June 22, 2016Aimee Taylor
Erm thanks for that, still voting out……can’t think of any good reason to want to stay!
June 22, 2016A
We’re out as a family. Plus we don’t believe the dooms day scenario promulgated by the ‘main stream politicians’ and other so called ‘expert groups’. Turkey WILL be joining and that is reason enough to get out.
June 22, 2016Derek Allen
I imagine that before writing this you had a discussion about it in the office – at least I sincerely hope you did.
In spite of wrapping it up in a skiing metaphor, this is a political decision and people registered with you for skiing articles, so do you really think it correct to have published it ( and yes, I obviously understand biggest decision for a decade/generation/life-time – choose your favourite
Having made this decision, should you not have declared something like
” a vote for Brexit will have negative affects on our business ”
so that all interests are clear ?
June 22, 2016Rich Ingram
You are on dangerous ground – forgive the pun. Your metaphor is weak: Economics is notoriously difficult to call. No-one knows the answer because there isn’t a certain one. Half of France goes on strike Greece, Italy, Spain and Portugal all have to be bailed out and creates a massive Euro recession. Do you still want to be part of it.
Let alone the genuine macro threats that BRIC and the US squeeze Europe into declining relative wealth whilst the protectionists stand at the Euro borders and demand the tide go back!
Leaders of major business have an interest in the status quo, so of course they support remain. They will have enough assets to be perfectly fine. Unlike the average Joe. Mark Carney has been honest enough to say the model has a range of answers, and the issues are short term – the long term could be very much more positive either way – he doesn’t know
This is not a decision based on provable fact. It is totally emotional – Gut instinct – and mine is we are better off taking our chances …. #whatpricefreedom
So next time you are out – you better just stay on the piste because it seems far too dangerous for you when you get off it.
June 23, 2016Glynn Alwyn-Jones
No snowsports addict should vote out unless they are millionaires as, if “Out” is successful and,, thereafter, the Euro goes to parity with Sterling, only millionaires will be on the slopes!!
Wake up all you “Outers” – the World has moved on and there is no going back to the days of Empire, gunboat diplomacy and black and white television!!!
Finally, if the English hate immigration, remember, all of you are immigrants – it was just a long time ago!!!!