The Continental View by Theo Rebergen (July 25)

1
Have your say

UFF, we Europeans are off the hook for the moment.

In the last few weeks English politicians and media were blaming us Eurozone citizens, for the fact that the UK has no economic growth.

OK, we made a bit of a mess of it but Europe is still open for business and is not clever to bash your potential European tourism- and business clients and make them feel like outlaws. But luckily the banking mob in the City and the painful failure of the Olympic security took the eyes of Europe and turned UK’s doom-and-gloom press the other way.

It would make me frigging (a new word I learned) mad when I see how the slick City yuppies manipulated the LIBOR rates which allowed them to pocket mega bonuses, buying helicopters, Ferrari’s, Monaco penthouses and yachts in St. Tropez.

All paid by you through sky high mortgages or blown up borrowing rates; where is the British fighting spirit? Where is the Robin Hood that ransacks Barclays governors to hand their fat bonuses back to the under privileged?

Yesterday I met a genuine banker who talked sense, but when I came home and turned on the news, I learned that his US colleagues were caught red handed white washing dollars for drugs barons.

But what is the moral of all these doom stories; everything that went wrong is not your fault! The Barclay boss was American and the Olympic security was handed to an US driven company, a guarantee for being hit by friendly fire.

I would have called in Sir Alan Sugar ages ago, ask him to fire the untalented G4S lot and invite the well trained UK soldiers, that are made redundant at the moment, to go in to business with him; set up as sort of British National Security Coop with small local branches all over the country. Like a Fish-and-Chip shop for vital civil services.

The clever music conductor Gareth Malone, who taught Military Wives to sing, could definitely turn talented soldier’s spouses into financial managers and run the new businesses; as house wives they are great in budgeting and I am sure that they would run the chancellor’s office much better than the so called financial experts and who knows, maybe they could take over the City?

Wow, I see already hundreds of ways to branch out but I warned you that I get carried away when I see business opportunities.

A quick look across the channel. In Holland we have no government since 3 months but everything goes smooth. New laws are going through parliament like a flash and in principle nobody misses bickering ministers endlessly arguing over meaningless topics.

Everybody is happy because the interest part in mortgages is still tax deductible (yes you read right, our mortgages are funded by the tax office) if you pay off the loan within 15 years. Our national football team made a fool of themselves; they had to exit Euro 2012 very quickly as the millionaires had taken part in one of the most hideous TV commercials in history for the worst supermarket (It makes Lidl and Aldi look like super deli’s) in Holland.

The football stars became the laughing stock of the country and had to rush home to buy the embarrassing video clip back and take it off the TV.

I am sure you will still find it somewhere on YouTube.

A few more words about the Olympics: an English friend told me the other day that if the billions lost in the London Olympics would have been invested in infrastructure like affordable housing, roads, rail and hospitals,

England would have been in a much better state now. I even I would be in favour handing the Olympics back to the Greek for good; that could save us a lot of bail out money. But then I see 100.000 happy partying Brits lining the Olympic torch relay routes and that makes me smile and I go and watch another episode of “Mrs. Brown Boys”.

In the meantime I am trying to encourage the East-Sussex business world to look for business opportunities across the channel. Kent County is already well on the way with Trans Channel trade projects up and running and I am annoyed that the East-Sussex trade and industry does not seem to see this as a way to increase their business.

My idea would be to start off with setting up an Anglo-Continental Business Society and bring companies from both side of the Channel together; I have very good experiences with similar organisations in the Benelux and Germany.

So if there are brave entrepreneurs out there that like the idea let me know. I read that the local MP is very motivated to endorse apprenterships which is a fundamental part of the German and Dutch work environment.

Maybe he would like to integrate the idea of “A Day in the Director’s Chair”. Local businessmen invite young (15/16) pupils or students to share a day or 2 with them to learn how you run a business.

Again something I have been involved with and I am sure we find somewhere a Brussels subvention pot with money.

Holidays. Here a nice route to my favourite country ITALY. I suggest to go by car so you avoid hectic airports and rude flight attendants that start cleaning the plane 1 minute after they sold you 2-weeks old sandwiches so they can turn around the heavily delayed flight within 3 minutes after landing. You will relax very quickly if you take the right routes through France and find the best places for a calming stop-over.

Here my advice : after the Channel tunnel take the route far north of Paris (http://about-france.com/routes-from-calais.htm), have a few glasses of bubbly in Reims, pick up some mustard in Dijon and stay the night in Hotel de France in Bourg-en-Bresse; about 100 KM from the Swiss border and the St. Gothard tunnel. Don’t look at the room, in France you do not stay in a hotel for glamorous luxury dwellings but for yummy food. Bourg is in the Bresse region, famous for its chickens with dirty feet. (they are black). The signature dish in the hotels brasserie overlooking the town square is …… yes, chicken.

I’m the blunt Dutchman trying to tell how the continentals see England and how we get on with life in these troublesome days.

If you missed the introduction last time, you can meet me on www.doylebizzlink.com