Brexit Election Fever

Go Fund Me to make June the end of May

We live in disruptive times and who would have predicted a snap General Election after Premier May had stated there would not be one? It’s a good time for her to do this as Labour is depleted of followers and funds. The Lib Dems face the same shortage of cash. UKIP are in disarray. So it’s the perfect time for her to call a snap election if things stay the same as they are ….

… Except they might not … Disruption begets disruption and many of the events we have faced since Brexit have been unpredictable – who would have thought we would threaten to go to war with Spain if we do not get our own way in negotiations? Who would have thought that the European Union would undertake a “dirty trick” such as making their position on negotiations completely open and transparent?  Who would have thought that the election would be used as a means to close down discussion on meeting our environmental commitments?  And so on

Today I’m meeting with Open Britain and others from The European Movement to discuss our tour of the UK to change the course of the General Election.  Please support me. This is a vital business and personal issue for all of us and, most importantly, our children. We did not vote for self-destructive Brexit and the game has changed compared with what we were sold.  I know many people are weary of electioneering and politics, but let’s not have “buyers remorse” over Brexit.

Click to Go Fund Me

I’m doing my part to create MayHem with the “Strong and UnStable” Leadership of Theresa May’s Government with the aim of seriously leavening or reducing their majority. I’m doing this so that a more considered debate may be held on our self-harming Brexit for the sake of our children, rather than just to be bloody minded or a saboteur, as I have been accused of being by some. This included being punched in the face by one angry young Brexiteer and threatened by another sad old musician. I myself wanted EU reform and thought that the best way to achieve this was to be at the negotiating table as a full member. You cannot negotiate with a club once you have left it !!

Some ask me, are you not part of an elite, a Guardian Reader or a snowflake Liberal Democrat? Politically, if you cut me in half (as some would like to do ! :-), you would find blue, gold, green and red blood running through my veins. I don’t seek to depose Theresa May because of her Conservatism, more to leaven her desire to force through a self-harming Brexit in the wake of a complete lack of an effective opposition.

We plan to deliver a series of grassroots events that will inspire, consult and engage all people with the intention to change voter behaviour. The core of this will be a “People’s Question Time” backed up with some superb non-partisan facilitation and support for tired remainers and floating leavers. Please take a look at our fundraiser and support / share the project if you feel able.

Click the image to make June the end of May ….

HOW YOU CAN HELP:

  • Network the concept with key opinion formers to help with funding, infrastructure and so on.
  • Ask corporate decision makers for financial backing – We accept contributions from £10K upwards.
  • Contribute directly to the Go Fund Me initiative.  We have had donations from £20 to £100.

A C Grayling – One of our supporters

We are also looking for direct sponsorship from businesses, political figures and individuals – please see our Slideshare deck on the topic:

We plan to collaborate with Liz Webster who runs Flock Brexit, a group seeking securely define EU citizenship for all Europeans (including British) to ensure our rights and freedoms are not stripped or curtailed by any nation state withdrawing from EU. In doing so to halt the progress of Brexit. All people from 28 member states are equal in EU law and united as EU citizens, which affords huge privileges. Brexit (or any other exit) potentially damages all EU citizens. Flock Brexit’s objective is to ensure EU citizenship becomes teflon coated to ensure we are EU citizenship can’t be removed or altered.

Come join us and let’s BREAK BREXIT BEFORE BREXIT BREAKS BRITAIN.  To finish, here’s a video of our musical antics opposite No 10 Downing Street, where we have had celebrities, MP’s, the BBC and Breitbart in attendance or reporting on our acts as “saboteurs” 🙂 If you want to join us please connect with the No 10 Vigil on Facebook. We have a lot of fun and our message is getting through to the parts that matter, including Jean-Claude Juncker and Michel Barnier last week.

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Peter Cook leads The Academy of Rock and Human Dynamics, offering outstanding keynotes, masterclasses and longer term Business / OD, Coaching and Mentoring. He is author of 7 and a half books on business leadership. Check them out at Amazon.

Rocking the EU Vote: Could Brexit screw British rock bands?

A Guest Post from Darren Johnson

Rock Fanatic and former Chair of the London Assembly for the Green Party

Darren Johnson and another Johnson ... not related

Darren Johnson, Rock Fanatic with Queen and another Johnson … not related

Younger voters have been overwhelmingly pro-EU. And in spite of concerns that younger people are less likely to vote, less likely to be registered or be at Glastonbury for the referendum and failed to apply for a postal vote, it seems that younger music fans are pretty much like the rest of their generation when it comes to recognising the benefits of Britain’s membership of the EU. But what of older rock fans? I’ve both heard some pretty alarming sentiments expressed amongst fellow music fans of our generation. In some ways that’s not surprising. Opinion polls are showing that while there is a massive lead for remaining in the EU amongst the 18-39 age group, when it gets to the over 50’s and particularly the over 60’s the tables are turned and there’s a significant lead for leaving the EU.

Bob Geldof presented four reasons to remain in the EU

Bob Geldof presented four reasons to remain in the EU, pointing out that he feels everyone should consult their kids on their views, as it is they that will inherit the consequences of the vote … Peter Cook agrees that Nigel Farage is no Fisherman’s Friend, having only attended 1 out of 43 meetings at the EU where he could have put their case.

However, could it be that older rock fans are unwittingly sabotaging one of the things in life they love most. The Musicians Union has sounded alarm bells that a so-called Brexit vote could have serious consequences for musicians, particularly in the area of touring and copyright. A recent official statement argues:

“The effect that Brexit would have on musicians in Britain is not entirely clear and would depend on the terms negotiated. We could, however, expect touring to become more difficult and potentially see British musicians having to apply for visas in order to travel within Europe. Given the cost and difficulty many musicians face in obtaining visas for work in countries such as the U.S, this would be very unwelcome. It is also likely that European legislation which has protected musicians in the areas of copyright, health and safety and workers’ rights would be watered down or removed entirely if Britain were to leave the EU.”

Bernie Torme, former Gillan guitarist, still gigging and still releasing albums, spells out the likely extra hassles and expense should we leave. These are not millionaire rock stars. Artists like Bernie have a niche, but dedicated fan-base and every penny matters if the economics of touring and releasing albums are to add up. As Bernie says:

“Leaving is a no-win situation for musicians in my opinion: as the MU points out it will increase the cost and difficulty of European touring, through potential visas and also the probable reintroduction of customs carnets and bonds coupled with the time involved in organising all that. That will make it well nigh impossible to tour and sell merch in Europe unless you are a very big band and have an organisation behind you to back you up. For an independent artist like me who self releases CDs and vinyl it will also be significantly more difficult and expensive: the best quality, cheapest, and quickest pressing plants are all in mainland Europe, so with Brexit there will be customs duty on getting the records in to the UK and also again on selling them back out to Europe. Many other reasons too, from buying equipment at a cheaper price than you can in the UK, to copyright protection and royalty collection (royalty collection from the US is a nightmare), to the problems some bands would have because they have members in various countries. Its not good.”

Mr Torme

Mr Torme …

Indeed, Mark Davyd, Chief Executive of the Music Venue Trust, who are fighting a strong and effective battle to protect Britain’s grassroots music venues, argues that the so-called “heritage” rock acts could be particularly hard hit.

“The impact will be felt hardest by those musicians who need Europe the most; those trying to establish a career, build audiences, or UK musicians who have built a sustainable touring career – heritage bands who aren’t massive but need to tour Europe to make ends meet. In terms of what will happen,; nobody really knows, but the question of immigration and rights to work are not a one way street; if you want to limit the number of EU workers able to work in the UK, that means you accept a limit on the number of UK workers able to work in the EU. The most likely outcome of a Brexit which includes limiting immigration, which seems to be the main driver of the Brexit campaign, will be to limit temporary workers, and that means UK musicians, their technicians and crew. A US Visa takes six months to arrange and costs, including management of taxation, circa $5,000 for the most organised. Even imagining a single EU entry visa, with no further border controls or conditions as UK musicians pass from one EU nation to another, that sum of money and the organisation time is beyond 90% of the UK musicians currently supplementing their income with EU performances.

And that’s just the musicians. UK Music’s report “Wish You Were Here 2016” demonstrates the value of music tourism to the UK, at festivals and in every venue in the UK – even at a grassroots music level, over 135,000 overseas tourists made a visit. We don’t know how many of them will be dissuaded by new border permissions, nor what the impact of a falling pound will be on their ability to travel – currently our EU visitors enjoy reciprocal benefits such as access to health care which makes the UK an ideal holiday destination. Will that continue? Nobody knows.”

From a fan’s perspective Mark Tully, an avid supporter of classic rock bands, backs up the point that leaving the EU could mean lots of extra hassle and expense for the bands and musicians he loves seeing:

“A friend of mine is Brian Cummins who does a Peter Gabriel tribute. Last year he got a telephone call asking if he would do a performance at Rockpalast in Germany. He drove all the way from the Wirral to Germany. He only had to present his passport when he left the UK and when he arrived back. If we leave the European Union it is very likely that this will not be the case.”

There are many, many reasons for Britain to stay in the EU, economically, socially, environmentally and, of course, this referendum is about far, far more than the impact on the British music scene. But amidst all the hollow rhetoric about “getting our country back” and outright lies about straight bananas, it would be a great shame if rock fans do vote to leave the EU on Thursday placing additional burdens and expense on some of the bands they love which may call into question their ability to carry on touring and carry on making music.

Peter points out that artists from Roger Daltrey to Bob Geldof, Billy Bragg and Paloma Faith recently stated their support for the remain campaign. So far it seems that Mick Hucknell of Simply Red is one of few noted stars that has come out against staying in Europe. Peter has analysed this and points out that this decision was foretold in their hit “Something got me started”:

Screen Shot 2016-06-17 at 22.02.50

Even David Cameron and Tessa Jowell tried to get in on the act … and Peter does not even think they play the guitar or are members of the Musicians Union …

Screen Shot 2016-06-17 at 22.07.00

Finally, Peter also points out that Boris Johnson (not related to Darren) is also not qualified to talk about music and musicians:

Note the position of the Capodastra ....

Note the position of the Capodastra ….

 Related Post : Should I Stay Or Should I Go?

Rock of Ages

An extremely unusual event came up recently.  I was invited to attend “Rock of Ages” at the Shaftesbury Theatre in London by Angel Trains and Oracle Consulting.  It is quite exceptional for clients to invite consultants to socialise with them outside the more usual formal relationships that exist between such parties, so I was shocked and surprised by the invite, which spoke volumes about the two companies concerned.  To get us into the groove, let’s hear one of the show’s hits by Whitesnake:

Rock of Ages is a classic rock’n’roll story of love, truth, authenticity and the joy of relationships.  The theatre production breaks some of the conventions of theatre, as the actors directly address the audience from time to time.  Set in the 1980’s with a roster of glam metal songs from that period, ranging from Styx, Twisted Sister, Pat Benetar, Bon Jovi, Whitesnake to Europe.

The core of the story concerns the reconstruction of the Hollywood strip with a massive shopping development, devised by a soul-less German business entrepreneur and his son.  The rockers rebel against the plan, trying to keep the strip’s rock’n’roll heart. In this case rock’n’roll wins over the entrepreneur’s dream.  The property developer is converted to rock’n’roll and all live happily ever after.

It is often said that there is no such thing as a free lunch and this evening was no exception.  I nearly had to sing for my supper as it turned out that Angel and Oracle decided to go to a live jam session in Covent Garden afterwards at The Roadhouse.  We arrived too late to get on the list of singers.  Well, there’s always another time! 🙂

We will rock you

So, what did we learn from Rock of Ages?

  • That authenticity often wins over a carefully crafted but emotionally bankrupt plan.
  • That music touches every part of us, even if we are bankers, computer specialists, scientists or train enthusiasts.
  • That, sometimes in life, the good guys win.

More lessons like this coming up at our Open University Business School event.

Finally, the musicians were absolutely superb and the evening reminded me to get some of Journey’s music out: