Monday, 19 February 2018


Rubbish solutions are in fashion

I’m not sure why this appealed so much to me but recently I was driving through Brighton behind a van emblazoned with a sign “Brighton Rubbish Solutions” and it occurred to me this was great name for a second or even third rate marketing consultancy. Mostly I guess because most advice nowadays is so suspect. Ask any economist – or rather don’t bother. I reflected further on businesses taking bold and sometimes strange decisions.

Like Jaguar. I saw their brand new Jaguar F-Pace recently. "Gosh" I thought “smart Renault!”.  It bore no resemblance to Jaguar refinement. If it were a painting it would be called a forgery. An SUV solution but a bad one.

Or Tesco’s secret plans to launch a new retail concept to fight Aldi (the UK’s favourite supermarket say  consumers) and Lidl. The conversations in Cheshunt where the mighty Tesco is headquartered have historically revolved around the risks to the brand and of confusing consumers in introducing a really cheap Tesco as opposed to a quite cheap Tesco. Trouble is Aldi is remarkable for its quality not just its prices. In a recent survey of 10 great value/quality grocery items in the Sunday Times Aldi had two – their prosecco and their new coffee pods – and Lidl one, their aged beef. Revealingly Tesco had none.


If they aren’t careful Tesco will end up with a rubbish solution. As Coca Cola have done in reversing their one brand strategy and relaunching their sugar free brands in isolation.

And in the world of economics  Bitcoin is either a genius introduction to the future of money or it’s the  next South Sea Bubble. Confusingly  it could be both. Which is a rubbish situation.

In the world of politics some weird things are happening. Politicians used to yearn for “clear blue water”  separating parties. Today an ocean lies between the wrathful disciples of left-wing-Momentum and the pinstriped intolerant Tory right-wing.

Let me introduce you to Jacob Rees-Mogg. America astonished the world by electing a game-show host who’s reckless, rude and crude. In the UK the bookies have two favourites for the next Prime Minister – Jeremy Corbyn (described by an American friend as Bernie Saunders without the brains) and Jacob. Ladbrokes and Coral actually make Jacob the narrow favourite.

Who is he?  48 years old. Educated Eton and Oxford. Co-founder of a Hedge Fund. He and his wife have around £100 million allegedly. He is strongly anti-Europe and advocates abrupt and total separation from the EU. He has six children. Their names are revealing: Peter Theodore Alphege;  Mary Anne Charlotte Emma ;Thomas Wentworth Somerset Dunstan; Anselm Charles Fitzwilliam ; Alfred Wulfric Leyson Pius; Sixtus Dominic Boniface Christopher. The names tell a story.

He has an icy charm. He’s clever, well mannered, calm and very dangerous. But chances are – if you believe the bookmakers – he could be the next Prime Minister. Or possibly another rubbish solution.

We live in strange times.

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