Monday, 5 October 2015


What interests me is how we feel; where our true north is. Where we live, live in our head as opposed to where we physically sleep or where we work are different things. I know people who think nothing of commuting a thousand miles a week, or who camp near their place of work before driving home.

After the wall came down in East Germany someone hailed a cab to go home. He said to the Taxi Diver:-
Can you take me to …
No need to ask,” replied the Cabbie “I know where you live.

Apparently most of the Stasi became taxi drivers when their security role ended. But where they lived had changed in their heads.

I was talking about football to my grandson when he said there was a boy at his school who was exceptionally gifted at it.  In talking about this success he said that this boy came from a different country.

Oh where does he come from?” I asked. To which he replied without missing a beat.

Yes, Manchester a different country,  all on its own, full of great footballers - nothing to do with the rest of us.

It was Christopher Marlowe in the Jew of Malta who said “The past is another country”.  And you realise the truth of this in listening to UKIP. This other country is one of nostalgia, when summers were always sunny, when steam engines drove our trains, when cricketers wore white flannel, when business lunches were fuelled with claret and cigar smoke.

I simply don’t do nostalgia. I think the future is a different country and, if we choose to make it so, a better one.

I am currently doing work across Europe. Sweden, Poland Germany, Greece, Italy, France, Britain, Ireland are all terrific, bright, different but united (in the English language and in in an attitude to doing business). These people are not defined by where they come from but by where they live in their heads.

Unashamedly I’m pro EU albeit anti-Euro bureaucracy. My philosophy of life is the same as one-time US President Lyndon Johnson’s (cynical as it may sound). He was talking about an obstreperous colleague who was thinking of resigning:

It's probably better to have him inside the tent pissing out, than outside the tent pissing in.

That’s how I feel about Europe - the biggest economy and most civilised in the world. The more I work in Europe the more I think of it as one country.

The most changed country is America whose view of the world swung eight years ago. They gave up on old Europe and swung their attention west to the Asian powerhouse. I don’t blame America - that’s probably right for them.

But it leaves an opportunity for us. We can and should be the key portal for the rest of the world into Europe…it’s something we do really well - because it’s where most of us working really live and do business intellectually.

Colourful Thinkers

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