We seem to be beset by a welter of anniversaries at the moment, in which real history was, or is about to be, made.
- There’s Magna Carta, which got headlines on the 1st of January, and was signed this week, albeit 800 years ago. The first bill of rights in the world (I know I’m missing Clarkson’s gravelly dulcet tones too);
- Then there’s Waterloo, in which the expansionism of Napoleon’s empire was finally stopped by the continental powers including Britain, the first constitutional monarchy;
- And can I add another anniversary? The first month of tedious shuttle diplomacy regarding our relationship with the EU.
There’s an implication that we shouldn’t be asking for real historic change in the EU, that it’s best left alone, that change is too tricky and won’t be achieved. Better to get what we can, a few tweaks on immigration, and be known for upholding the value of fair play for which we, amongst others, are well-known.
I don’t think that fair play runs counter to leading change, in fact quite the opposite. I hope that the Government will achieve both, as happened in those world changing events, in which Kings John and Charles were rigorously, extremely rigorously, schooled in fair play and their compliance, or lack of it, enabled it to thrive.
And so it is on a rather less momentous level. Whilst discussing marketing opportunities with Sopher & Co last week I was pleased to be told that FD Solutions is the leader in its market but our conversation still ensured that both parties were treated fairly when planning to refer work: we won’t adopt any exclusivity, nor make promises that we can’t keep; we’ll use our best endeavours, exchange notes and information and adjust what is needed as the circumstances dictate. In that way, we will effect change by helping each other’s clients by providing our services when appropriate.
That’s the way to grow any business or organisation, even one as large as the EU. It’s when leaders say that there is no discussion that conflicts develop. And whilst the past may not be a guide to the future I can’t help noticing that although we don’t often pick fights we nearly always come first.