Ed Vaizey Is Right -- Ad Industry Needs To Be A Loud Voice In Our Brexit Fiasco

Ed Vaizey's comments on leaving his role as the minister responsible for Culture, Communications and Creative Industries make for interesting viewing. In a way the departing minister -- who happens to also be my MP -- portrays the advertising industry as the kids who are doing well and thus don't get parental attention. Unlike the more troublesome sibling, it never has its hands out for cash or favours, but rather just gets on quietly with being very successful.

Although he does suggest that lobbying from the industry curtailed the full impact on advertising of what obesity campaigners have been calling for, he points out that it's very easy for a minister in the position he formerly occupied to have their attention drawn to other industries that are lobbying harder. Being the smart kid who doesn't act up and sits there quietly getting good grades is not the way to get the teacher's attention.

it's an important point because the advertising and marketing industries are a surplus-generating powerhouse that need to have a louder voice as Britain prepares to negotiate new trading agreements with Europe and then the rest of the world. It's also important because the one thing the ad industry needs more than anything else is the one thing that seems highly tricky to negotiate -- access to the single market. Ideally, things would go on as they are now for advertising. It would have unfettered access to the EU clients and talent and keep on generating a very healthy surplus for the country.

The tricky part is that the UK population -- most definitely not in my name nor that of the ad industry -- has voted to curtail free movement of labour because of the strain it places on British institutions and jobs it takes away from Brits. Just to add a touch of common sense for a moment, who do Leave camp voters believe are the talented staff behind our NHS, for example -- and how many of them want to take the place of many hard-working East Europeans who currently ensure that bins are emptied and fruit and vegetables are moved from the field to the plate?

Just to be clear, i know that many are very clever guys who, among other things, run London digital marketing shops, but i don't think it was these guys that the blue-collar Leave voters were thinking of when they decided too many jobs were being taken away from Brits, although the pay hardly makes it worth getting out of bed or pausing the XBox for.

So the country's decision is a vote against free movement of labour, and so that means there can be no single market access. This is a conundrum where industries that speak for sanity and can point to years of healthy surpluses need to have the ear of the new Government to press the point that the Leave vote was based on a lie. Not only were there lies about how much the UK pays the EU and what that money could be used for, voters were allowed to run away with the crazy notion we could leave yet still have some kind of magical access that lets us keep the good bits -- the trade -- and ditch what some see as the bad bit -- jobs going to foreigners, who 48% of the population would agree are hard-working people migrating to the UK to graft and pay taxes.

Just what the answer is, i really don't know. It could come down to how much the UK is prepared to pay for being a part of a single market but outside of the EU and what curtailments to the free movement the EU is willing to put up with. I hold out little hope for the former and virtually none for the latter. Hopefully the ad industry has a steer, and departing minster Ed Vaizey is right to say that if it doesn't get the ear of the incoming minister, it won't be heard. 

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