Cinderella, pancetta, and the great Brexit debate
Stood in a long queue at the ‘orders to collect’ counter in M&S to pick up a chocolately gift to take to the inlaws for the weekend, my daughter asked me if this was something we really ought to be buying. When I asked why, she replied, in a much louder voice than was really necessary given the low levels of background noise: “Because grandad’s an alcoholic.” Lot’s of people, both in the queue and in the locale of the queue, turned to look at us. In a voice appropriately loud, I felt, to ward off the judgemental stares from the onlookers, I replied: “No, grandad’s a diabetic, but that’s okay because the chocolate is for grandma.”
In a similar vein, did you know that the story of Cinderella could have been a very different tale had there not been a mistranslation? In the original text, it would seem she does not wear glass slippers, but rather fur slippers. Meanings and metaphors were altered subtly as the story was taken from its original Greek to French in the 1600s and then into German in the 19th Century as the Grimm Brothers refined the story further into the version we know today.
Personal experience has taught me that there are many things in life you don’t want to get muddled. From a culinary perspective, for example, confusing pancetta with pannacotta can result in some very odd meal combinations. At parties, always double check the invite to ensure you have not confused ‘fancy dress’ with ‘dress: fancy’ unless you really want to stand out. But perhaps most pertinently given the triggering of Article 50, I’ve wondered whether the country being worse off necessarily means that things will feel worse.
If that doesn’t seem to make sense, consider a conversation I had recently with a self-employed colleague. He freely admitted that he could be earning significantly more doing the same job for a big company. But while he makes less working for himself, he also has greater freedom, greater independence and less frustration, and asserts that overall he is happier.
Compare that with the Brexit debate. As you’ll see on pages 8-9 in this issue, experts reckon that, depending on what sort of Brexit trade deal we end up with, the average household will be between £800 and £1700 worse off per year. And while individuals voted, it is businesses that are likely to be impacted more strongly. But again, does worse off necessarily mean worse? Will greater freedom bring an increased feel-good factor that will ease us through the difficult times? Will there be reduced frustration and indeed less anger because people no longer feel the rules of Brussels are being forced upon them? The Brexit result last June was never about the hard economics; it was about the feeling of a loss of control. And again, even that feeling of having or losing control may never have been a reality, but feelings can never be addressed in black and white terms. Whether hard or soft, Brexit is going to bring a whole set of new problems. But, perversely, perhaps we’ll all still be happier.
Mark Simms Editor
Industrial Technology - NEWS