JD Wetherspoon boss Tim Martin is ranting about Brexit again

Most people will simply shrug, and it's true that it would usually be best to ignore him, were it not for the fact that there are people who think like him either in, or close to, power

James Moore
Chief Business Commentator
Wednesday 03 May 2017 14:55
Comments
CBI head Carolyn Fairbairn has got Wetherspoon boss Tim Martin's blood in a bubble
CBI head Carolyn Fairbairn has got Wetherspoon boss Tim Martin's blood in a bubble

As usual, the creator of the unbelievably crass Brexit beermat campaign has taken the opportunity of a JD Wetherspoon trading update to indulge in an ill disciplined rant.

It is aimed at those who think sailing the UK off into Atlantic until it hits Iceland isn’t the cleverest policy idea in the wake of the Brexit vote.

It’s actually kind of funny when he accuses Jean Claude Juncker, the President of the European Commission, of posturing. In so doing, he's lobbing boulders from his glass (public) house.

However, his greatest ire is saved for CBI director general Carolyn Fairbairn, and it’s then that he descends to the level of that beermat stunt.

Ms Fairbairn recently (sensibly) said that that the UK leaving the EU negotiating table without a deal shouldn’t be plan B but plan Z. By the way, she was representing the views of the majority in British business.

Not Mr Martin, of course. “It is doubtful if Ms Fairbairn has ever been involved in serious business negotiations herself, since this is the same as a housebuyer saying to a seller, 'I must have your house at any cost’,” he snarled. “In this case the buyer will not pay the market price, but will pay the maximum that the seller believes he can afford.”

Ms Fairbairn, of course, has been involved in serious business negotiations, regularly, during a glittering career. The former McKinseyite, went on to become director of strategy at ITV, and also launched the hugely successful Freeview service. She can point to a lot more in terms of her acheivements than just a Brexit beermat. There aren’t many people in Briton who boast a more distinguished CV.

Mr Martin’s prescription for Britain’s future, involving walking away from the EU in favour of trading on WTO terms, would impose huge extra tariffs on companies that (unlike his) rely on exports, which the UK badly needs to encourage given its yawning trade gap.

He suggests that the UK should “possibly” offer tariff free access to its markets to all comers, without any reciprocal arrangements. It would make imports cheap, and might benefit his business. But it would cripple the economy in the process.

To follow his lead by using an analogy, it would be like him offering free access to his pubs to any brewer without first agreeing to terms. What, you want a bulk purchase discount? Sorry, bud, you said free access to your pubs so you can whistle. Of course, it'd be a million years before Mr Martin adopted such a strategy, and yet he seems to be advocating it for the country in which he lives.

Mercifully, Mr Martin has very little power outside of the pub trade. While he’s proved he knows a thing or two about running hostelries, for the most part his tirades elicit only shrugs. Oh dear, is he at it again? Tell you what, there’s a Fuller’s five minutes away, and the beer’s better there.

The scary thing about living in modern Britain, however, is that there are people who either do have real power, or are close to it, who think like him, are equally stupid, and care nothing for the price their madness will impose upon every man, woman and child in this nation.

Mr Martin is a wealthy individual, so he can afford to pay it. The rest of us aren’t so lucky, doubly so our children, whose opportunities these people are suffocating.

Register for free to continue reading

Registration is a free and easy way to support our truly independent journalism

By registering, you will also enjoy limited access to Premium articles, exclusive newsletters, commenting, and virtual events with our leading journalists

Please enter a valid email
Please enter a valid email
Must be at least 6 characters, include an upper and lower case character and a number
Must be at least 6 characters, include an upper and lower case character and a number
Must be at least 6 characters, include an upper and lower case character and a number
Please enter your first name
Special characters aren’t allowed
Please enter a name between 1 and 40 characters
Please enter your last name
Special characters aren’t allowed
Please enter a name between 1 and 40 characters
You must be over 18 years old to register
You must be over 18 years old to register
Opt-out-policy
You can opt-out at any time by signing in to your account to manage your preferences. Each email has a link to unsubscribe.

By clicking ‘Create my account’ you confirm that your data has been entered correctly and you have read and agree to our Terms of use, Cookie policy and Privacy notice.

This site is protected by reCAPTCHA and the Google Privacy policy and Terms of service apply.

Already have an account? sign in

By clicking ‘Register’ you confirm that your data has been entered correctly and you have read and agree to our Terms of use, Cookie policy and Privacy notice.

This site is protected by reCAPTCHA and the Google Privacy policy and Terms of service apply.

Register for free to continue reading

Registration is a free and easy way to support our truly independent journalism

By registering, you will also enjoy limited access to Premium articles, exclusive newsletters, commenting, and virtual events with our leading journalists

Already have an account? sign in

By clicking ‘Register’ you confirm that your data has been entered correctly and you have read and agree to our Terms of use, Cookie policy and Privacy notice.

This site is protected by reCAPTCHA and the Google Privacy policy and Terms of service apply.

Join our new commenting forum

Join thought-provoking conversations, follow other Independent readers and see their replies

Comments

Thank you for registering

Please refresh the page or navigate to another page on the site to be automatically logged inPlease refresh your browser to be logged in