When I worked in the intelligence community, we were warned that military planners often use briefings like a drunk uses a lamppost – for support rather than illumination. Now, I am often struck by the number of organisations who are still working with political advisers who have been drowning their ideological sorrows since the referendum. Advisers who failed to see Brexit coming and who still seem to think it can be undone or pretended away might offer a shoulder to cry on, but astute political planners don’t need sympathy, they need cold hard insights and accurate predictions.
In the same way that we won business when the Conservatives took office because we understand Tory politics, we also got new work because we understand the Leave campaign – and how the Government can implement the result. The “Nissan deal”, for example, is likely to strengthen the Government’s negotiating hand by showing other EU countries it is willing to go a long way to keep businesses here. The EU now knows the UK won’t fold at the first signs of economic pressure and we are likely to get a better deal as a result.
Investment decisions are often complicated by political issues, but those companies that turn to inebriated advisers still mourning the Remain campaign are only making life harder for themselves. Clients need clear advice – and clearer heads – from their political consultants, because we all make the best choices when we are sober.