Youthful energy – Tax – NHS – War on Terror

Youthful energy

Last week we celebrated my daughters 21st birthday. The party was packed with her young friends who danced until 7am and then started a second party around the swimming pool lasting the whole day. The last guest left on Sunday at lunchtime and the party had started Friday night!

The sheer energy of youth just amazed me, and I spent most of the week thinking about how I would try and engage young people if I was Prime Minister. I am writing this blog for my own children’s sake to try and simplify politics as they approach voting age.

There is no doubt in my mind that the Conservative Party has deservedly lost the vast majority of young British voters and that if nothing is done, will eventually lose an election based on the demographic fact that with every passing year more young people come of voting age while the current base of Conservative supporters grows ever older.

Grandmother and granddaughter may view politics very differently

So here is how I see the landscape on tax and health – the two monster issues in any political campaign.

Tax

Tax is simply about maximising the total take of revenue so we can help the largest number of people in a variety of different ways. Although taxing the rich aggressively is a very popular policy due to the enormous inequality in the world, in all probability it penalises the poor because it reduces the total pot meaning there is less money to distribute among society’s most needy. Mrs Thatcher once said the Labour Party would rather the poor be poorer than the rich richer, and that is really the crux of the argument when you come to vote – you either believe taxing the rich hurts or helps society’s most disadvantaged.

Without winning this argument in the eyes of our youth no one deserves to be elected. My personal beliefs are inconsequential, but think of tax like this and it may help you decide what to believe.

Psychology

The top tax rate sits around 40% – 45% for very good reason. Most high income earners are happy to donate a substantial proportion of their income, but one reaches a point beyond that where a law of diminishing returns sets in. Above 50% people are being asked to work until July of each year before taking any money home for themselves. When people lose the correlation between reward and how hard they work they also lose motivation. Historically, above a 50% tax threshold the well off tend to leave, people become demotivated and the total take for society’s most disadvantaged once again goes down.

This strikes to the heart of many private versus public sector arguments. Young or old, Conservative or Labour – would you be happy to work until July/August of each year before taking any money home for yourself? It’s an important question to ask before deciding which way to vote.

Fat Gladiator thought of the day – Tax breaks: those who choose to work fully for others should be cherished.

Lets recognise the amazing work done by doctors, nurses, and social workers and give them generous tax breaks to stimulate demand and make more people want to go into those professions knowing that they can make ends meet. In addition, let’s give them status in society so their work is better recognised. In an age of automation where millions of people are about to loose their jobs, let’s understand we need two million people in social care and do everything we can to attract talent to that sector and make it appealing.

NHS

Neither party will be able to fund the NHS to your satisfaction. The only way we can deliver a better service at a lower price is through investment in technology and that has to start now if we are to fix things within the next 10 years.

Preventative maintenance for your body

What we need is billions to be invested in telemedicine, gene sequencing and editing, liquid biopsy, and tests to stop people getting ill in the first place. Sugar should be treated the same as smoking. You can buy as much as you like but we will tax you heavily regardless of your class because it’s bad for everyone.

War on terror

I am not sure there is one. A war implies a beginning a middle and an end. Throughout history persecution, terror, and radicalisation have always been present and just morph into different forms. I am not sure we can ever outright win a “war on terror” like politicians would like us to believe, we can merely do everything we can to minimise the damage on an ongoing basis.

Anyway with a few of the big ones out the way, I have just one question to leave you with – is the Queen trying to tell us something?

 

I hope you all have a lovely weekend,

Fat Gladiator

Market research – Ashamed

Election summary

Here is a statistic from the Fat Gladiator market research department: prior to the UK general election, I asked 100 people whether they thought that a strong opposition was good for Britain. Regardless of their personal political beliefs, 100% believed that a strong opposition was good for the country.

Theresa May opportunistically went to the country with the intention of making a weak opposition weaker and got what she deserved, a strong opposition. Sometimes, beneath surface complexity lies a deep simplicity. I need to start a polling business of my own, I think I will call it You Bruv.

Ashamed

Since I last blogged I have done two things of which I feel ashamed. Firstly, I bet on the Bulgarian entry in the European song contest and lost. This represented a new all-time low on my boredom threshold.

Secondly, having sat through “The Goat” on my last visit to theatre-land, on my most recent visit I took the precautionary measure of taking along my Virgin blindfold and ear plugs to ensure I would not be disturbed by the production.

It’s quite fun sitting a few rows from the front with a blindfold on, as it really tests the actor’s ability to concentrate on their work, you should all try it sometime!

Anyway, off for a week’s vacation in the South of France. If anyone is down there and fancies hooking up let me know,

Have a great weekend,

The Fat Gladiator

Parental Guidance – Post Election Britain

Parental Guidance 

As a parent of four and a trend follower, I frequently get asked about my attitude towards mobile phones, children and how to control the frequency with which they used them.

Obviously, every household will have differing views and rules, but as someone who prides himself on innovation I have come up with a fail-safe mechanism that stops kids from using phones over the Sunday lunch table so I thought I would share it.

The Green Party

As I was driving through Forest Row the other day, I couldn’t help but notice how many Green Party election banners there were in people’s gardens. Now, for those of you that don’t know Forest Row, it’s the sort of place that you might go to buy a reduced sugar granola bar or okra sandwich.

It is representative of a trend that in my professional opinion will only accelerate as the world becomes penetrated by ever increasing automation.

It occurred to me that the Green Party may be the party of the future as a younger more socially conscious generation establish themselves and shed The Green’s historical associations with flaky hippies. Yes, they currently lack leadership and cohesive policies, but a few key defections in the areas of economics, technology, health, social care and they have the potential replicate exactly what UKIP achieved but in a far bigger way. After all, who doesn’t believe in the health and safety of the planet and a sustainable future for ourselves and our children?

Give this party a David Milliband type leader, some credible policies and MP’s post the forthcoming election splits, and I believe they would be capturing a far bigger trend than both the major parties put together.

If Nigel Farage can get 4m people to vote for UKIP on a single and divisive issue like Brexit, then why could the Green Party not mobilise millions on an issue upon which we all agree.

Short blog this week, have  a great weekend,

The Fat Gladiator

Man on a Mission- Manchester and Newcastle Universities – Crystal Maze

Quote of the week

Newcastle University may be the only place I have ever visited where you have to go home and get changed into a tracksuit before going out to a nightclub.”

Fat Gladiator

Man on a mission

Some of you may remember that I took a video crew out on the streets of London to see if we could find any unsuspecting entrepreneurs with ideas worth backing. I didn’t get far before Carl (who is the porter in our London apartment block) told me that he wanted to rent out electric bikes in the Caribbean because it’s a great, environmentally-friendly way for tourists to get around the island without having pedal up the hills in 85 degrees of heat. Well, I gave Carl the money for three e-bikes, which can get 80km on a single charge and up to 15mph; he is currently in Grenada (where they can potentially be charged using solar panels), and the reception he has received on the island has been remarkable.

Continue reading

The Ned – Nick Jones gives us a personal tour – Brexit Resolution Time

The Ned – We are given a personal tour around by Nick Jones, the creator of Soho House and now London’s newest and coolest Hotel.

On Wednesday night, after speaking at a Manchester University Alumni gathering on digital disruption, I went to the opening party of “The Ned”, which is Soho House’s first foray into the financial heart of The City of London.

In a super-weird way, it seemed just perfect to go from giving a speech about disruption straight into the ex-headquarters of the Midland Bank. I wonder if Edwin “Ned” Lutyens could have ever foreseen when he designed the building in 1924 that the safe where customers kept their treasure in deposit boxes would become one of the coolest bars in the world.

I also pondered what the founding directors of Midland Bank might have thought of Tinie Tempah jumping up in the middle of the banking hall and singing:

“Yeah, yeah, We bring the stars out,
We bring the women and the cars and the cards out,
Let’s have a toast, a celebration, get a glass out,
And we can do this until we pass out.”

Yes, this party was pretty much a celebration of how fast the world moves, both socially in terms of the progression of its attitudes, and physically in terms of the re-purposing of this old building to create one of the finest hotels in London.

It is a testament to the imagination of Nick Jones, who is establishing himself as one of Britain’s greatest entrepreneurs. Doing it once maybe considered lucky, doing it consistently and brilliantly every time is hard, yet that is exactly what Nick has done, and I take my hat off to him.

I have to say, out of respect for Nick, I did pretty much exactly what Tinie Tempah instructed and “did this all until I passed out.”

Consequently, I spent much of Thursday on a drip, incapable of moving due to my natural ability to mix free drinks at the party. To see how utterly brilliant The Ned is, take the tour with Nick Jones by clicking on the video below.

Brexit Resolution 
On Tuesday night I was invited to a Brexit resolution evening where Sir Paul Marshall had assembled a cast of characters from industry and Government who had voted in opposite directions over the course of the referendum. Maybe most importantly there were several of the world’s most highly respected trade negotiators.
It has been clear for some time now that most business leaders are pro-trade, pro-Europe and pro-compassionate immigration policy, no matter which way they voted. They only really differ about quantum and the current method of achieving the goal.
I was unable to attend the conference the next day, but the message on the night was the following: That business would not be afforded the luxury of an eternal debate and had to drive the politicians forward (so many of whom have little experience of the real world business dynamics.)
On a personal note, I feel the following.
The Canadian trade deal took nine years which is why many felt the European process was flawed – surely a template must exist that can be used as a base? And surely turning out a free trade inside two years is vital for both sides for reasons OTHER than simply trade. Both The EU and the UK need to show that they can make vital decisions at a non-glacial pace and what better way for both sides to demonstrate that they have learnt hard lessons together and reformed.
The investor perception that the continent of Europe/ UK is dysfunctional, slow and riddled with self-interest, damages investment as badly as anything else.
What a magnificent opportunity for both sides to overcome the obstacles and prove the world wrong.
UK and European negotiators need to keep this great quote from Steve Schwarzman, CEO of Blackstone, when asked the following by my great friend Guillaume Rambourg.
Guillaume: “Steve, what do you currently think of Europe?”
Steven Schwarzman :“it’s a great place to have lunch”
This attitude in a business sense, above all, is what has to change and will require egoless negotiation for either side to have a chance. It should sit on the desk of every member of the UK and European Parliaments who are involved in Brexit negotiations.
Have a great weekend,
The Fat Gladiator
fatgladiator

The Goat – UK elections – Sussex house – Bored of boards – The Ned

 The Goat or Who Is Sylvia?

On Thursday night, I went to see a play called “The Goat, or Who Is Sylvia?” currently staring Damian Lewis. It’s a story about a happily married man with a gay son who, like so many married men, falls in love with and sleeps with a goat. Unsurprisingly, the son is called “Billy” (I kid you not) and the wife seems upset that she has to share her husband’s affections with an animal, so she kills it, after smashing up the apartment.

If any of my readers are having trouble sleeping, this is a must-see play. I was spark out inside the first 15 minutes, only to be woken by Ginny elbowing my ribs and telling me that Damian Lewis was staring at me. I’m not quite sure what makes an actor go from Homeland, to Billions, to bestiality, but personally I found it as interesting as watching coastal erosion – the great news is that it’s short.

THE GOAT by Albee ; Directed by Ian Rickson ; Designed by Rae Smith ; at the Theatre Royal Haymarket, London, UK ; 2 March 2017 ; Credit : Johan Persson

UK elections

I do not wish to dwell too much this week on the news that the UK will be holding yet another election. The only thing I am certain of is that the media will once again be incredibly important and that every candidate will be trying to look their very best.

chewbacca

Sussex House

After 18 happy years, and with all the kids at university or boarding school, Ginny and I have decided to sell the farm, we think someone else deserves to be as happy as we have been here. If you or any of your friends are interested in a 240-acre farm where all the Mr Men books were written, the former home of Sir John Mills, please contact us and we will happily show you around our special piece of the country.

IMG_2340 IMG_2341 IMG_2346 IMG_2345

Bored of boards

Many thanks to those of you who wrote in to urge me to give up anything board related last week. I have heeded your advice and will be taking up hardcore parkour instead.

The Ned

Next week, Nick Jones, founder of Soho House, gives our cameras a personal tour around THE NED, his stunning new venture in the heart of the City.

sohohouse

Have a great weekend,

The Fat Gladiator

fatgladiator

Why the Chinese stock market may collapse – Snowboarding and Hoverboards – Centrepieces

Firstly, would like to apologise to both of my readers for the blog’s absence in recent weeks. I have been on a European road trip learning to snow board, ski powder, and fall off things. The good news is that, despite being battered and bruised, I have some fresh material and recharged narrative batteries.

The prep-school ski trip and the Chinese stock market

We started our trip in Switzerland on the prep-school ski trip where I was fortunate enough to meet an extremely nice parent from our school who is Chinese and her niece who was kind enough to translate our conversations. It was during dinner one night that we learnt that the Chinese word for “buy” is exactly the same as the Chinese word for “sell”.  This begged the question, how on earth does the Chinese stock market work without catastrophic error? In fact how does anything work? Now I may be the last person in the world to find out about this somewhat strange linguistic form, but have a quick listen and see if you can tell difference?

By the way, I also learnt that the Chinese word for “business” is the two words repeated one after the other mai mai. Buy and sell, which is entirely logical.

Snowboarding at 50

After years of telling my children to keep trying new things and not to give up, I felt it was time to live by my own values and set an example by learning to snowboard. I can only describe this decision as a diabolical error of judgement. Snowboarding is a sport with a strong message, and that message is – if you are middle aged, slightly overweight and have no athletic ability, don’t try it.

IMG_1938

knackered

Hoverboards- once out the snow!

On the subject of falling off things, the clip below is me trying to hoverboard; my son Jett made it look so easy that I was compelled to give it a go. It is not photoshopped, it’s just my daughter, who was filming, stopped doing so when I fell, as she was genuinely concerned that I had hurt myself (or so she claims).

Click to go to the video

Click to go to the video

Messages from Ginny

Whilst on my road trip I received several messages from Ginny, I think these two were my favourite:

neverlisten

Dear Nick, I think I have found the new centrepiece for the dining room table on Amazon, I hope you like it as it’s quite expensive, love Ginny.

centrepiece

Mouratoglou Tennis Academy

On my road trip, I also spent several days at Patrick Mouratoglou’s tennis academy in Nice. If you love tennis and take the game quite seriously, it might be the best place in Europe to hone your skills whilst taking a vacation with the family. Andy Murray was impressed enough to train there for several days in preparation for the forthcoming French Open and Patrick (Serena William’s coach)  has left no stone unturned in his quest to build one of Europe’s elite academies. His attention to detail is amazing, but up until this point, the resort remains a French secret with little marketing having taken place in the UK.

If you are a tennis nut or your kids play, the hotel is super comfortable, the weather perfect, the location offers as much or as little socialising as you wish, and everything, including the courts, is brand new!

The footage below is of Andy Murray hitting with Dimitrov whilst being watched by his girlfriend Nicole Scherzinger. Miss Scherzinger told me that she thought my Team GB t-shirt stood for Gary Barlow when she first came to the UK, I kid you not!

IMG_2158

IMG_2159

IMG_2164

 

Anyway, back to work this week after a shower break.

Have a great weekend,

The Fat Gladiator

fatgladiator