Lord Rose of Monewden, the former CEO of Marks & Spencer, has now launched his 'let's stay in Europe' campaign based on a simple piece of dubious mathematics. He claims that every Briton will be 'better off' by £450 a year if the nation remains in the EU.
I say 'dubious' because the chances of such a calculation being anything close to accurate are 3/5ths of 5/8ths of very little. Besides, he has probably based this on the standard economists' get out of jail free card by applying the technique of 'ceteris paribus' (assuming all other things remain the same'). Which of course has even shorter odds.
I despise the fact that every major political - and indeed business decision - always seems to be motivated by money. OK, so I will be £450 'better off' financially - but what about socially? What will the costs to me be regardless if I'm 'better off'?
I am all in favour of controlled immigration to the UK. I know that by inviting qualified, hard working people, who want to integrate and contribute to my society I will be better off. Spiritually, socially and societally. But the idea of millions of uncontrolled immigrants who have no desire to integrate will place costs on society that far exceed any financial measures. This is the real and present danger of remaining in the EU.
The idea that the UK will continue to be controlled by faceless unelected bureaucrats in Brussels deprives me of the sense that we have a vote on how things in the UK should be.
Millions of people want to come and live in Britain because of our values and way of life. If we allow those values and way of life to be eroded and lost - the benefit of the extra £450 a year (that's £1.16 per day) will be severely diminished, if not reversed, by the cost to me of living in a country I don't recognise as being home.
Lets start talking about the real things that make us 'better off'. About what makes the UK so fantastic as a place to live and raise a family. Lets talk about the cost of creating a society that no one is happy about.
Harvard Business School found that 76% of employers agree that employees in their organisation are not highly engaged. That lack of engagement has a real cost. 86% of executives cite Leadership as one of their most important challenges. That lack of leadership has a real cost. 84% of employees believe that culture is critical to business success. I am sure that same percentage of people would say the same about the culture of their country.
In study after study money comes a long way down the list of motivations for people at work. People desire to work in an environment where they feel appreciated, respected, nurtured, encouraged, and developed. They want to work somewhere that is aligned to their personal values and purpose. Escape The City has helped 250,000 move out of the rat race to find work that feeds their soul. Mostly on lower salaries. A Country is no different. People want to live here for many reasons beyond money; such as feeling safe from harm, freedom of speech and movement, equality, diversity, tolerance, culture, opportunity, and so many other non-financial benefits. Who would give all of those up for £450?
If we had all of these and it cost me £450 a year extra to have them I would feel a lot 'better off'.