An update from my dad about Brexit, including details about Boris Johnson’s deal, the shutting down of Parliament, the upcoming general election and more. Includes some chat about Premiership football at the end.
Last time we spoke it was early August. Boris Johnson had recently become the PM and was going to negotiate a new Brexit deal after Theresa May had failed to get Parliament to accept the deal she spent over 2 years to get. Brexit, at the time was due to happen on 31st October.
I just have one question, which is “What’s been going on?”
I’m getting a sense of deja vu
it’s afudge / it was fudged
“I’d rather be dead in a ditch than ask for another extension” – Boris Johnson
Whips / The party whip
To put/throw a spanner in the works
To upset the apple cart
To stand your candidate down
None of this is spelled out but that’s what it means
You can jump to your own conclusions
Boris Johnson has refused point-blank
He’s saying Parliamentary Democracy is now defunct
The proroguing of parliament was null and void
Is that a political coup?
It would have been the biggest constitutional crisis since they cut Charles I’s head off
They didn’t get away with it
So there you have it. That was the Rick Thompson Report, recorded on Wednesday 13 November 2019.
The comment section is open if you’d like to share your thoughts there.
New episodes of LEP Premium are coming. To sign up go to www.teacherluke.co.uk/premium
Also download my app to get the entire archive plus loads of bonus extras like the phrasal verb series, various videos and also bonus app only episodes. You can also access the premium subscription through the app.
Thanks for listening and I’ll speak to you again on the podcast soon!
Welcome back to LEP. This is part 2 of this mini series I’m going to do about BBC Dragons’ Den, the TV show about entrepreneurs trying to raise finance for their business startups by going to meet the Dragons – a group of 5 business angels looking to make money by investing in interesting new business propositions.
In part 1 of this I did a long business ramble all about the different factors and considerations involved in an entrepreneur attempting to do an investment deal with a private equity investor. That covered loads of vocabulary relating to loads of different areas of business and laid the ground work for this episode in which we are going to use a real pitch from an episode of Dragons’ Den as a case study from which we can learn loads of English.
Also, the story of this particular investment is particularly interesting and the negotiation takes an unexpected turn which creates more emotional drama than you might expect from a business meeting.
So, at the end of part 1 we listened to Kirsty Henshaw’s original pitch. Let’s listen to that again and break it down for language. After that we’ll listen to the rest of the meeting in bits. We’ll listen and then listen again and break it all down.
This should be a really good one! I hope you’re listening carefully. We might be able to get all of this done in this episode, we will see. There are other Dragons’ Den pitches that I’d like to do too so I might add another episode with some other pitches as well. So perhaps this will be a 3 or 4 part series.
Right, so let’s listen to Kirsty Henshaw again and remember my questions from before.
How much investment does she need? £65,000
What equity stake is she offering in return? 15%
What exactly is the product? A healthy alternative to ice-cream – a frozen dessert (free from dairy, sugar, soya, nuts – everything! But what’s actually in it?)
Why does she need the investment? To buy stock, raise brand awareness with marketing and PR
Would you like to invest?
What questions would you like to ask next?
Kirsty’s pitch begins at 44:00
It tastes more like frozen yoghurt. Is that fair? – She wanted a healthy option, similar to ice cream but there’s no dairy that’s why it’s a frozen desert.
How much has it cost so far?
How many have you sold?
– 2,500 units
– Went to a big meeting with a large supermarket – it’s completely unique, some of the staff had heard about it before
Do you have any forecasts in the first year? – 300,000 units – starting to get into bigger places now
How healthy is it? How much fat is in it? – Less than 3% fat in all of them, no sugar in any, carbohydrates are from fruit extracts, a good form of sugar
What are the ingredients? Brown rice milk (because soya isn’t great for children and rice milk is a good digestive enzyme), the fat is organic virgin coconut oil, sweetened with extract of apple, carob and grape.
How far are you down the track with the supermarket? – Min 400 stores from Sept when they do their refresh
Are they committed? – At least 350-400 stores to trial it
Which supermarket is it? – Tesco
They must have asked you whether you could produce in the right volume?
What did you say? – I said yes because I’ve spoken to the manager of the biggest ice cream manufacturers and they can make it no problem, if we get the order (volume – numbers)
Do you have any idea what Tesco’s potentially could order? – At least four flavours for each store to start with
How many in a case?
If they sold one case per week per store, that’s 400 cases. How much do you make per unit? – Just over one pound
So 4,000 per week is what you’d make. That’s 200,000 a year. – Not including my current suppliers
What did you forecast your profit in year one? – £300,000
So that forecast is not a million miles out. There’s some substance around it.
What’s your background? Uni (sports science), but had to leave because mind was on the business
Who is Worhingshaw’s? – Mix of boyfriend and her name – to make it sound like it had been around for a while
Have you really done all this on your own? – Yes
How do you invest the money in this? – 2 jobs and a bit of a night job, and my little boy
You’re pretty amazing aren’t you? – No, not really. [She starts crying] This has been really tough for you hasn’t it? – I just do it all for my little boy. I just want him to have a good life.
I’ve got to be honest with you. I’m finding it really really difficult to actually take on board what you’ve achieved. It’s phenomenal. I’m totally blown away by it. I’m going to make you an offer. You’ve come in here asking for 60,000 for 15% but I want 40%. And I’ll explain to you why. Because I’m not going to give you 60,000, I’m giving you 100,000 because that’s what I believe you need to make this business successful.
Let me tell you where I am. I think you’ve done a great job against all odds, but here’s my blunt and honest truth to you. I’m not going to beat Theo’s offer so I’m not going to waste my time making you one. Thank you very much but I’m out.
Where do you want to take it? You’d love to see this product in every shop. Reggae Reggae Sauce was a big success because of Levi Roots’ whole story. You could be the frozen desert version of Levi Roots.
For that reason I’d like to make you an offer for the full amount but I only want 25% of the company.
Let me wish you every success but you’re not going to need my offer so I’m out (there are already deals on the table).
I’ll match Peter’s offer (£60,000 for 25%)
Kirsty I don’t want to give 40% away but thank you for your offer Theo. I’m really confused now because I know you’re both brilliant. You’re both ideal to help me, so I don’t really know what to do now.
If we raised it to 30% so we got 15% each, I’m more than happy to work with Duncan if that’s something he would accept (yes).
Kirsty I’d really like to work with both of you. It would be ideal so thank you very much I’d really like to accept your offers.
What do you think? Would you like some more Dragons’ Den on the podcast?
Hello and welcome to LEP#619. How are you today? All good I hope.
In this episode of LEP we’re going to look at a popular BBC TV show which is now in its 17th series on BBC2. We’re going to listen to some clips, I’ll help you understand it all like a native speaker and we’ll be mining the whole thing for vocabulary too. I’ve done episodes like this before about British TV including Top Gear and Gordon Ramsay’s Kitchen Nightmares. Both of those are available in the episode archive. Now it’s the turn of one of my favourites – Dragons Den.
You might be thinking, “Dragons’ Den. What is that? Is it some kind of Game of Thrones thing, a fantasy thing with dragons and stuff?”
No, not at all. In fact this series is all about business startups, entrepreneurs, investors, negotiations and pitching new business ideas.
It’s based on a Japanese TV format. So, Japanese LEPsters might be familiar with DD already. Also it might exist in other countries too. It’s been on the BBC since 2005. I really enjoy watching it and also using clips in class, which I have been doing for years now and is one of my favourite things to do in English lessons. I could spend a whole week on Dragons Den, with all the vocab, the listening, and then doing role plays of business presentations, negotiations and discussions. This is the first time I’ve dipped my toe into Dragons’ Den on the podcast.
There will be tons of business vocabulary in this episode as well as a chance to test your listening skills as we listen to clips of this show including people presenting their businesses and negotiating an investment.
What I’m going to do is this
Introduce to the topic, with quite a lot of business vocabulary relating to everything involved in starting up a new business and raising finance for it.
Play you some clips from Dragons Den, when one person pitches their business idea and dragons start negotiating, and I’ll break it down for vocabulary.
I’ll explain a bit of the vocab as we go through this episode, and there will be a lot of context to help you but mainly I want to focus on just listening to clips from the show and then helping you understand everything. Really, one of my aims at LEP is to help you appreciate things like TV, films and comedy more easily in English, or at least to be able to use them to help you learn English more effectively.
So we’ll focus on the clips after an introduction from me, and then I can deal with the vocabulary more specifically in a premium series, which I’m also working on.
OK, so let’s get into the details of this TV show Dragons’ Den.
First let me explain the title.
Dragons’ Den – what does it mean?
Dragons’ Den. A den of dragons.
To walk into the lions’ den (the place where the lions live) = to deliberately put yourself in a position of danger or difficulty
Usually this means to face a difficult situation, like going into a room full of people who will criticise you. Imagine a politician involved in a scandal going into a room full of journalists. He’s walking into the lions’ den.
A “den” is a kind of place where Lions might live. It could be a clearing in a forest, maybe within the roots of a tree, maybe surrounded by some rocks. A place where the lions hang out and sleep. That’s a den. Kids also build dens in their bedrooms. They take blankets and pillows and drape them over chairs and tables to make little dens which they can then hide in and play inside.
In this case its Dragons’ Den, so this is like a lions’ den but even more scary and dangerous! I think it’s just that dragons are better analogies for scary, no-nonsense business people than lions. Also, it sounds cool “Dragons’ Den”.
So, the dragons are the investors in their leather chairs. The den is a kind of renovated warehouse that could be somewhere in East London maybe, in a trendy new business district. The 5 dragons are sitting in a line with their plush leather chairs, sharp suits, pads and pens, side tables with glasses of water and piles of cash! The cash is just for show of course (there are quite a few lingering shots of the money).
The entrepreneurs are nervous, feeling the pressure. They walk up some tight spiral stairs into the room and the dragons eye them all up judgementally.
Then the entrepreneur starts his or her pitch. The dragons ask questions and drill down into the business plan and then there are some negotiations for the investment.
The entrepreneur is looking for an investment of a certain amount. In return they are offering a portion of the equity of the company.
Equity in this case means the ownership of the company. If you imagine a pie chart or a pizza, perhaps, if you prefer. Imagine that pizza. 100% of it is mine. But I might choose to sell some parts of that pizza to an investor. Let’s say I give them 20% of the pizza for about £20,000. In terms of a business this means that the investor gets 20% of the profits that the company makes. In return I get cash which I can use to get the business going in various ways.
So equity refers to ownership of the company and it is divided into shares. Sometimes it is referred to as an equity stake. So an investor might have a 20% equity stake in a company, for example. The entrepreneur holds onto an 80% equity stake.
This is how finance can be raised. Instead of getting a loan and paying interest you kind of liquidate part of the company to get the cash but you also get the support of an investor too, and that’s the other thing the dragons offer. Not just cash but also some business acumen and contacts to help them get a foot in the door.
The dragons have actually financed a few successful businesses in the past on this show, ones that have made it to the supermarkets or even become household names.
Yes, all the businesses are real, all the money is real and the deals are real, but apparently after making agreements on the TV show, necessary due diligence is done before the deal is officially sealed.
But it’s all real. Real people, real businesses, real money. OK.
We’ll meet the Dragons in a moment, but first I have a vocab list here which I am going to go through in a kind of ramble, a business ramble. Luke’s Business Rambles – could be a good series…
I might briefly explain these terms as we go but my main focus is to try and put all these words into a rambling monologue about why an entrepreneur would need to raise finance for a new business. I plan to go over all of this in more detail in an upcoming premium episode.
Let’s imagine that I have a new business. I’ve invented a pen that goes red or flashes when you make a grammar mistake. Let’s say there’s software you can download for it. It connects to your devices by Bluetooth and you can get different functions, but it’s like Grammarly in a pen.
Why would a startup need to raise finance?
Pay for stock, manufacturing costs, hire staff, find facilities, pay for marketing (how are you going to get people to know about it)
contacts for retail
dealing with a logistics chain
Retail price (RRP)
Profit (net and gross)
B to B
B to C
Projected sales figures
Return on Investment (ROI)
Ask the bank for a loan
Get family to lend you money
Use a government scheme
Valuation of your company
Meet The Dragons
At age 16 he set up a tennis academy.
He now has a £250m empire in leisure, telecoms & media.
Made millions in the holiday and leisure industriesShe sold a stake in her company in a £30m deal, while maintaining 23% of the company.
From Glasgow. He’s worth over £170m.
He owns “Bannatyne’s” health clubs, casinos and hotels.
He’s a retail specialist.
He takes failing companies and transforms them into thriving businesses – Partners, Ryman.
Originally born in Pakistan, his family moved to the UK when he was 2.
Was initially successful in recruitment, setting up several high level recruitment companies which he then sold for large amounts of profit. He is also the founder and current CEO of the UK-based private equity firm Hamilton Bradshaw.
How it works
When the Dragons are interested in an investment they will say “I’m interested…” and will then make an offer.
The rules are that the entrepreneur must get the investment amount they are asking for, or more. The percentage equity stake is what is negotiated.
If a Dragon is not interested in the investment they will declare themselves out by saying “I’m out” and explaining their reason.
“I’m out” has become a sort of catchphrase that you can use in reference to the show.
Dragons’ Den Series 8 Episode 1 (also contains a brutal takedown of an entrepreneur [1st pitch] and an interesting exchange/argument in the wine pitch, with a v nervous presenter)
Kirsty Henshaw – Frozen Desserts
A part-time barmaid looking for investment in her food business.
Listen to the pitch from 44:00
How much investment does she need? £65,000
What equity stake is she offering in return? 15%
What exactly is the product? A healthy alternative to ice-cream – a frozen dessert (free from dairy, sugar, soya, nuts – everything! But what’s actually in it?)
Why does she need the investment? To buy stock, raise brand awareness with marketing and PR
So, what about this episode of the podcast which is called “The Climate Crisis Explained in 10 Charts”?
In this one I am joined by English teacher Cara Leopold from Leo-Listening.com to talk about what must now be the number 1 issue facing the world, and that is the climate crisis. It’s bigger than Brexit, bigger than the latest scandal involving Trump or other leaders, it’s bigger than the fact that you’ve just made a cup of tea but there’s no milk in the fridge. This is bigger than all those things.
The title “The Climate Crisis Explained in 10 Charts” is actually the title of an article on The Guardian’s website which is all about certain key facts and figures explaining the climate crisis.
In order to get a bit more specific and look at some data on the subject Cara and I decided to go through this article which contains various graphs and charts illustrating the way climate change is happening and what the likely knock-on effects are. There are also charts about the growth of green energy and other possible solutions.
In terms of learning English, there is language here to look out for. Obviously there’s the language we use to talk about the climate, changing weather systems and the other aspects of this issue. But also you’re going to hear us using language to describe data, charts and graphs, which is very useful language if you have to write reports in English or when you write the Writing Part 1 task in the academic version of IELTS.
So listen out for descriptive verbs and other terms for describing changes and trends.
Cara helps intrepid travellers and adventurous expats improve their English listening skills through movies and TV shows so they can understand native speakers, even when they talk fast. Her website is Leo-listening.com. She has been on this podcast before, talking about learning English from TV and films in episode 523.
In this episode, first Cara and I talk about our personal experiences of recent changes in the weather and our concerns for the future and then we get stuck into the article. You’ll find a link to that article on the page for this episode on the website. You can hear us describing the charts, and discussing the significance of the data.
So, let’s get started. All you have to do is keep up with the conversation and spot the useful bits of vocab.
I’ll speak to you again on the other end of this conversation. But now, here we go…
Notes & Links from Cara
The Drilled podcast is all about climate denial and the fossil fuel industry.
This is the theory (and I guess this as well) I mentioned about why we haven’t come into contact with aliens. I first heard about it on the Sam Harris podcast.
This article by George Monbiot explains the environmental impact of meat and dairy really well.
This explains the CO2 impact of flying really well.
So there you have it. Just a conversation about the climate crisis.
I’m not sure what else to add here so I would like to throw it over to you and to invite you to make comments in the comment section for this episode.
What do you think?
Have you noticed changes in the climate where you are living? How are these changes having an impact on people’s lives?
Have there been any climate crisis marches, strikes or other events where you are?
What is the political climate regarding climate change where you are?
Are there any things that you’re doing these days in an effort to play your part in the fight to reverse climate change?
And generally, what are your thoughts? I would very much like to know.
Leave your comments below. Share your thoughts on this subject.
A language-focused episode looking at words and phrases that you often see and hear in advertising and sales situations. Also includes discussion of sales techniques, Apple’s sales and marketing strategy and also a classic bit of stand-up by the late great George Carlin.
Here is an episode with Paul all about the subject of advertising and sales, with a bit of marketing thrown in there too. So this is a language-focused episode looking at words and phrases that you often see and hear in advertising and sales situations. It also includes discussion of sales techniques, Apple’s sales and marketing strategy and also a classic bit of stand-up by the late great George Carlin.
The episode starts with a discussion between Paul and me about Paul’s experiences of working in sales jobs at Apple, including selling their products to customers on the shop floor and how Apple markets its products to people. Then we go through a big list of words and phrases relating to sales situations in various ways, including the typical things you might read on packaging, advertising or sales material. The list is pretty long but it all leads up to the comedy sketch at the end, which includes all the phrases. That comedy bit, by the way, does contain some very rude language, so there’s a heads up if that’s not your cup of tea.
So get your vocabulary learning hat on for this episode and also let’s get stuck into the topic of sales and advertising, with Paul.
Positive or Negative?
You’re interested in buying a new product (e.g. a fantastic portable tumbler, or some Southwest Pacific Air). You look at the sales literature for the item and see some of these phrases and conditions. Are they positive or negative?
all sales are final
allow six weeks for delivery
no purchase necessary
batteries not included
each item sold separately
free home trial
and free parking
no cash? no problem!
Leather / leather-style
limited time only
mileage may vary
no down payment
no entry fee
no hidden charges
no payments or interest until September
no one will call on you
no red tape
offer good while supplies last
send no money
so act now
some assembly required
some items not available
some restrictions may apply
two to a customer
So that was Sales and Advertising with Paul.
As usual, let me know your thoughts relating to this episode.
What do you think of sales and advertising?
Do you work in sales? Have you noticed any particular techniques or use of language that helps you sell things?
What do you think of adverts on TV or the way things are promoted to you on the internet?
How do you feel about clickbait? Do you ever click on those articles?
Do you think graffiti is ok in public places? How is that different to advertising in the sense that we don’t get any choice over what is displayed to us in public? What about drawing graffiti on advertising that’s in public spaces?
The subject of sales, advertising and marketing is a big one and I expect to come back to it on the podcast at some point because there’s loads of things we could do with that.
Business English is always something that I’ve saved and never done on the podcast. I was always planning to do a business English podcast or a business English course, but without calling it a business English course, because people don’t seem to like the word business. It sounds all heavy and dark, like the dark side or the Death Star or something. But English in professional situations is really interesting and I’m talking about things like how we negotiate, how we deal with being diplomatic in meetings, how we do presentations and socialise with people. I was actually working on a business course and have loads of unfinished material for it. I must go back to that but in the meantime I might dip into some more businessy subjects in the future. We will see. But let me know about your interest in business English and if you’d like to learn the ways of the dark side and fulfil your destiny and all that stuff.
But for now, it’s pretty much time for the end of the episode. Thank you for listening as usual.
If the spirit moves you, you could leave me a lovely lovely review on iTunes or apple podcasts or wherever you get your podcasts. Getting positive reviews helps to promote my podcast on those platforms. It’s more likely to end up in recommended selections and things like that, so it helps the podcast a great deal.
Otherwise, you can always donate with one of the yellow paypal buttons, sign up to LEP Premium at www.teacherluke.co.uk/premium and check out my sponsors italki at www.teacherluke.co.uk/talk
You’ve been listening to Luke’s English Podcast and until next time, good bye bye bye bye…
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My Dad is back on the podcast today to talk about recent things happening in the news, including political things, especially Brexit.
We call these episodes, the Rick Thompson Report.
The last one of these was a few months ago when Theresa May was attempting to get support from all the MPs in Parliament for the Brexit deal she had managed to negotiate with EU leaders, but each time she asked Parliament to accept her deal, they voted against it, mainly due to the complications with the Northern Irish backstop.
The date for Brexit was pushed back to 31 October, Halloween, subject to an agreement with the EU that the UK would take part in the EU elections – to choose Members of the European Parliament. That election happened last week across Europe and the results are now in.
Also, you must have seen in the news that Theresa May resigned as Prime Minister last week too, to be replaced by a new PM in July.
So, what’s going on – what were the results of the election, why did May step down, who might replace her and what does this all mean for the future of the UK and Europe.
This is what we’re going to talk about – no pressure Dad!
My dad is with me now, on Facetime.
Theresa May resigns
Liverpool come back to beat Barcelona 4-0 (switch on the subtitles!)
My dad answers some questions from listeners about Brexit. Includes conversation about Theresa May’s deal, the prospect of a ‘no-deal’ Brexit, Parliamentary democracy, the possible reactions to revoking Article 50 and cancelling Brexit altogether, chances of a second referendum, Scottish independence, the sensitive Northern Ireland situation, consequences for EU nationals in the UK and the question of trading on WTO rules.
Hello listeners around the world, this is part 2 of a double episode of The Rick Thompson Report on Luke’s English Podcast in which I am talking to my dad about Brexit. We recorded this conversation on Thursday 24 January 2019.
As I said, this is part 2. You should listen to part 1 before you listen to this. In part 1 we chatted about the current Brexit situation, talking specifically about what happened with Theresa May’s Brexit deal, why MPs in Parliament rejected it, what’s going on now in Parliament and with Brexit generally, and what might happen next.
We talked about the possibility of a no-deal Brexit (aka “crashing out of the EU”) and what that might look like. We talked about the possibility of Brexit being postponed or even cancelled completely and we talked about the possibility of a 2nd referendum happening.
We also went into some detail about the Northern Ireland backstop – aka the Northern Ireland border problem and various other aspects of this complicated issue.
This brings us to part 2 and In this part we’re going to respond to some questions from my listeners, and there are a few times when we refer to things we said in part 1. So this will all make a bit more sense to you if you listen to part 1 first, that’s episode 573.
So, assuming that you’ve heard part 1 of this conversation, let’s now listen to my dad’s responses to a few questions from my audience. So here is part 2 of this episode of The Rick Thompson Report on Luke’s English Podcast.
Questions from Listeners
Hiro (twitter) I was expecting you to have another episode about Brexit with your dad. Thank you in advance. I have three questions.
1: The result of the referendum in 2016 was 52:48. Do you think the ratio has changed recently?
Luke: The ratio has changed because people who were too young to vote in the previous one have now reached the legal age, and some older people who voted leave in 2016 have died.
TheWeek.co.uk 21 Jan
Britain has seen a “Brexit crossover” where the number of younger Remain supporters who have reached voting age combined with older Leave voters who have died since the referendum has wiped out the 1.3 million majority that voted in favour of leaving the EU.
2: Theresa May’s deal was rejected several days ago, but she survived the no-confidence vote. It seems to me that she was left with a heavy burden and no one else wants to be in her position. Do you think there is any possibility that she will get angry and leave?
3: The British parliament is in a very difficult and complicated situation. I guess it’s showing the worst side of democracy.( It reminds me of the final days of ancient Athens. ) What do you think about it, especially in relation to the dictatorships of other countries?
Mits (twitter) Hi Luke! I always enjoy the episodes with your dad:) Especially on Brexit. Here are my questions. What would be the ideal situation for UK? Would you like a second national referendum? I am very worried about the current situation and the future..
Lysak_Michael (Twitter) Hello, Luke! In case of Brexit how will England deal with Scotland, which is going to realize its right to independence? And, of course, the border between NI and Ireland. Could your dad share his feelings about actions of IRA in 1972, 1974, 1982? Thank you!
Ladislav (Facebook) I’m so looking forward to this episode. I was wondering whether you was going to record one. I must say that the The Rick Thompson Report episodes are the best alongside ones with Amber and Paul! Question: how long will it take to decide what the next step (new government, new general election, referendum etc) is going to be?
Ivan (FB) What surprises me about Brexit is some “split” of the picture that I am receiving. Never in my life, have I heard anything positive about Brexit from articles/podcasts/media. And at the very same time whenever I speak privately with a UK citizen I ask them whether they support Brexit and keep getting answers “it’s complicated but yes”.
Luke: Which media are you consuming? Which people are you talking to?
Ju (maybe Julie or Julia) (FB) I’ve been waiting for a new episode of the Rick Thompson Report! I’m worried about a no-deal and the consequences for EU citizens who want to stay in the UK… Do you think that there will be a Brexit without a deal or will they postpone it? BTW, I’ve been listening your podcast for about a year and I just love it! 👏👏👏
Aritz (FB) Hi Rick! I’m from Spain, working in London. What’s going to happen with the pound-euro exchange? Shall I send my savings in pounds to Spain buying euros? Cheers!
Igor (Twitter) Could you talk about the Irish border and the backstop? And also about Jeremy Corbyn, whether he’s the right person or not to lead the Labour Party in this important issue? Thanks, I always listen to LEP.
If article 50 is revoked or extended to buy more time for Brexit, isn’t there a huge danger of people losing faith in politics and people wanting to take matters into their own hands, riot risks etc?
What are the chances Scotland will leave the UK and instead join the EU if Brexit happens? In their Independence referendum they decided to stay in the UK, but nobody told them they would have to leave Europe.
Can your Dad give his predictions in percentages of the following happening? New referendum (people’s vote), general election, No deal Brexit, Theresa May’s deal, civil war (just a bad joke- I am actually heartbroken about what is happening in the UK)
Do you think Jeremy Corbyn is playing his cards right? It seems to me that he is lately behaving a bit like Boris Johnson, speculating too much and thinking about his own career rather than the future of the UK? Shouldn’t he just get over himself and campaign for remain?
A lot of people are angry at the prospect of Brexit not happening. They say it would be undemocratic. Don’t you think that ignoring the people’s voice would not be right? On the other hand parliamentary democracy means parliament is the body that decides. Why should ordinary folks have such power, especially if they clearly have no clue what they are doing?
Kauan (FB) Is Brexit still a thing that’s gonna happen? I thought it got canceled or smth or whatever. At least I heard it somewhere.
Chriss from Mexico (FB) Will we (foreigners) need a visa to enter?
Why did the UK government itself create this bad situation that has stopped the entire country?
(originally written: Why the own English government have created this bed situation that stopped all country?)
Luke: Ask David Cameron
Video Danny Dyer talks about David Cameron. “Where is the geezer!” “He’s in Europe. He’s in Nice with his trotters up!” “Twat!” (cockney accent) – a very strange moment in television as both Pamela Anderson and Jeremy Corbyn are also present in the studio.
Stavtsev (FB) Does it mean that Northern Ireland will be able to reunite with Ireland?
Farshid (website) What advantages does it give to Britain and most importantly what effects it will have on other countries?
Thank you again to Dad for his contribution.
Thank you also to listeners for sending your questions. I didn’t manage to use all the questions that I received, so apologies to anyone who I missed out.
Now there are loads of other things I’d like to talk about on this subject but there isn’t really time. I might go back into it at some point.
“Trading on WTO rules” and What are tariffs anyway?
But before we go, I would like to revisit this subject of trading on WTO rules, because this is something you will hear from Brexiters when they talk about the prospect of us crashing out of the EU without a deal. They usually say “We can simply trade with the rest of the world using WTO rules.” I think it’s worth looking at what that really means, and how it’s actually a very dangerous step to take.
I mentioned in part 1 a Twitter user who I have been following. In fact I’ve noticed lots of very well-informed users of Twitter who have been tweeting various information, backed up by genuine understandings of all the technical details of things like the World Trade Organisation.
So, this guy on Twitter is called Edwin Hayward, and this is what he wrote about trading on WTO terms. It’s actually very interesting because not only can you learn about the reality of what that means, you can learn a thing or two about international trade and what tariffs are. This is what he wrote recently. You can find links to this on the page for this episode.
Debunking WTO and what “trading on WTO terms” really means… By Edwin Hayward
As EU members, we participate in over 750 international treaties. Many relate to trade, enabling us to trade freely with the EU, the EEA, and 40+ other countries.
Other treaties cover non-trade issues, from air worthiness certificates to drivers licenses, UK and EU citizens’ rights, food safety, environmental protections, workers rights, etc.
On Brexit Day, we leave the EU. That means we lose all the benefits of its treaties. Those treaties are gone in a flash, as if we’d fed them into a shredder. (That’s not the EU being vindictive, it’s just how the Article 50 process works.)
Even IF we have a transition period, the treaties will already be gone, but we will be shielded from the immediate shock by the transition arrangement.
Right now, we share in EU trade deals with 78 countries (22 more pending). These deals cover 60.7% of all our of all our goods imports, and 66.9% of our exports. Overnight, we will lose them all, wave goodbye to the painstaking gains of over forty years of trade negotiations. In the absence of trade deals, we will be reduced to trading on WTO terms. WTO is a complicated system of tariffs and quotas…
Luke’s Note: What are tariffs? Tariffs are import charges, a bit like taxes on imports. A country’s government can set tariffs on goods imported into the country. Who pays the tariff? The company which is sending the products into that country. So, if your country produces tennis balls and you want to sell them in the UK, the UK will probably have set tariffs which you have to pay when you send your tennis balls into the UK. The UK government has set tariffs on those tennis balls in order to protect the tennis ball manufacturers that it has at home. Because, if it’s possible to buy super cheap tennis balls from abroad, then British tennis ball makers will go out of business – they would either not be able to compete with the cheap foreign tennis balls, or they’d have to lower their prices to match the cheap foreign tennis balls – in either case they would go out of business. So the UK government sets tariffs on tennis balls to protect those British tennis ball manufacturers. That’s what tariffs are – they are an import charge which protects local manufacturers from super cheap imports. Back to the article by Edwin Hayward…
In the absence of trade deals, we will be reduced to trading on WTO terms. WTO is a complicated system of tariffs and quotas, plus a baseline set of rules designed to make trade a little less painful and a little smoother than it otherwise would be.
WTO provides a baseline for trade, but it is the absolute minimum that all rational countries seek to improve on. That’s why everyone’s trying to sign trade deals all the time. The whole point of trade deals is to improve on the basic terms offered by WTO.
In trade terms, WTO can be likened to fourth division football: it’s definitely a step up from a kick-around in the park using jerseys as goalposts, but it’s by no means a high standard.
Let’s talk about tariffs. WTO has an immensely complex schedule of tariffs, running into thousands of categories. Different products attract different tariffs. For example, under WTO, cars are subject to tariffs of 10%.
Tariffs are paid by importers, but of course they then turn around and pass those extra costs onto the consumer.
Right now, UK manufacturers can sell cars to the EU tariff free. But under WTO, those cars will be subject to 10% tariffs, effectively making UK-made cars 10% more expensive for EU consumers.
But all the major car manufacturers have manufacturing facilities elsewhere, including other EU countries. So if we’re reduced to trading on WTO terms, they’ll just shift production to the EU and avoid the 10% tariffs.
WTO gives us the right to control the tariffs on our imports, even reduce them to zero if we want to.
But that’s when the WTO most favoured nation rule kicks in. “Most favoured nation” is possibly the most misleading expression ever invented, because what it really means is that we are not allowed to favour one nation over another in our WTO dealings.
So if for example if we are desperate for cabbages, we can set a tariff of 0% on them. That makes them cheaper, which stimulates demand and encourages more producers to send us their cabbages.
But we can’t set a tariff of 0% for just one country. If we decide to drop the tariff on cabbages to 0%, that becomes our new tariff for every country in the world. So we get flooded with cabbages from the cheapest producers on the planet.
That’s great if you love cabbages, but absolutely devastating if you’re a UK cabbage farmer.
You can’t have it both ways. Either you shelter behind tariffs to protect domestic producers, or you reduce them or cut them to zero to encourage cheap imports – and destroy your local industry in the process. The rules of WTO force that tradeoff for every product sector. But that’s only half the picture. We have no control over other countries’ import tariffs, i.e. the tariffs imposed on the things UK-based producers export to them. If we’re trading with them on WTO terms, both the EU non-EU countries will impose whatever tariffs the WTO demands.
Overnight, our exports will be more expensive. That, combined with the fact that we will no longer share common standards with the markets we export to (also covered by the treaties we will have lost) will make products manufactured in the UK significantly less competitive in the global market.
For instance, why would any overseas consumer buy a UK-made car if they can get exactly the same car from the EU or elsewhere at a lower cost? Short answer: they won’t.
But what if the EU were to drop their tariff on cars to 0%? That would help our car producers, because our cars would no longer incur tariffs. However, “most favoured nation” would kick in. The EU would be forced to offer every country in the world 0% tariffs on cars.
The mere notion is absurd. After all, the EU aren’t going to leave their domestic market unprotected just to help the UK. It would be completely irrational to expect them to.
So, in practice, trading on WTO terms will mean that everything we make in the UK will be more expensive for overseas consumers at a stroke. Some industries may be able to reduce their production costs to offset the tariffs; most will collapse.
And we will be faced with the impossible task of choosing product by-product, industry by industry, which producers to protect by maintaining our own tariffs, and which to throw to the wolves by cutting or eliminating our tariffs.
If all of the above sounds grim, that’s because it is. There are no countries in the world that trade exclusively on WTO terms with other nations. None whatsoever.
Even North Korea has a couple of trade facilitation arrangements. We will have none. Nothing at all. No country has ever torn up all its international arrangements before (quite frankly, none have been crazy enough to). So we will be in a very lonely, exclusive club.
So if somebody tells you the UK will be OK trading on WTO terms, they either:
A) Don’t understand what that means or B) Are lying to you For example, Patrick Minford (of Economists for Brexit) is on record as stating that WTO would destroy the UK car industry, but that it would be a price worth paying for the freedom afforded by Brexit.
In other words, Brexiters see manufacturers as collateral damage, to be swept aside in pursuit of Brexit.
Perhaps you’re not so sanguine? Perhaps you would quite like the UK to keep manufacturing things?
In which case, you need to take heed of just how destructive, how damaging, trading on WTO terms would be. Estimates for the likely damage range from 7%-10% of GDP. Even at the low-end, that’s worse than the 2008 financial crash.
But unlike the crash, we’d be deliberately, willingly inflicting the pain on ourselves. Incredible, but true.
And the result would be the return of austerity, not for a few years, but for decades or generations to come.
WTO: just say no!
Brexiter James Delingpole promotes a no-deal Brexit on WTO terms, but then can’t explain how the WTO actually works
Part 1 of a double episode of the Rick Thompson Report, talking to my dad about the latest developments in the shambolic Brexit story. This time we’re focusing on what happened in last week’s Parliamentary vote on Theresa May’s Brexit deal, what the situation is now, and what might happen in the future. We talk about no-deal Brexit, the possibility of a 2nd referendum, postponing Article 50 and more. Part 2 contains questions from listeners and will be available soon.
In this episode I’m talking to my dad again about Brexit. We’ve been covering this story in episodes of the Rick Thompson Report since before the referendum in June 2016.
These episodes tend to be popular because although Brexit is a complex situation my dad is able to speak clearly on the subject both in terms of his accent and also in terms of how he presents his ideas.
This one is going to be a double episode. You are currently listening to part 1.
In this first part I just wanted to ask my Dad about 3 main things:
What happened last week in the House of Commons?
What’s happening now?
And what is likely to happen next?
We spoke yesterday and it took us over an hour to answer those three questions, because they’re not easy questions to answer due to the complex nature of the current situation.
That’s what you’re going to listen to in this first part.
Then in part 2 of this double episode I ask my dad some questions which I’ve received from some listeners on social media.
So this first part is a general report on the current Brexit situation (or Brexit shambles as perhaps it should be called) and then the next part will be a Brexit Q&A.
The last time I talked to Dad on the podcast about Brexit it was November and at that time Theresa May had just managed to get agreement from the EU for a Brexit deal.
Basically, after the referendum in which 51.9% of people voted to leave the EU and 48.9% voted to remain, (and the turnout was 72.2%), and after David Cameron resigned, and Theresa May became PM and everyone wondered what was going to happen and she said “Brexit means Brexit” and nobody really knew what that meant because it didn’t actually mean anything – “What will happen? Are you going to trigger Article 50? What kind of Brexit will there be?” “Well everyone, Brexit means Brexit” “Oh, oh ok”
Imagine if I, as an English teacher, defined words and concepts like that. “Teacher teacher, what does shambles mean?” “Well, it’s very simple. Shambles means shambles. Let me be absolutely clear when I say that shambles means shambles.” Strong and stable English teaching.
Anyway, after Theresa May clearly said “Brexit means Brexit” and the UK government triggered article 50 to begin the formal process of the UK leaving the EU, (even though there was no leaving plan in place) the clock started ticking and Theresa May and her government attempted to start negotiating with the EU to create an exit plan that both sides could agree on.
So even though none of the actual specifics of “leaving the EU” had been defined except that Brexit meant Brexit and that she had to carry out the will of the people, well – the will of the 51.9% of 72% of the people, which is actually about 35% of the people, Theresa May attempted to negotiate some kind of agreement with the EU – an agreement to define the terms not only of our exit from the union but also for our entry back into a new relationship with our largest trading partner and closest neighbour – a deal that was surely destined to be unsatisfactory for almost everyone, because of all the different views on what Brexit should look like.
Despite all the problems, the resignations of members of her cabinet, the sticking points of the Northern Ireland problem, the single market, the customs union, the UK’s outstanding financial commitments to the EU budget and so on, despite these sticking points, Theresa May somehow managed to get a deal together that the EU accepted.
The EU said “OK, we don’t like it. We’d rather you stayed. But we will accept these terms. Now you need to get your Parliament to give it the thumbs up too.”
That’s where we were last time, before all the MPs in the House of Commons in Parliament were due to vote on Theresa May’s deal, the deal that took two years to sort out but which nobody at home seemed to like.
Parliament voted on the deal last week on Tuesday 15th January.
This brings us to those three main questions for my dad.
What happened last week? What was the result of the vote?
What’s happening now?
What’s going to happen next?
And that’s what we’re going to talk about, so get ready for some fairly complex conversation about politics and the future of the UK as we know it in part 1 of this episode of the Rick Thompson Report on Luke’s English Podcast.
Some notes for this conversation
Last time we spoke we talked about how the UK Parliament was going to vote on Theresa May’s Brexit deal that she had agreed with the EU. This deal set out terms in which the UK could leave the EU.
So, what happened?
What was the result of the vote? (15 Jan – Tues last week)
The result of the vote on Theresa May’s Brexit deal. “Noes” = votes for ‘no’, “Ayes” = votes for ‘aye’ (yes)
Why was the deal rejected?
Why didn’t Labour vote for Theresa May’s deal? They want soft Brexit, right?
What happened next?
Corbyn called a no confidence vote the next day.
Why did Corbyn call the no confidence vote when it was obvious what the result would be?
Now what’s going on?
Amendments to the parliamentary process – MPs taking back control from the government.
How likely are these things, how could they happen, and what could they look like?
No-deal Brexit (aka Crashing out) [If we don’t get a deal together it can happen. But it would be disastrous and so it might be possible to delay article 50.]
Article 50 postponed (but how?)
EU Parliament elections at the end of May. MEPs take their seats in July.
From The New Statesman: It’s been reported that the EU is willing to allow a short extension, but anything beyond July 2019 would be extremely tricky, as that’s when the new MEPs take their seats following the European Parliament elections in May – putting the UK’s role into question. How could it remain a member state without elected representatives? Some solutions have been mooted to this, but they each have their difficulties and EU members would have to unanimously agree. www.newstatesman.com/politics/brexit/2019/01/can-government-extend-article-50
Another deal led by May/Conservatives
A general election
No Brexit at all
Megathread from Twitter of negative impact of Brexit that is already happening (so, it’s not “project fear”)
Hopefully you haven’t collapsed from exhaustion out there because of all the confusing politics. You’re ok aren’t you? Enjoying this? Yes, of course – it’s the Rick Thompson Report. It’s sort of a privilege to be able to listen to my dad on the podcast. I should say a big thank you to him for his contribution.
This is where I’m going to stop this part, part 1, but the conversation will continue in part 2, and we’re going to answer some questions from listeners which I received this week on social media.
Part 2 should go up pretty soon. It might even be available now. If it’s not up yet, it just means I’m still working on it and it will be published as soon as it’s ready! So check it out.
Thanks for listening. Thanks to my dad for his contribution.
Talking to my dad about the current Brexit situation, including what could actually happen in the UK if we leave the EU with no deal. Expect language relating to politics, economics and the big issues of the day. Intro and outtro transcripts available.
Hi everyone, how are you doing? Here is a new episode of the Rick Thompson Report. Long-term listeners will be familiar with this type of episode. This is where I talk to my dad about the news, which is almost always about Brexit. We’ve been doing these ever since the referendum happened, tracking the UK government as they attempt to extract the country from the EU. We’ve heard all about the leave campaign and their claims, the impossible job of negotiating a deal with an entity that you’re also leaving – like marrying someone that you’re also divorcing.
The last time I did a RTR was in December last year and we talked about the state of the UK’s negotiation with the EU, with the shaky leader Theresa May attempting to put together a new deal which could somehow keep things as good as possible while also letting us leave. Both my dad and I are quite perplexed by the desperate need to leave the EU, when it looks like just cutting off your nose to spite your face.
Sometimes I hear from people, or read things on social media that suggest that the UK as a whole wants to leave the EU. I might read comments about how Britain wants to leave, or Britain doesn’t want to be in the EU, and I feel a bit annoyed because there are plenty of British people who think Brexit is a bad idea. I’m one and so is my dad, we make no bones about that, but this isn’t for some ideological reason, or because we’ve picked sides. It’s because it doesn’t really make practical sense to close access to our biggest marketplace and a zone which also includes all sorts of environmental, scientific and security communities that we will also be leaving. Also the real prospect of leaving the EU with no deal could be catastrophic in many ways, and even the UK government is issuing advice about stockpiling food and other measures in the event of a no deal Brexit. The deadline is approaching fast and the UK still hasn’t found an agreement with the EU. What will happen next March when we leave officially? How will this affect life in the UK? Listen on to find out.
I do invive your comments of course, so if you feel like you have something to say, leave your comment in the comment section. I’m very curious to know what the rest of the world is thinking.
But now, without any further ado, let’s talk to my dad about the latest Brexit news.
So there you have it. There are my dad’s thoughts on Brexit. I certainly hope you have enjoyed this episode of the Rick Thompson Report, keeping you up to date on Britain’s tricky situation.
As I said earlier, please do leave your thoughts in the comment section. I’m curious to know what the rest of the world is thinking. I wonder how Brexit is reported and generally considered in your country? Is the leading narrative that Brexit is a good or bad thing, and why do you think that is? Do you think Brexit would help or harm your country in some way?
Thanks as ever for listening, leaving comments and generally being great audience members.
Have a great day, morning, afternoon, evening or night and I’ll speak to you again soon.