BREXIT SHMEGSIT! – How and why fantasy facts and a made-up word screwed over our country.



Let’s start with something positive.

Well done you if you voted in the EU referendum. You took part in a major democratic endeavour that will affect the UK for decades to come. You bothered to turn up and vote and for that I applaud you.

Well done also, if you put some thought into your voting direction.

As I said in my article, “EU or Eeeeuuuugh”, if you did your research and made a decision based upon a balanced view point, bravo! Your opinion is valid.

You probably realised that Brexit was a complex set of economic and socio-political issues that really needed your close attention. Your comprehension and industry makes you a star. (Take a bow).



If however, you didn’t bother with research, failed to listen to balanced debate and got whipped up by hysteria, you probably didn’t ask yourself if what was said was fair or reasonable. You probably didn’t listen to business leaders and people who knew how the global economy works. You probably followed the advice of polarised influencers like Nigel Farage or the Daily Mail, uninterested in balance, or the truth.

Brexit is about money – a lot of money. It’s about paying money to stay in. It’s about paying money to leave and it’s about earning money from trade. Anyone who thinks that money is a side issue, has missed the point. The sums are gargantuan and people who know how money sloshes round the globe should be central to getting us out of an impending fiscal black hole.


I’ve may have lost most of the Brexiteers at this point, assuming that I had any to start with. But our friends in the ‘Let’s flee Europe and Sod the Consequences’ camp need to understand what has already happened because of the 2016 Referendum.




Brexiteers, if you’re still here, take note.

According to the Financial Times (FT), Brexit has caused a 2% reduction in our economy. That equates to a £40 billion fall annually. That’s £40,000,000,000 less every year to pay for teachers, nurses, doctors, roads, medicines etc.

Chris Giles, Economics Editor at the FT, looked at the current cost of Brexit. He found that every economist claimed that Brexit cost us a lot money. How much, depended on which economist you spoke to. Some say Brexit has led to a 1.2% fall in economic activity, others suggest 2%.

Giles also notes a loss of £24 bn (£24,000,000,000) in the first quarter of 2018. That’s £450,000,000 a week or £870 per household!

In October 2018, Therese Raphael from Bloomberg reported a 6% damage to the UK economy. Meanwhile, the international news organisation Reuters, presented a Brexit cost of £500,000,000 a week. Imagine all that money going into the NHS.

As well as a falling income from a depressed economy, Brexit has sizeable administration costs.

According to the Institute for Government, in the 2017 Autumn Budget, £250,000,000 was shared between Government departments to pay for staffing needed to necessitate Brexit. Alarmingly, this rises to £3bn (£3,000,000,000) for the 2018 and 2019.

In reality, Brexit isn’t about saving us money and helping the NHS. It is hugely expensive and reduces our ability to improve our financial position.


You’re all probably sick of hearing the word, I certainly am.

It divides a room and makes the temperature rise a few degrees. You could argue that BREXIT is now an omnipresent swear word, forever in the ether and always an awkward topic in polite company. Yet, I’d argue that the word itself isn’t offensive enough.

Brexit – short for Britain exiting Europe is a cutesy term for a politically contentious action. But who do we blame?

Maybe we should point the finger at Peter Wilding. As a foundering member of a British think tank, Wilding, coined the phrase back in 2012.

(Ah 2012. An innocent time, when we didn’t have to deal with ‘President’ Trump, a deeply divided Britain and news stories that didn’t move at the speed of light).

Wilding should’ve dropped the feeble BREXIT and employed a phrase with more drama.

He could have called it, ‘Financial Mass Murder’, or, ‘Future Killing’, or maybe, ‘Fiscal Genocide’. Perhaps then, the populace would’ve understood and things would’ve been different.

Britain exiting Europe isn’t cute, snappy, light or inconsequential. The term used to describe it, therefore, needs to have some heft. Brexit as a concept, is divisive, destructive and anarchic. Wielded by politicians and influencers who care only for themselves, Brexit should be seen for what it is, a weapon – a hideously powerful weapon of monetary mass destruction.

Brexit ruins lives, hurts economies, lessens national and international security, decreases the likelihood of peace in the future, obliterates jobs, frightens business, causes social unrest and encourages attacks on minorities. It also destroys our standing in the world and makes us look stupid in the eyes of our global colleagues.

Not so cutesy now, is it?

We, the Great British populace, voted, by a narrow majority, to leave the European Union (EU), the largest trading bloc in the world. You can argue, like a Brexiteer and say we had a democratic vote and now we must uphold that vote.

Or, you can take the Remainer point of view. The British people were lied to and took a damaging decision based on false information. Whichever point you agree with, you need to consider the facts.


We chose to step away from the favourable trading terms we already had in the EU. We chose to lessen our global influence. We chose to damage our own economy. We chose to clog up statutory free time our Government / Parliament had to re-work policies that cover our legal, political and economic standing in the world. And we did so even though, what we had before was considerably more favourable.

I will say that again. What we had before was considerably more favourable.

We’ve done ourselves a lot of damage. What were we thinking? Had we all lost our minds?

Quite possibly.

Should we, as a country be worried about our collective mental ill health?                                 Absolutely. We deliberately did ourselves over. But why?

It’s something I’ve asked myself repeatedly.

HERE’S WHY I THINK WE LEFT THE EU.                                                                           (These thoughts are numbered, but not necessarily arranged in importance).

  1. The European Union had become too big and inflexible.
  2. Brown people broke down security barriers on the news and in posters. White people got scared.
  3. Nigel Farage et al engineered much of the panic, then capitalised on it by leading an orgy of hatred, mistrust and misdirection. They claimed to want a fair and frank debate. But what they gave us was grade ‘A’ fear mongering and a slick campaign, powered by dishonesty, intolerance and self-interest.
  4. The British public were told a string of monumental lies, including the famous, “If we leave the EU, we will have an extra £350 Million a week to spend on the NHS.” The claim of course, was bogus and the Leave Campaign knew it. Their propaganda (for that’s what it was), was alarming, emotive and wildly inaccurate. They knew it and they didn’t care.

One infamous poster showing legions of non-white people in a long line, was used to highlight the dangers of free movement within the EU. What wasn’t made clear was that the people in that picture were not EU nationals. Therefore, voting on staying or leaving the EU would have no impact upon on their arrival.

5. People unhappy with their financial lot, but without the power to do much about it needed someone or something to lash out at.

6. Years of austerity drastically reduced the quality of our social services. Limited funding for health care, educational budgets and local council funding, savagely cut resources, overstretching them to dangerous levels. As our hospitals, roads and schools fell apart you could understand why people resented sending money abroad.

7. David Cameron Prime Minister during the referendum did not consider that we as a nation might choose to leave the EU, or worse, did not care about what might happen if we left. His arrogance was astounding.

8. The Remain Campaign (headed by David Cameron) lacked focus, was ineffective, disorganised, poorly marketed and failed adequately to highlight the benefits of EU membership. Collectively, the campaign lacked real passion.

The Leave Campaign, however, not hampered by the truth or credibility, employed catchy soundbites, wildly inaccurate slogans and rabble rousing. They were fighting for their lives. They were challenging the status quo and knew they’d have to work hard.

They understood that they’d never win with facts and logic. So instead, they went for emotion, stirring up unrest and spreading misinformation. They destroyed anything that did not agree with their viewpoint by calling it, ’Project Fear’ – much like how Donald Trump calls everything, ‘Fake News’, if it doesn’t agree with his outlook. The Leave Campaign encouraged us not to think too much or question facts.

Remember MP, Michael Gove’s shocking line, “The British people are tired of ‘so-called’ experts.” Really? That still sends shivers down my spine.

9. Jeremy Corbyn, the leader of the Opposition didn’t have the gumption (spine/ balls/ motivation) to put forward a pro-European message. I’d wager that if he had directed his party to be Remainers, we would’ve stayed in Europe. Instead, he watched us all flounder. It wasn’t his fight – or so he thought. Socialist friends, familiar with his personal politics tell me that being in Europe doesn’t fit with his world view. As a Backbench MP, he consistently voted against European legislation. Now, as Leader of the Opposition, he grudgingly puts forward a pro Europe front, if only to needle the Conservative government. Labour supporters could be forgiven for feeling confused. The party was accused as having an ‘opaque attitude’ towards Europe whilst the FT claims grass roots support for staying in the EU is now growing.

10. Brits have a history of resilience and an independence of spirit, sharpened by two very bloody World Wars. We have what is known as, ‘The Dunkirk Spirit’. We are tough, stubborn and all too ready to fight invaders – be they real or imaginary. Much was made of this, and I believe many of us were manipulated into thinking we couldn’t be patriotic and pro Europe.

11. We (especially the over 50’s), had a hankering for a white-washed fantasy of imperialism. The majority of older Brits dissatisfied with their lives and but aware of the whispers of a ‘glorious’ British Empire looked to the past for inspiration. The empire was a source of pride and immense wealth for the United Kingdom. Free from the shackles of Europe, we would be free to empire build again. Industrious. Victorious. Britannia to rule the waves.


Empire was brought about by force. It was violent, controlling and for the ruled, it was destructive. It allowed the British to plunder the natural and financial resources of other countries whilst ruling with ill will and scant understanding.

I am of Indian heritage and the history of what the Brits did in India is, on balance, not a pleasant one. Now, the empire is long gone, and replaced by the Commonwealth. Countries like Canada, Australia and India are happy to trade with us but our relationship with them will never furnish our coffers in quite the same way.


I don’t know. Emotions are running high and the differing agendas of numerous players seem to be drag us every which way but sane. The Democratic Unionist Party [DUP] from Northern Ireland, the Scottish National Party, the European Research Group and their Brexiteering friends, different branches of the Conservative and Labour party, the Trade Union Congress (TUC), the Confederation of Business (the CBI), multi-national businesses and the EU itself have all voiced their opinions. Whose influence is the most powerful/workable, has yet to be seen.

Some people want us to leave the EU without doing the groundwork to put trade deals in place. Some people want trading conditions that closely track the deals we previously had in Europe. Some want us to have similar trading solutions brokered by Canada or Norway and some people just want us to exit Brexit – stay in Europe. And, let’s not forget, some people really don’t care what happens. They’ve just had enough.

Whichever solution(s) finally get accepted, expect many of us to feel totally compromised.

This article was written by Babu Basu, Copywriter at CREATIVE GLUTTONY, in Nottingham. Has he got it right? Please, let him know.

Posted in The economy | Tagged , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , | Leave a comment

The House Bullies.

For the past few weeks, I’ve been part of a group tasked with bringing a trashed Nottingham house back to life. The damage was breathtakingly bad and the effort needed to restore the property was phenomenal.

Here’s a bit about what happened and what we had to do.

The Property (Pre-desecration)

The once beautiful 1930’s property in Calverton Road, Arnold, (a suburb of Nottingham) had 3 bedrooms, a large lounge, conservatory and stunning landscaped gardens to the front and rear. It was the kind of place you would be proud to invite your friends.

The owner/ Landlord had lived in the property and invested in it handsomely. He did not believe in installing cheap fittings and fixtures. For the first 3 years, the house was rented out without any great mishap.

Then, about 4 years ago, a family moved in who were to damage the property beyond comprehension.

I remind you once again, the rented house was beautiful.

And investment in the property continued. In the last 3 years, the house (and renters) had an expensive cooker, quality carpets and a new fitted kitchen.

The Day the Renters Left

The renters had recently got into debt, a lot of debt. They were also behind with the rent and were looking for a Council house. They had asked the Landlord to tell the local Council he was selling the house so they would get their own place. The Landlord duly obliged. Twice letters were asked. Twice they were sent.

Oddly though, it was at this point that the renters went about telling all and sundry that the ‘cruel’ Landlord was chucking them out onto the streets.

Oblivious to this, the Landlord had a feeling that all was not well at the house. Apart from being a month and a half behind in the rent, the renters were acting fairly shifty. Acting on his hunch, he went over to the house with a friend who could act as a witness.

On arrival, what he saw broke his heart. The long driveway was chock full of rubbish and old furniture. Side windows were broken and motor oil was running down the driveway.

The Landlord was unable to get in and fearing the worst, spoke to the neighbours. The renters, it seemed had flown the nest.

Hours later the renters returned.

After a tip off, I drove to the house on behalf of the Landlord, with a witness for back up. I asked the renter for a key, which reluctantly, she handed over, whilst berating the Landlord. After which, she and her husband left in two cars and a cloud of shame.

Both the witness and I gingerly picked our way along the oil slicked path, avoiding the rusting and broken furniture. With much trepidation, we went in.

The quality carpets in the hallway and lounge had motor oil trodden all the way through. Holes (some really deep) had taken residence in the walls. Windows (all of which were filthy) were broken, or had broken handles or missing locks. Wooden doors had been yanked off their frames and one PVC door frame had a huge whole drilled into it. The entire house, which was beyond filthy, stank.

The new kitchen was a mess and had been badly re-painted by the renters. Numerous strips of masking tape hung from the ceiling like ungainly spider webs and what can only be described as supersonic gunk, had formed in the oven.

I walked into the downstairs loo and wished I hadn’t.

Apart from the colossal multi-coloured mess in the sink, the rolling shower screen had been damaged and the blinds in the window were hanging in a sorry state. It was to take me 40 minutes just to remove the mess in the sink.

For the sake of decency, I will save you from describing the toilet.

All round the house badly applied, cheap wall paper hung from the once well decorated walls, coupled with mystery stains and unpleasant smells.

I walked into the conservatory which was once a place for elegant dinner parties. There was nothing elegant about the place now.

The windows (some of which couldn’t be closed) were smeared with dirt. A threadbare green and unhealthy looking carpet had been laid over the smart ceramic floor tiles and a feeling of unease hung heavily in the air. So far, so appalling, but what alarmed me the most, was the view through the smeared windows.

What I should’ve seen was a beautiful, well stocked landscaped garden that had been terraced. But what I actually saw made me stand stock still.

The plants had gone, the fencing was broken and rubbish was strewn everywhere. Junk appeared on every level of the garden.

The pond, which had once had fish had been packed solidly with broken wood, furniture and household detritus. At the top of the long garden, the sheds were crammed full with old broken toys, furniture and clothing.

Despair and anger is all I felt. I knew the Landlord would feel even worse.

The drains at the rear of the property had been blocked with nappies and the garage roof was broken. I went back inside, fearful of what I’d find upstairs.

The walls on the stairs and landing were covered with wallpaper, in a colour I can only describe as, ‘Alarmingly Pink’.

I carried on upstairs. Even here, motor oil made it into the carpets.

All the bedroom doors were broken as were all the door frames that used to encase them.

In the master bedroom, lengthy cobwebs hung from the corner of the built-in wardrobes. The expensive en-suite bathroom had been trashed and yet again windows and their handles had been broken.

The aroma was impressively bad and the toilet with attached Sani-flo had been deliberately stuffed with plastic. Flush and the toilet sounded like an angry motorboat engine ready to explode.

The entire house had been trashed.

The Clean Up

Over the next few weeks, the closer we looked, the more problems we found. Holes everywhere needed filling. Walls needed preparing, wall papering and painting. PVC door frames had been cracked (which really takes some doing) and the gas fire had been damaged.

Three skips were hired to take away the seemingly unceasing sea of garbage. We would’ve needed more skips but happily, one of the neighbours took the acres of wood for his log burner and the metal merchants pilfered the skips for scrap metal.

Some days, eight of us would be working at the house, other days it was just one. The first week was the hardest. We didn’t know where to start first, or what to do. It felt helpless.

As a foodie, I would often buy lunch for the crew to keep their spirits up.

In just 3 weeks, we put in about 500 hours at the house. Hundreds of pounds were spent on paint and also on cleaning products. I went into the local Wilko’s (hardware store) so often that the staff recognised me and asked how the clean-up was going.

Thankfully, the house is now virtually sorted. Every room has needed attention. All the walls have been filled and painted. New wallpaper has been put up and hours have gone into fixing door frames and fitting new doors.

We still need to fix the garage roof, but at least new renters have moved in. They are delighted with the house – everywhere is like new and the garden is slowly beginning to recover.

Thousands of pounds have been spent already. The final bill is yet to be totalled.

As you can imagine, the Landlord and everyone who knew that house was fuming at the time. Now that emotion is replaced with relief and pride. A lot of good has been achieved.

But what about the Renters?

The Landlord, who had known the family for 20 years and who’d offered them a knocked down rent, didn’t want to press charges for 2 reasons.

One, he feared for the well-being of the four children who lived with the renters. What would happen to them if one parent was detained?

And two, it was obvious that the renters had no money. During the clean-up, Debt Collectors turned up at the house asking for renters on numerous occasions.

We all know that fate will catch up with them eventually.

And in the meantime, if Karma is slow to wield her power, that’s ok. The Debt Collectors will find them first.

| Leave a comment

Guardians of Gluten – Why most of us shouldn’t be Gluten Free


After centuries of safe consumption, Gluten is now getting a lot a bad press. But is it justified? Copywriter and fearless foodie Babu Basu, thinks that it’s time that someone stood up for Gluten.

The story so far

Our old friend Gluten has fallen out of favour. Yes, this ancient phenomenon that makes your bread brilliant and your pasta perfect is now being shunned. High profile celebs and fitness authors wishing to ride the gluten-free wave are cashing in – whether or not their thinking is sound or responsible.

According to market analysts, Mintel, 12 % of the British public claim that they or a member of their household avoids gluten. Sales of gluten-free products jumped from £160 million in 2013 to £247 million in 2016.

But what’s driving this demand?

Have the number of Coelics / Celiacs (people whose bodies who cannot tolerate gluten) increased substantially in the last few years or, are their darker forces at play?

The charity, Coeliac UK has suggested that 1 in every 100 people are Coeliac. Other organisations are slightly more reticent about the actual figure. Whatever the numbers, one thing is clear – medical intolerance is not the only force driving demand for gluten-free.

So what makes Gluten the new dietary no-no? Here’s what I think is driving the gluten-free juggernaut.

The Gluten Free Juggernaut – Will your meal make me rich?

Fashions come and go and that’s true of food as it is of clothing. For decades we were told to avoid butter and animal fats in favour of vegetable based oils. Now, it seems that at least when frying, animal fats are more stable. We were sold the myth that fats are bad. Then we were told some fats were good. Margarine was once hailed as a hero. Now butter is back in vogue. Many items fall out of favour, but not always for the right reasons.

Socially influential types (celebrities to you and me) and people wishing to make a name for themselves in the fitness world are to blame.

Plugging into our image obsessed collective psyche, these prominent but irresponsible individuals use a heady combination of physical glamour, social media and pseudo-science to make gluten-free the thing to be. They claim that gluten-free lifestyle is slimming and health enhancing.

But before you dive headlong into their anti-glutenistic tendencies, spare a thought for what science (yes, actual science), has to say about it all.

In the words of Jennifer Aniston, ”Here comes the science bit. Concentrate.”

What is Gluten?

Do a little research and you’d be forgiven into thinking that gluten grows naturally.  Many do not realise that gluten doesn’t grow, it’s formed.

Most flour (wheat, rye, spelt, barley) contains proteins, Gliadin and Glutenin. When you combine these together with a little water this forms gluten.

What does it do?

Gluten improves and structure and elasticity of bread. Like the lightness of a loaf? Choose the chewiness of a bun? It’s gluten that produces the incredible texture.

Where do you find it?

In short, wherever you might use flour, you might find gluten. Bread, pasta, cakes, sauces, stock cubes, gravy, beer and most processed foods contain gluten. All pervasive you might say. But that shouldn’t be a problem for most people.

And for those that medically speaking, must steer clear of gluten, there are solutions.

Who should avoid Gluten?

For people with Coelic / Celiac disease, a hereditary condition, short term Gluten consumption is painful and damaging. In the long term it can lead to cancer, osteoporosis and death. For Coelics / Celiacs, gluten is definitely off the menu. For them, the rise of gluten-free products has undoubtedly made their life easier/safer.

Some people are said to be wheat intolerant. For them too, gluten is not recommended, though, on occasion, they can consume it.

So for both groups, here’s a list of gluten free flours recommended by from UK based charity, Coeliac UK:

Agar; Almond; Amaranth; Buckwheat; Carageenan; Cassava (manioc); Chestnut; Corn; Flax/linseed; Gram flour (besan); Hemp; Hops; Maize; Millet/bajra; Mustard; Polenta; Potato; Pulses (peas, beans, lentils); Quinoa; Rice; Sage; Sesame; Sorghum; Soya; Tapioca; Teff; Urd/urid/urad flour.

For safety sake I should note that for some people , even some of these flours may agitate. So consult with dieticians.

I had a colleague who was Coelic.

As a good foodie and friend, I was always trying to find new foods she could eat. During our time together I came into contact with foods created for her under the gluten-free banner.

On the whole, they were disgusting.

Removing gluten made biscuits and cakes desert dry and dusty in the mouth. To compensate some manufacturers would up the fat content, or the sugar. Healthy products, they weren’t.

If you’re unable to process gluten, but you fancy eating something naughty, might I suggest you making a cake from ingredients that naturally don’t contain gluten, rather than using ingredients that have gluten taken out?

Nigella Lawson makes fantasticly indulgent cake and brownie recipies made with ground almond flour, perfect for Coeliacs.

What happens if you avoid gluten but you don’t need to?

Ah, the multi-million dollar question.

According to Douglas Faughnan, the senior food and drink analyst at Mintel, “Increasing numbers of the general public are buying gluten free products because they believe [them] to be healthier.”

In Emine Saner’s piece for the Guardian, ‘Gluten free: Health fad or life saving diet?’, she states,

“Gluten-free food has become increasingly popular among people without the disease who perceive it as healthy, with global sales up 12.6 per cent last year, compared to four per cent for packaged foods overall.”

Scientists (remember them), have found that avoiding gluten long term can be damaging to those of us who are not Coeliac by nature.

Research based in New York and carried out by scientists from 13 prestigious universities, including Harvard and Columbia and reported in the British Medical Journal (BMJ) have found gluten free diets,

“…should not be recommended…” to those who do not need to be gluten free.

Sadly, they also found,

“Concern has arisen in the medical community and lay public that gluten may increase the risk of obesity, metabolic syndrome, neuropsychiatric symptoms, and cardiovascular risk among healthy people.”

If parts of the medical community have been misinformed, what hope is there for the rest of us?

I leave you with the findings of Professor Tim Spector, a distinguished professor of Genetic Epidemiology at King’s College London and author of The Diet Myth: The Real Science Behind What We Eat.

He found that people avoiding gluten when they didn’t need to initially lost weight and felt better. However, “[these people] do not realise that gluten free diets are unhealthy in the long term. Not only do gluten free products often cost significantly more, they are generally highly processed, containing greater levels of fats, sugars and added ingredients.”

He goes on to say,

“Studies have tentatively suggested higher rates of heart disease amongst people on gluten free diets.”

However, the greatest damage, Professor Spector suggests is to our Microbiome – a recently discovered organ that houses the 100 trillion microbes that live in our lower intestine. This community of microrobes controls our digestion, mood, appetite, hormones, vitamins and immune system.

The more diverse the Microbe community,

“…the healthier and stronger we and our immune system are. Microbes need fibre and a diverse diet to flourish. For most people in the UK who already have too little fibre, bread and grains are a key source.”


“Studies have shown that restricted gluten free diets reduce the diversity in our gut and so also harm our microbiome – sometimes permanently.”

So there you have it. Going gluten free could be causing you permanent damage. I’m not against celebrity authors selling books. But I am against irresponsible pseudo-science that could harm.

Do your research everyone and eat well.


Babu Basu is a Copywriter and Head Honcho at Creative Gluttony. To contact Babu, visit his website:

Posted in Food & Travel | Tagged , , , , , , , , | Leave a comment

Meanie Marketing – How cost cutting could damage your brand.

Accountants beware. Bean counting is dangerous!

Copywriter and creator of ads, Babu Basu, warns big business not to be mean with their marketing. Rather than increasing efficiency, being parsimonious can actually harm your business.

Imagine that you’re a senior operating officer of a sprawling multinational company.    (Did you feel a shiver run down your spine?) Your job is to generate money and reduce costs.


But bringing in new money is hard.
It requires growth, inspiration and originality and complex mix of commercial, technological and legal understanding. It’s no mean feat.

You look at your balance sheet and company environment (which in theory, you control) and you make the definite decision to squash your costs.

How very efficient of you.

If you’re company is big (really BIG), you can dictate how much you pay suppliers (think supermarkets paying dairy farmers).

You can choose to pay your employees less in real terms year on year (think NHS staff).

You could choose to put off pay rises by staggering payment over a number of years (think UK Firefighters and Police).

Or, you could move your customer service operations to countries where the salaries are cheaper (think BT or Talk Talk with customer service in India and South Africa).

All sounds a bit controversial? Well, why not just reduce marketing costs?

Sounds easy enough.

Why bother making expensive adverts for every market place? Make one advert and use it in every territory. You’d save thousands. What a brilliant idea!

Well actually, it isn’t.

One size definitely does not fit all.

It can’t.

Shock horror! – Consumers are not the same the world over. Nor, are they the same within one territory. Who knew? Well most of us, actually.

Economists and Psychologists know that demand is driven by a bewildering number of factors including culture, media, finance, legality, ecology, desire and need.

Oh ok. But what about where markets share the same language? Surely then we can use the same advert?


It doesn’t matter if we speak the same language. Our cultural and linguistic references are different.

Think about America, Britain, Australia and India.

In theory, each market has a substantial number of English speakers. In theory, you could use the same adverts.

You could.

I wouldn’t.

Each culture and therefore, each market place is different. Yes Australia and the UK might be closer in culture than say Japan and Italy, but what drives taste, fashion and social values is different in each society.

With resources around the world and capable staff in each country, you might think that all multinationals are experts in international marketing. Alas, no.


Companies that got it wrong

Wayfair is an American e-commerce company selling home furnishings. Founded in 2002, this Boston based retailer now has offices and warehouses in Canada, UK and Germany.

When it began advertising in the UK, the company made the mistake of thinking their American English marketing message – a very nasally American marketing message would appeal to Brits.

It didn’t.

Wayfair hadn’t realized that their message only appealed to the American market.

Brits assumed that this company was by Americans and for Americans. Trade wasn’t great. It didn’t matter how many times Wayfair ran the ad on TV and radio. The message did not connect with the audience.

Thankfully, Wayfair now understand the need to speak to Brits ‘in their own language.’ The nasally American jingle (“Wayfair is all that I need”) has been dropped in the UK and the American voice-over has been dropped.

Instead the company have employed a much loved British TV Presenter – Lorraine Kelly to give the brand a local, more approachable face. Expect sales to pick up sharply.

Scholl, the American footwear company, who have been selling to the UK for years, seemed to forget that British English is different.

Over the last few years, Scholl ran a very visible (and therefore, expensive) ad campaign selling their high heel shoe inserts. These inserts were meant to make high heels so comfortable they had a ‘sneaker feel,’ ie as comfortable as sports training shoes.

There was just one problem with the campaign.

Brits were not familiar with the term ‘sneaker.’ To us, ‘a sneaker feel,’ sounded sinister, perhaps something a stalker might do. (In case you don’t know, a stalker is someone who follows you obsessively).

The British use the term ‘trainers,’ to describe sports shoes.

Thankfully, Scholl now understands this and is now replacing ‘the sneaker effect’ with the ‘trainer effect.’ Perhaps now they’ll sell their inserts more and creep out customers a little less.

However, Scholl are still making mistakes.

They keep running ads for their mens’ range of inserts that are obviously dubbed from another language. What message does this send out to a customer? You’re obviously not worth my time so I’ll do a second rate job when marketing to you.

The whole point about advertising is to create brand loyalty. If you’re mean with your advertising, expect customers to be mean with you.

Brand loyalty goes out the window and potential customers turn to rivals whose marketing or pricing, appeals.

Here’s the truth – Customers notice more than some companies give them credit for. Patronise them at your peril.


Here’s who got it right

Pantene sells a range of hair care products first introduced in Europe in 1945. Their adverts look the same the world over and sound the same. But Pantene understands that each market they sell to needs ‘a face’ that customers connect with.
Pantene adverts in the UK may have British models or popstars, whilst the Indian adverts have Bollywood actresses. The script is the same, but the faces are different.
We buy from those we accept are the same as us, or those we look up to.

There are times when the rules don’t apply.

Luxury marketing is different

Luxury marketing throws standard marketing rules out the window.
Aspirational marketing often relies upon the heritage of the brand. In this case, it is usually better to stay true to your original offering. (Think designer clothing brands like YSL, Chanel or Dior.

Their history and originality is what makes them influential and successful.

But their marketing isn’t mean – far from it.

Luxury marketing appears mystical, exotic and other-worldly. And here’s the biggie, it works.

Standard marketing might claim a product will beat a rival. Luxury marketing suggests a product has no rivals. The term, ‘Peerless Marketing’, is often used.

But even if your brand has history and mystery you still need to target your consumer.

Rolls Royce, which describes itself as one of the best known brands in the world, refer to their heritage and innovation, but also adapt their marketing, their service and, their showrooms.
When customers are expected to pay 100s of 1000s of pounds for one car, targeted marketing has to be effective, especially when fewer customers can afford your products.

Still think that meanie marketing works?

If you’re in any doubt, think about this:

If you have great expectations of a market or territory, understand that a mean budget will usually garner mean results. Why wouldn’t it?

Never forget, consumers are savvy and well informed. They can go elsewhere. And often do.

So don’t be a Marketing Miser.

Make an advert for each of your territories. And make it a good one.


Babu Basu is a Copywriter and Head Honcho at CREATIVE GLUTTONY, a creative studio based in the East Midlands.
If you’d like to write to him, please email
Thank you.

Posted in The economy | Tagged , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , | Leave a comment

The Golden Troll and the Clever Fairy

Are you sitting comfortably my darlings? Then let me begin.

Murica – the back story

I shall tell you a tale of a faraway land, a magical land. A land they call Murica.

Things in Murica grow huge. Houses, cars and even humans are bigger there than you’d believe. But what really makes Murica magic is the fantastic array of differing people.

You see, Muricans came from all corners of the Earth. Travellers from many nations joined together to create one extraordinary nation, Murica. For many years, this nation was seen as exciting, clever and powerful.

Murica was magical. Murica was great.

Sadly however, with the passing of time, Murica started to change.

Murica – the change

The magic of difference, that had once made Murica so exciting, was considered magic no more. At least, that’s what some Muricans thought.

These idiots seemed to forgot that their strength came from being different. They forgot that being respectful of those differences made them strong and compassionate. They forgot the value of decency. And that, children, is a very, very bad thing indeed.

Instead, the dim started repeating things they’d heard from friends in Inger-land. “We want our country back!” “We want our country back!” Which of course, is a silly thing to say, as their country hadn’t gone anywhere.

Some Muricans, who had been in the country a while, starting to blame new Muricans for a lack of jobs. A dip in the global economy, unfettered greed rogue financial traders, banks and other global institutions were somehow brushed under the carpet. The new Muricans and the peoples of other lands were of course to blame.

Of course.

Some Muricans started to think that it was ok to be horrible to Muricans that didn’t look like them or think like them. And we all know that this is wrong, don’t we children?

Some Muricans begin to think they were better than other Muricans, or even better than people from other lands. And children, we definitely know that’s wrong, don’t we?

The Big Chief’s job.

Every four years the people of Murica (both good and bad), would vote to choose their be Big Chief.

The job of Big Chief was important. Very important.

Not only did the Big Chief look after all Muricans, but he or she also had a lot of influence in countries right across the planet. You can imagine therefore, how important it was to find the right Big Chief.

The Big Chief, my darlings, needed to be smart, capable, honest, kind, understanding and very experienced in ruling over so many people.

The Big Chief also had to be very level headed and calm. You see, the Big Chief, was also the keeper of Nuclear bombs. These bombs were astonishingly powerful, and if one ever got fired, it would cause unimaginable death and destruction.

Thankfully, these bombs were not normally used. The theory was, that just by having them, the Big Chief could keep troublemakers at bay.

The Golden Troll and the Clever Fairy.

In 2016, the Muricans voted for their Big Chief. Strangely, the choice of people who could be Big Chief included a Golden Troll and a Clever Fairy.

A Golden Troll?

It was strange (even by the standards of a magical land), to have a Troll as Big Chief. This particular Golden Troll really was ill suited for the job. He was constantly angry, said rude things about people who didn’t deserve it, and he was not experienced in the slightest when it came to ruling people. It was also alleged that the Golden Troll had done some very, very bad things. Things a Big Chief should never do.

The Clever Fairy.

The Clever Fairy was different. Mostly.

She had studied for many years and understood about ruling people. She was kind, level headed, hard working, disciplined, wise and she celebrated the fact that Muricans were magical, because they were different.

The Clever Fairy had worked hard as an Assistant Big Chief and travelled round the world working on behalf of the people of Murica. She was also married to a previous Big Chief and had at one time lived in the Big Chief’s house.

Yes my darlings, it was obvious that the Clever Fairy was well suited to be Big Chief. The angry Golden Troll was not.

For a long time before the election, both the Golden Troll and the Clever Fairy talked. They talked endlessly about how they each were perfect for the job. They talked and talked and talked and talked. And for good measure, they talked some more.

In fact, they talked so much that people got sick of listening. They talked so much, that it started to induce voted apathy. That, my darlings, is when voters don’t care. And that my loves, is every bit as dangerous as Nuclear bombs.

When the Golden Troll talked, he would boom and shout. He was the best. The Clever Fairy, he said, was the worst. He claimed that she was bad and had done so very many bad things. He was of course lying. Mostly.

But because he boomed loud and long, people (some people), started to listen to him. The louder the Golden Troll boomed, the more people forgot about the mistakes he’s made, and focused more on the apparent shortcomings of the Clever Fairy.

They forgot about all the good things she had done and had forgotten about the great qualities that made her right for the job.

The Golden Troll was sneaky.

The Golden Troll knew he had a loud voice and he knew that people would listen to it. He also figured out the more he bad mouthed the Clever Fairy, the better he made himself look.

He told lie after lie about her.

We all know that telling lies is bad, don’t we children.

The Golden Troll lied so much that eventually people started to believe everything he said about the Fairy. The Golden Troll would claim that she was corrupt and evil. She wasn’t, of course, mostly. But it’s easier to accuse a mostly innocent person than talk about your own nefarious activities.

Interestingly, the lies peaked when other people accused the Golden Troll of doing some very, very bad things.

What my darlings? Why didn’t people tell him off for lying?

Well my lovelies, some did. They were smart. They could see he was unsuitable to be Big Chief and that the Clever Fairy would’ve been so much better.

Some people were smart. But a lot of people were not.

Some people thought the Golden Troll was right. They thought that the differences in Muricans was not magical. They didn’t like people to be different from them. And they didn’t understand people who were different from them.

Some people liked the Golden Troll, because he was loud. Because he was Golden and because he had amassed a great deal of gold over the years.

People liked gold. It was shiny.

And some people liked the Golden Troll because he had been on TV for many years, so they were familiar with his burnished features.

And some people, my darlings, loved the Golden Troll because he frequently said some very bad things on a regular basis.

What my darlings? Why didn’t they like the Clever Fairy?

Well my loves, sadly the gold and the shouting and the T.V. appearances made the Golden Troll more visible than the Clever Fairy. Some people thought the Troll was honest. He wasn’t. He was rude.

Everywhere the Muricans went, the Golden Troll was there, shouting and lying.

The Clever Fairy was clever. So she didn’t shout. And she didn’t have as much gold as the Troll. And, she was constantly being put down for being a girl.

Now children, we know that is wrong, don’t we?

You see, some people, some very silly people, thought that the Big Chief had to be a man. And we know that thought is silly.

And some people were jealous of the Clever Fairy. She had lived and worked in the Big Chief’s house for many years.

She was also very clever. And people who weren’t clever, didn’t like that. Some people said she was too aloof. It didn’t matter that in reality she approachable, capable and committed.

The last 2 years

Over the last 2 years, the Golden Troll said bad things and the Clever Fairy was harassed for being clever. At one point, the Golden Troll asked his friends to help him smear the fairy with some really big lies.

When really bad news surfaced about the Golden Troll, he tried to make himself look better by telling more lies about the Clever Fairy. But the Golden Troll had a problem. Because he had told so many lies, he knew he would not be believed. So, he ran to his friends at the Foolish Bureau of Insurrection. Or FBI.

The people at the Bureau, were renowned for being clever. Therefore, when the Troll got the Bureau to say bad things about the Clever Fairy, people believed them.

It didn’t matter that later on, the Bureau said the Clever Fairy was innocent.

It was too late.

Some people had already voted for the Troll, because they thought the Clever Fairy was dishonest. Yes, the Clever Fairy wasn’t perfect. But she was a good deal better than the Golden Troll could ever be.

And much of the media in Murica didn’t do their job. They kept saying that the Clever Fairy was unpopular and untrusted. But they never looked at the real reasons why. There were many problems bubbling up in Murica. So, the Troll made the Fairy the scapegoat. And we all know that scapegoating is a bad thing, don’t we children?

Yes, the media, like many Muricans, became indolent and workshy. They stopped looking for the truth and just gobbled up as many lies as they were fed. And that, my darlings is lazy and foolish.

And even though more people voted for the Clever Fairy to become Big Chief, the Golden Troll got elected. A mysterious creature called the Electoral College was to blame. Democracy, it seemed, was a rare and unobtainable beast. But that wasn’t really important in the land of the free. Was it?

So alas, my darlings, my story ends in a bad way.

You see, the Clever Fairy was not elected as Big Chief. The angry, inexperienced Troll was now in charge and the world he ruled had became a more unsettled place.

And that, my loves, is definitely not a fairy tale.

Night night everyone. x x

| Tagged , , , , , , , , , , | Leave a comment


On the 23 of June, Brits will be voting in their droves to determine whether we should remain in the European Union, or, sail to a new and unchartered place called Brexit.

Those who want stay in Europe have said that in the EU we have financial certainty, economies of scale, lower prices, cleaner beaches, a stronger place at the world table and lasting peace.

Advocates of Brexit however, extol the benefits of a brave new world where the UK is unbound and unhindered by endless EU red tape, making better deals with the rest of the world and weeding out unnecessary expenditure in wasteful European bureaucracy.

Who you believe may depend on your age, your educational level, what you do for a job, what paper you read and your understanding of history and world politics.

If you’ve done your research and know how you’re going to vote, good for you. Read this article anyway and see if it changes anything. The decision you make is a complex one and will have implications for decades to come.

If you’re still not sure how to vote, (and there are plenty of us out there), read this article as well.

A complex decision?

Both stay and leave campaigners will trot out frightening sounding facts and figures (some of which can, at best, be described as ‘untruths’).

They know (or at least, I hope they know) the referendum will have an impact on the economy we work in, the laws we abide by and shape how we as a country are treated by other countries.

In short, how we vote will impact on everything we are and everything we do.

Does it really matter that much?

Yes. And it’s already having an effect.

According to the Telegraph the FTSE 100 (An index of the 100 largest companies listed on the London Stock Exchange), financial uncertainty brought about by the referendum has caused the FTSE to lose, ‘£100 billion in 4 days’

£100 billion!

Why is that important?

If 100 of the biggest firms in the UK are losing money, we all lose. These companies create jobs (both inside the companies and outside in the supply chain), provide investment and help to maintain confidence in the economy.

We have the 5th largest economy in the world. If we falter, so do those we deal with. And when global markets shrink, we’re all in trouble.

Why Brexit or why Bremain?

Below is a brief summary of what has been said by both sides. Issues on this topic are incredibly complex and on the whole, politicians have made things harder to understand.


  1. The EU has become a superstate and is set to get more powerful. The UK is losing sovereignty (losing the power to make laws for itself, by itself). As a country with a relatively small population, we don’t have much influence in the EU.
  2. The UK spends approximately £20 billion a year on EU membership. That money could be better spent in the UK.
  3. Free movement of people in the EU, could mean that member states and new member states could all move to the UK, ‘overwhelming our country’ so that immigrants can work, live, use our stretched NHS and obtain benefits.


  1. The EU is the largest trading bloc in the world. If we stay in the European Union, our companies face no or reduced barriers to trade (economic and legal / social).
  2. Our influence in the world is greater because we are part of this bloc and as we are aligned to other EU markets, easier trade will continue. Should we leave, then our influence reduces and trade agreements between us and those still in the EU will need re-negotiating.
  3. Whilst we are still a substantial market (just over 65 million), we do not have the same influence as the EU which has a population of over 746 million.
  4. The Institute for Fiscal Studies (whose job it is to provide independent economic analysis on matters pertaining to economy and taxation), warn that leaving the EU would cause us to fall back into recession.
  5. This will lead to a smaller economy, less money for the government, more job losses, greater pay cuts, companies going out of business, less training, less investment and lower skilled workforce. Which in turn lowers our ability to grow our economy.
  6. Brexiteers have said that countries like Canada, who are not in the EU and who have just negotiated a favourable deal to trade with the EU, are a shining example of what the UK could achieve.

However, on a BBC Radio 4 programme, the Canadian Finance Minister, whilst extolling the virtues of the agreement was quick to say it took over a decade to put in place. He also admitted that the agreement was in no way as favourable as the agreements the UK has in place, as part of the EU.

Brexiteers claim it would be easy for us to renegotiate favourable terms within the EU and outside the EU. Countries like the US are seen as markets the UK could increase trade with should we leave the EU. However, the US President has himself suggested that we would have less influence with the US, should we make a Brexit for it.

Free movement of workers in the EU allows us to work in other countries and workers in other countries to work here. Brexiteers have suggested that Turkey, who is looking to join the EU, would send great swathes of their population to work in the UK. What Brexiteers conveniently forget to tell us, is that Turkey’s population of 79 million (75 million according to some) are unlikely to join for at least 30 years. Issues with Turkey’s economy, strained relations with the Cypriot Government and a lack of enthusiasm to join, in part created by watching the financial problems on Greece, are major hurdles to Turkey joining.

The issue of ‘mass immigration’ would not cease, were we to leave the EU. Norway, like the UK, is part of the European Economic Area and like the UK, it has certain EU obligations.

A former foreign minister for Norway explains that,

“Norway must a) accept free migration of EU citizens, b) contribute to the EU budget and c) comply with all EU rules but with no say in making those rules.”

According to Full Fact, an independent fact checking organisation and various think tanks on immigration, more people from outside the EU choose to move to the UK than those within the EU.

That won’t change if we leave.

Full Fact state that,

“The vast majority of EU migrants in 2015 said they were coming to the UK for work – and 41% said they already had a job arranged. By contrast, most non-EU migrants (47%) say they have come to study.”

And, as right minded individuals, we need to ask ourselves, is migration necessarily a bad thing? As a second generation Indian, born and raised by professionals living in the UK, I would argue that migration can be a positive. It allows a host country to benefit from the skills and productivity of those who move there.

People working in the EU (wherever they originated from) will pay and create economic wealth. And those coming to study in the UK, bring much needed revenue to our service based economy. The Financial Times estimates that services now account for almost 80% of our economy.

I understand about the economy. But what about the huge numbers of immigrants in holding camps across Europe?

The pictures of thousands of migrants, swelling borders and crashing down fences in Europe has frightened many people and has been seized upon by Brexiteers and extremists.

But leaving the EU wouldn’t stop scenes like this. The vast majority of immigrants who claim political asylum are from outside the EU. How the UK and EU deals with this humanitarian crisis is yet to be seen. But, as the UK is not part of the Schengen Agreement, we will be less troubled than our counterparts in mainland Europe.

Being part of the European Union also increases cooperation between member states when it comes to security – an increasingly important issue in our turbulent world. It also allows us to have greater influence on matters like climate change and the environment.

Indeed EU legislation (and funding) is responsible for clearing our beaches and waterways. We were traditionally known as ‘the dirty man of Europe.’ And European structural funding provided much needed support to areas in the UK with serious economic decline. Liverpool and Newcastle, for example, are now financially much stronger and better places to live because of EU investment in jobs, education, training, housing, the arts and road networks.

So is the EU perfect?

No it isn’t. Bureaucracy, wastage and differing economic and political agendas of differing member states create problems. But, on balance, it is better to be part of the EU, than be apart from it. The EU costs us 30p a day per person. Should we exit the EU, the loss in income from less trade would be greater than the money we would save from not paying fees.

Who are the Brexiteers and who would like to Bremain?

If you’re still unsure about how to vote, ask yourself this, who do I believe? Look at the proponents of Brexit and the campaigners of Bremain. Who carries greater personal authority and what agendas do people have? Probably the best advice I can give you comes from a Facebook article written by Calvin Morris on the 11th June. In it, Calvin considers the voting direction of key figures.

Bremain – key people wanting Britain to stay in Europe:

The Governor of the Bank of England

The International Monetary Fund (The IMF)

The Institute for Fiscal Studies

The Confederation of Business Industry (The CBI)

The President of the United States

8 former US Trade Secretaries

President of China

Prime Minister of India

Prime Minister of Canada

Prime Minister of Australia

Prime Minister of Japan

Prime Minister of New Zealand

Kofi Annan, Former Secretary General to the United Nations

All former living Prime Ministers of the UK (from both parties)

The UK Prime Minister

The leaders of the Labour Party, the Green Party, the Scottish National Party

The National Union of Students

The National Union of Farmers

The World Bank

Director General of the World Trade Organisation

The Secretary General of GCHQ

The Chief Executive of the NHS

Director of Europol

Director General of the World Trade Organisation


Brexiteers – people who want to leave the EU:

Boris Johnson

Michael Gove

Nigel Farage -the Leader of UKIP

The BNP (The British Nation Party)

Britain First

Keith Chegwin

David Icke

Rupert Murdoch

And Donald Trump



Now that you’ve seen both lists, ask yourself this, ‘When it comes to economic and political matters, which list carries more weight with me?’

Good luck on the 23rd everybody.

| Tagged , , , , , , , , , , , , | Leave a comment

The Old Weighing Room – Doncaster Racecourse.

It’s not often I get to eat in such unusual surroundings. Built in an ‘Art Deco meets Classical Empire’ style in 1920, The Old Weighing Room manages to feel both historic and modern. With black matt wooden floor boards, black tables, off white walls, black beams and high white ceilings, this building has a smart, urban feel.

The staff are friendly, attentive and knowledgeable. Without doubt, they are one of the reasons that this 70 seater restaurant has been full every night since opening back in April.

We start with the excellent Trio of Salmon. The Thai Gravadlax, a happy rework of the Scandinavian classic, has a gently spiced kick. The luxurious Salmon Mousse, is rich and creamy. And the Whisky Smoked Salmon is smooth and beautifully paired with delicate sour cream.

Next, the perfectly cooked Roast Pigeon. Served rare, the bird is moist, tender and presented upon a bed of earthy vegetable ribbons.

For Mains, the well seasoned Monkfish Saltimbocca, wrapped in Pancetta. Appropriately, this has a light, bright, citrus butter and a firm meaty texture.

The Cannon of Beef delights. Served with a deliciously meaty Ox Tail Tortellini, sweet Rosti Potato, gently wilted Spinach and superb Trumpet and Oyster Mushrooms. And for dessert, the elegant Trio of Dark Chocolate – with squidgy Brownie, fluffy Cheesecake and rich Marquise.

Posted in Restaurant Reviews | Tagged , , , , , , , , , , , , | Leave a comment