Brexit, one month on (post 2 of 2) — What I would do if I was the Prime Minister
This is the second part of my “Brexit, one month on” post and it attempts to answers the question I have been asked a few times over the last month — “What would you do today if you were the PM in regards to Brexit?” If you would like read the first part of this article you can find it here:
*Advance warning* — These posts are long; whilst I do attempt to keep my sentences brief, and keep the punctuation and grammar correct — I do struggle and no doubt fail in many places. Oh and I use endnotes a lot!]
What would you do if you were the Prime Minister and it was your responsible to deal with Brexit and with the aftermath and the mess left by David Cameron?
Admit it — you have probably also thought about this scenario. I admit I have. I have been asked this question numerous times over the last month or so, and I have had various people tell me what they would do if they were PM[i]. So what do I do? I decided to write a post about it because — let me honest — this last month or so has left me feeling even more disillusioned and angry in the Government and in the whole Westminster circus then I was before the referendum [and my disillusions and cynicism was pretty pronounced already]!
I just need to get these thoughts out of my head and written down somewhere. So here goes, again…
In order to identify what I would or should do, I first need to determine what the situation is in regards to the legality of the referendum and what (if any) steps must be taken to make the process of the UK leaving the European Union complete[ii].
What do I view the status of Brexit to be?
Simple, I do not presume Brexit to be a forgone conclusion[iii] — irrespective on the referendum result.
Whilst I personally am of the opinion that outcome of the vote should be adhered to based on the moral and justifiable argument that ‘the public have spoken and we should respect that opinion’ — on a legal footing the situation is still very much up for debate and challenges. This is a little bit of a problem even when you are just an average democratic nation that is operating under international law and conventions — but we are the United Kingdom of Great Britain and Northern Ireland, the home to the mother of parliaments etc. — for us it is a BIG problem.
UK Politicians (conveniently?) left ambiguity and many unanswered questions in not just how the ‘In’ or ‘Out’ referendum arguments were presented but also how the outcome was to be interpreted with regards to it being a binding decision or not. There were some individuals[iv] raising these concerns and questions around legality and process prior to the referendum vote, however the vast majority of politicians and the mainstream media did not pay much attention and failed to push the Government for clarification or to take steps that would address these concerns prior to the vote.
Today, weeks after the voting has happened and[v] the result turns out to be the opposite of what the vast majority the political established had expected and hoped for, we again have a situation where questions are being raised on legality — and again the public have no definitive answers. The only difference this time is that these questions are now also coming from the [shocked] politicians and mainstream media who wanted to stay in the EU and who had previously had chosen to ignore the questions and risks.
Let me just point out just some of the many areas that questions being raised around are:
a. Did the UK government, under David Cameron, satisfy all the legal criteria for the referendum before the vote took place?
— a-i. Was the government failure to provide an unbiased case and master- plan for — both staying in the EU and for leaving the EU illegal?
— a-ii. Does this failure to provide a case for the UK leaving the EU impact on the legality of the referendum even though, and despite the fact, the UK voted to leave the EU in any case?
b. Is the referendum just a ‘consultation’ that requires ratifying by parliament? If the answer to this question is yes, then:
— b-i. Why was the choice not made prior to the referendum to ask MP’s to vote on whether the outcome of the referendum should be legally binding and whether they would/should respect the wishes of the people? [Doing as such would have (you hope) made the vote legally binding and not a consultation].
— b-ii. If it is a consultation (irrespective of the PM’s view that the result is binding) why have MP’s still not voted on whether to respect the referendum outcome or ignore it (to repeal or not to repeal the 1972 European Communities Act)?
— b-iii. If the politicians are to vote and they choose to respect the outcome does this mean that the Government should trigger Article 50 straight away [I believe it does not means this — I believe the vote in favour does still allows the PM the power to set the timeline on deciding when to trigger Article 50 and thus when to begin negotiations with the EU on any future relations.]
So what would I do based on the above legal ambiguity [Very short term/immediately]?
As I do view the referendum as not being a legally binding decision and that the referendum was instead technically a consultation (based my observations above) — I would call a parliamentary vote on the issue as soon as possible[vi].
I would give the MPs a choice of the following three options:
a) Leave the EU. [The UK government would still decide when to trigger Article 50 but it would have to be triggered within a maximum period of a ‘X[vii]’ years or else there would need to be another referendum vote where this time all the legal ducks are in order, and there is an option for additional choices other than ‘In’ or ‘Out’.]
b) Remain within the EU [where politicians ignore the referendum result; instead voting on what they personally believe is best for the country, or, they are voting according to how their particular constituency voted]
c) Remain within the EU for now but with the following condition:
— c-ii. Any and all new subsequent EU treaties must put to a legally binding referendum before they can be incorporated in UK legislature. [This last point can probably become one of the options in any future EU referendums — but I am still keeping it in this list just incase there are new treaties before another referendum was to happen.]
How would I vote in such a parliamentary vote?
With the current politicians we have and also considering the global situation I would swing between option ‘a’ and ‘c’. The problem is — I just don’t trust the politicians (UK and European) to tackle the actual problems facing the world without them having a fear of being politically lynched. [Should the trust issue change I might be more confident choosing option ‘c’ — but I definitely want my two conditions to be present and I would be working very hard to fix the social, economic and political problems in the UK in the meantime]
Putting fantasy situations aside for a moment — realistically if and when the PM does call for a parliamentary vote on the repealing of the ‘1972 European Communities Act’ I suspect that she would only offer two choices; either to repeal it or not to repeal it (i.e. respecting the referendum result or ignoring it).
This limited choice would be not be because she does not have the option to offer more than two choices when parliament is debating or voting on an issue. I suspect having only two options is desired because most politicians and government officials are unwilling, and/or unable, to live with the short to medium term consequences of having an ‘other’ option. This is an option that requires them to be agile and step outside of their comfortable existence; to continually engage with the electorate over a longer period of time; to question their own beliefs and party, etc. Something, from my perspective, most have been unwilling to do.
What I think is that politicians find it difficult to cope with is fluid situations[xii] — they want to know if things are ‘this way or that way’ and then they can hopefully make plans on how to deal with life and get comfortable again. Sometimes, however, uncertainty and instability can be the only option or indeed best option, and uncertainty can be the biggest drivers for introspection, innovation and change. [In my opinion, this type of introspection and possibly innovation and change is long overdue in this country and in the world in general.]
What would I do presuming the UK is definitely leaving the EU?
If you want the quick answer — here it is:
1 — I would deliberately not be in a hurry to trigger Article 50 — at least not within the next two years due to limitations within the UK’s capabilities as well as due to the fluid nature of European & world economics and specifically politics at the current time.
2 — I would not trigger Article 50 until certain events have happened or criteria have been met.
3 — I would wait and see how the EU businesses react to UK business and exports whilst the UK is still a member state. In the short to medium term, will there be a boycott or deliberate reduction in the purchase of UK goods and services? How should the UK respond?
4 — I would offer all EU citizens/families that have made a positive contribution to UK society whilst living in the UK for more than 5 years permanent UK citizenship (one condition does apply).
5 — Finally, and probably most importantly, I would seriously attempt (alongside others of like mind) trying to rebuild broken elements of civil society and local businesses & industries that have gone neglected for so many years.
If you want a more detailed answer — here it is:
1. I would deliberately not be in a hurry to triggering Article 50 — at least not within the next two years — despite the wishes and protestation of EU or other world leaders. Why?
— 1a. The intention is not to be deliberately obstructive or uncooperative[xiii] but to recognize that post Brexit the UK has its own priorities and agenda and the EU has its own viewpoint and agenda. There will no doubt be jostling for power and influence going on at an international state that will determine the influence, relationship and access to EU and world markets.
— 1b. [Therefore] By triggering Article 50 quickly we are putting ourselves on a forced timeline of two years to negotiate a new trade deal with the EU (and other countries) with the possibility that no UK specific trade deal can or has been reached within the given time. In the situation where the UK has not signed any significant trade with other, non EU, countries — the EU would be in a very strong negotiating position and it could tell us to accept whatever trade deal it offers or have no deal from it what so ever.
— 1c. To allow the UK the time it needs to find and/or train the people it needs to: negotiate any international deals; to get the resources it needs to face a post EU membership world; to deal with the domestic social, economic and political climate; etc. (also see point 2e)
[Additionally I am also aware of the possibility that the EU may be forced (by national, global and financial circumstances — also see further down) to change its policies more in line with what many Brexit voters (and politicians) would find to be an acceptable grounds to reconsider leaving the EU. If these changes in EU policy were to be significant in scope and scale, and within a short timeframe (0–3 years), then there might be a case for another referendum (should option ‘c’ above have been chosen) or the holding backing of triggering Article 50 indefinitely (at some point in medium term this option/threat of Article 50 being triggered would need to resolved for relationship building)].
2) I would only trigger Article 50 after the following events have happened and/or the following conditions are (ideally) in place:
— 2a. The UK holds the EU Presidency in the second half of 2017. I am aware PM Theresa May has said the UK is too busy to take over the EU Presidency role — I disagree, strongly. I think it is very important that the UK take the EU Presidency role for various reasons:
— 2a-i. To show that we are still a valid and formidable force within the EU and on the world stage. Not turning up to the party because we don’t have the human resource, time or because of domestic priorities are not in my eyes valid reasons. In my opinion, if we want to be seen as an international player we must act like one. Yes we are under staffed with regards to the future negotiations, but the timeline for when these resources are needed is one who have some control over. Yes, we do have domestic issues that need addressing, some new and many old, but this is a preplanned commitment and role where resources had been available. We can use EU Presidency role to our advantage, to demonstrate strength and capability not vulnerability.
— 2a-ii. To make the arguments for democratic, structural and general reform within the EU that the still needs to happen even if the UK is not to be part of the reformed EU. It is in the long-term social, economic and political interest of the UK to have a stable and functioning EU. The UK needs to respectfully highlight the failing of the EU institutions and what the potential risks and issues[xiv] are by a refusal to reform; the same concerns and issues that were partly the reason why the UK voted out of the EU. [Should the EU fail to acknowledge or address these issues — deciding it is ‘business as usual’ despite the current political climate (in many member states) and with some of the near future financial troubles on the horizons — then the UK should take the opportunity to determine how best to maximize ways to exploit this or any other weakness for the benefit of the UK (see below points).
— 2b. Until any financial and political implications are known should there be a new European/global banking crisis within the next couple of years. The onset of any banking crisis is uncertain (if indeed there will be one[xv]), but should there be an banking crisis for example in Italy, within Germany’s Deutsche Bank, etc. then I would be interested in seeing how the national governments as well as the EU handle with such a situation. Will the EU stick to the post 2008 crash rules intended to ensure supranational stability or will they change the rules (or change how they interpret the rules)? Would they allow any banks to fail or would they only allow certain banks to fail? The UK needs to be prepared and correctly positioned for such events as these will impact the post Brexit negotiations. [We could have our very own banking crisis depending how prepared or underprepared we are as well as how entwined we are to the fortunes of these struggling European banks.]
— 2c. Until the German and French elections have taken place and the drivers for their election policies, and the voting patterns and the implications of the outcome are comprehensively understood. I suspect these election results and voting trends, alongside potential global political and economic conditions over the next few years, will play a key part in the future direction and scope of the EU[xvi].
— 2d. Until significant trade deals have been agreed in principle[xvii] with other countries/markets. These trade deals must work for the UK and the population economically and socially. What cannot happen is that the UK leaves one union only to enter into other similar agreements with the same or worse flaws and with little or no protections for national interests[xviii].
I would concentrate on building relations and negotiating trade deals with the following countries or trading blocks in the initial stages:
— 2d-i. Commonwealth countries — especially Australia, Canada, India and New Zealand.
— 2d-ii. Other European countries not part of the EU — Iceland, Liechtenstein, Norway, and Switzerland. [I suspect the EU is already in talks with these countries — exerting its influence in trying to stop bilateral trade negotiations and deals between them and the UK. I envisage this arm-twisting being not as easy given the EU’s weakened political environment, the fact that these counties exist out side of the EU, and given the advantages the UK would be willing to offer as a preferred trade partner].
— 2d-iii. Any small other small or non-complicated trading nations where a mutually beneficial (even limited) agreement can be reached in a short amount of time.
— 2d-iv. Only once these trade deals in principle have been agreed upon and when the UK has sufficient negotiation and impartial[xix] legal resources at its disposal (see below) would I contemplate negotiating with the likes of the USA and China (unless they come to us with a deal that would be irresponsible to ignore).
— 2e. We have more than the required qualified experts and staff in the relevant departments and positions to deal with post Brexit trade negotiations and as a non EU members tate UK. Currently there is a lack of properly qualified and trained government negotiators, legal experts, border control officers etc. that are needed to get the best agreements for the UK and to manage the changes to international visa and general travel requirements. It would be foolish to trigger Article 50 until the country is better resources in this regards.
3) I would wait and see how the EU businesses react to UK business and exports whilst the UK is still a member state.
In the short to medium term has trade into Europe fallen? Is any fall within a ‘normal’ expected range? Does there appear to be political, business or social collusion to deliberately blacklist UK good? How does/should the UK respond to such practices of collusion or a fall in exports? Is a retaliatory policy needed? How will all this impact the divorce negotiation and future trade deals between the UK and the EU? Has the UK managed to line up other trade deals (see 2d)? Has the UK found new markets to export to or has it expanded its influence in existing markets? Etc.
4) I would offer all EU citizens/families that have made a positive contribution to UK society, whilst living in the UK for more than 5 years, permanent UK citizenship[xx].
[This timeframe would work backwards from the time that Article 50 is triggered[xxi]].
I consider a positive contributor to UK life as being someone who has consistently[xxii]:
— 4a. Worked and paid taxes[xxiii] in the UK within the last 5 years, and who has not been in any trouble with the ‘law ‘in the UK or abroad.
— 4b. Been a full-time academic student of good character within the last 5 years. (This will mostly be a child of EU citizens[xxiv]) and not been in any significant[xxv] trouble with the law in the UK or abroad.
— 4c. Dedicated themselves to charitable or homecare work in the UK within the last 5 years and not been in any trouble with the law authorities in the UK or abroad.
The UK really does need to keep as much of the talent, knowledge and good work ethic as it can, especially in under resourced areas like the NHS.
I do however have one more important condition when offering the instant UK citizenship as mentioned above. When and if EU nationals do become UK citizens and if the EU requires UK citizens to get a visa when travelling to Europe (why would they not end freedom of movement for UK citizens when the UK is looking to the very same?) then under these circumstances any EU national who becomes a UK citizens should not hold dual citizenship the EU and the UK[xxvi]. If you are a UK citizen then you are a UK citizen with all its benefits and draw-backs. By allowing dual citizenship for people born within the EU but now UK citizens you would fuel animosity, resentment, and distrust amongst some already distrusting and angry elements of society. What is needed post Brexit is social cohesion, integration and a sense of fairplay — dual citizenship would unfortunately undermine this (which is why I am not in favour of dual citizenship generally).
5) Finally, and probably most importantly, I would seriously attempt (alongside others of like mind) try and rebuild broken elements of civil society as well as local businesses & industries that have gone neglected for so many years.
These are the catalyst and fuel for frustrations, anger and divisions in society. I would listen — actually listen not just hear and pay lip service — to what the people of this nations have to say about their issues are facing; listen to what they want the future direction of the UK to be; listen to what they think the UK should stand for.
The genuine concerns and grievances that a large majority of the population has against the establishment[xxvii] need addressing — the sooner the better. To do this there needs to be a drive towards bring about a new inclusive, representative and open politics — a politics that utilises modern technology and changes how politician communicate and react to their constituents needs.
For too long governments have focused on business deals with rich national and international businessmen (and it is largely men) and allowed the flow of state subsidized profits[xxviii] to go to these already wealthy few elites and corporation. All of this has happened without governments really questioning the true value and long term benefit they bring to society.
Governments do change but the bullshit exploitation and revolving door between politicians and big businesses keeps swinging around. Meanwhile the average worker, child, student, care giver and patient etc. keeps gets exploited and deprived of services and facilities that they would have had access to — if governments looked after their interests (and businesses truly gave a damn). Governments it seems have calculated the price of everything that is important to them, but know the value of very little[xxix] in regards to what is important for the average person.
Post Brexit, all politicians, media organizations, businesses, etc. needs to focus on bringing societies together — on social inclusion, on academic education, on mental and physical health & education, on social enterprise etc. We, the people and politicians, also need to educate and inform ourselves of the true costs of the lifestyles we live, the consumer habits we have and the way we are conditioned (from various sources) to behave and think in a certain way. Once we know or are at least aware of these forces — then we can actually choose to behave and react in any way see fit.
[i] Even if David Cameron had not Foxtrot Oscar-ed from his duties as PM people would still have been asking these question and giving their opinions — probably just not as often.
[ii] This particularly difficult because the politicians have done such a great job of mudding the waters over everything EU referendum related in general.)
[iii] Bollocks! It is not a good advertisement for UK Inc. or competence if our Government cannot even get a straight forward ‘In’ or ‘Out’ referendum right, is it?
[iv] These individuals included, I believe, at least one politician also who was willing to do their job.
[v] The political establishment has received cold, hard and deliberate slap to the face (and a punch in the guts for good measure).
[vi] Within the next month as the longer it is left the more complications are introduced. These complications can be anything from local elections, boundary changes, business environment changes, geopolitical situations etc.
[vii] I think a maximum of 6 years to trigger Article 50 is more than enough. Ideally something of such importance as triggering Article 50 would suit a timeframe of between at 18months — 4 year, with the knowledge that the process, once Article 50 is triggered, to Leave the EU and renegotiate deals takes approximately 2 years (depending on political will).
[viii] As part of any second referendum campaign I’d like to think that there would be more robust debates and over a longer period of time (say a minimum of 6months) — and that these debates would for the large part happen outside of the large cosmopolitan cities that the media and politicians feel comfortable navigating in.
[ix]What you don’t want is another rushed referendum where the electorate is given sound-bites and biased information within a timeframe of a few months. What you don’t want from both sides is a two dimensional argument where things can only be black and white and having differing or opposing views come with instant accusations and childish name-calling. What the electorate need (and needed in the buildup to EU referendum) was detail and balanced arguments are that are not manipulated by fear-mongers, politicians and moneyed business elites.
[x] I am very cynical of politicians and the ‘establishment’ — year of reasons why.
[xi] FYI those that are curious — I understand why and accept anyone reading this blog who would choose option ‘c’, I would probably choose ‘c’ if I felt the EU would become more democratic, more representative, and would allow member states greater control over certain national policies. I would disagree with people who vote option ‘b’. For me, despite all the mistakes and problems of the EU referendum I still understand the need to respect the popular vote on this issue or at least give the electorate another option to vote. To ignore the popular vote and not allow the electorate another say, which option ‘b’ means, is just wrong and would bring with it lots of other national and international problems and risks.
[xii] In all fairness most people in general find fluid situations and uncertainty difficult. However, if a single parent, doing zero hours contract work on minimum wage can survive despite all the uncertainty of their life — then a politician, with many more of the advantages in life, should be able to also.
[xiii] I don’t dislike everything about the EU and I do recognize that there are many really good aspects of being an EU member state — but just like in the UK, the people running the EU don’t always have the electorates best interest at heart, or practice what they preach. I genuinely like people from European countries, as I like the vast majority of people from anywhere in the world, I’m a people person that loves to travel and explore.
[xiv] Some of these risks and genuine issues that lead to disenfranchisement of the populations and therefore need addressing are; a lack of democratic accountability, too much bureaucratic control, wasting public funds, the tolerance and refusal to punished banks and bankers whilst doing very little to support the average person following last financial crisis, uncontrolled free movement between nations etc… It is a very long list that risk undermining EU harmony. [The UK outside of the EU still also needs to address these concerns]
[xv] For me the odds for another crisis are very high. The political and financial world did not truly learn anything of significance from the 2008 crash. I believe many of vulnerabilities and issues that caused the 2008 crash still exist today, but this time in a more hostile economic, political and social environment.
[xvi] Britain inaction in holding back triggering Article 50 may itself play both a positive and negative force in these elections — which may (understandably) have its own repercussions from certain national parties.
[xvii] Until the final deal with the EU is known a finalised deal with other countries is unlikely as these other countries would want to know the full scope and advantages of having a trade deal with UK would entitle them to. However, some countries may be willing to sign bilateral deals with the UK irrespective of the outcome of any post Brexit EU agreement as it is beneficial to them — we should, if it is socially and financially viable, accept these deals (legally we can only sign these agreements after leaving the EU — any insistence by the EU that we cannot even talk and negotiate with to other nations deserves to be ignored). Based on recent history, I do not expect any sensible or socially acceptable agreement being available between the UK and the USA — so I would reprioritise resources elsewhere.
[xviii] I would not be in favour of a TTIP type agreement where corporations can sue governments in private courts for acting in the best interest of their population’s health and financial wellbeing. Many areas need ring fencing and protecting — the NHS, the environment, protect worker’s rights are just of a few. Failure to protect these institutions and rights would, I predict, bring about a fall in working and living standards and more inequality and gap between the haves and have-nots. This could quite easily lead to bigger protests and increased frequency of levels social unrest and disobedience. This would not be good for national unity, the economy or for national security.
[xix] Impartial from vested and corporation interest. With the UK populations interest in mind.
[xx] All those UK based EU citizens that do not take up the British citizenship offer will have to apply for visas (working, spouse etc.) and would be subject to the same application requirements and staying conditions as existing non-EU members.
[xxi] If there is a cross over roles in this 5 year period (no doubt there will be) — for example 3 years academic studies followed by 3 years of work — I would use a work within a 80% participation in role to time ratio. Those that meet the 80% or greater contribution ration will be given the choice of British citizenship.
[xxii] Consistently equates to a 80% or greater contribution ration. E.g. in regards to workers — those that have worked for at least 48 out of these 60months (or a 80% work to time ratio)
[xxiii] If they are in low paid work and means their tax contributions are small or non-existent, as long as they have not been employed as ‘cash-in-hand’ labour, then they should still be given citizenship. The important thing is that they have proven themselves to be consistently hard working individuals who want to positively contribute to society and depend on the state. (I am aware that sometime it very difficult to get jobs even if a person is hard working and has a desire to work — thus some EU nationals might just miss out on automatic citizenship based on my criteria — but for me there has to be prioritization and cut off point at somewhere — this is mine.)
[xxiv] If the parent(s) of such children do not meet the 5 years work criteria may still be allowed to stay in the UK but not offered automic citizenship. If their child is under 18 years old, and their household income is not dependent, and so long as they can meet the visa requirements relevant to them — then they can stay and apply for a visa from inside of the UK. (To reiterate a statement I made earlier, for me there has to be prioritization and cut off point at somewhere — this is mine.)
[xxv] These are children so some discretion is needed. One isolated incident of shop lifting a chocolate bar or underage drinking a few years back is not the same as being arrest for burglary or gang violence.
[xxvi] I would allow a grace period of two years where dual citizenship can be held, after that an individual must decide between UK and EU citizenship. [Generally I don’t understand why dual citizenship is allowed any circumstance or for any reason other than convenience.]
[xxvii] If politicians genuinely listen, learn and act — whilst giving people the capabilities and opportunities to control their own destinies then much of the distrust and anger in politicians and politics would eventually be set aside. If politicians, UK business leaders and corporations carry on behaving in a selfish profits and self-gain above everything else way — then there is a whole other variety of shit storms coming their way which will be even more volatile and difficult to control.
[xxviii] It is state subsidised profits when the state has to support and top up full time workers incomes. Large businesses and employers pay such low wages for no reason other than feeding the illogical ‘ever growing profit margins’ beast and earning bigger bonuses for doing so. It is state subsidised profits when the state has to make cut backs on services because businesses and international corporations find convenient loopholes for tax avoidance — depriving the nation and its people of valuable services and facilities. It is state subsided profits when the state offers discounts and incentives to entice large multinational companies to operate in the UK. By giving preferential treatment to preferred bidders and businesses (mostly all non UK based), councils and governments stifle local enterprise, restrict local interaction, networking and the chances of offering something back to the community which these businesses actually belong to. [I could go on.]
[xxix] This self-interest and willingness to ignore the consequences of exploitation and degradation of workers rights etc. by governments is not new — it has been happening it for centuries. It has happened under both Conservatives and Labour governments. It has happened whilst we are part of the EU and all the ‘protections’ it is supposed to afford. Maybe it’s just me noticing it more — but it has really got much worse over the last 15 years, and especially since the 2008 financial crash (maybe because of it). Governments play lip-service to recognizing that there are ‘issues’ but not many want to tackle the root of the problems. They are too afraid of short term pain brought about by standing up to the exploiters — for fear businesses moving elsewhere if we threaten their profit margins and projections (also I suspect it is due to personal and vested interest). Yes, some businesses may move abroad — but if we live in a true capitalist society (as everyone in governments seems to professes) other businesses, local businesses should fill the ‘void’, businesses that are willing to take less profit — but profit non the less — and importantly businesses that have a social conscious.