What Brexit Means For Us

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One of our authors was asking the other day about the impact of Brexit on IndieBooks. So we thought we’d share our answer.

The most immediate impact is that our books will be more expensive to print. Almost all the paper we use comes from sustainable forests in Scandinavia, and paper is the biggest single cost in book production, and with the Pound down 20% since Brexit, that paper will rise in cost accordingly.

The second is that Brexit will have a profound effect on the economy, reflected in the eye-watering projections for the UK national debt: and if people have less money in their pockets, then book sales will suffer just like everything else.

The third is that our export sales will be worth more to us, again because of the fall in the value of the pound. That’s welcome – but though we’re always trying to export more, it’s still not going to do much to offset the negative impact.

The biggest impact, though, is cultural: the sense of the UK cutting itself adrift from the rest of Europe. Even if there were no financial cost, we’d still think it wrong to leave the EU because of the barriers it creates. It’s one reason we’re delighted to have three new European authors joining us in 2017, and why we’ll be promoting our books much more in the rest of Europe too.

And if you want to know why it happened, then watch out for ‘Explaining Cameron’s Catastrophe’,  in which Sir Robert Worcester and his colleagues explore the wealth of polling data to reveal why people voted as they did and what it means for the future. This follow-up to ‘Explaining Cameron’s Comeback’ is due out in January 2017.

 

 

Robin and the Referendum

Today’s guest blog comes from John Williams, author of ‘Robin Cook: Principles and Power’ and ‘Williams on Public Diplomacy’, and press secretary during Robin Cook’s three dramatic and turbulent years as Foreign Secretary.

Robin Cook’s early death robbed British politics of one of its most distinctive and principled stars and, ten years on, his struggle to reconcile those principles with the realities of power remains as relevant as ever. John reflects on what today’s politicians – and voters – can learn from Robin Cook: a man who believed that, despite everything, politics can still be a force for good.

The referendum would have gone the other way had the champions of Britain in Europe spoken with hope and confidence for their case, rather than with fear and no confidence in the public’s intelligence. Nobody has dared be positive about Europe for a very long time.

Imagine if the case for Europe had been put like this:

‘It is a delusion to imagine that Britain is stronger if it is isolated. The best way to project British values and British interests is by doing so in partnership with those who share our values: democracy, human rights, justice and freedom….’

Or:

‘We are at the same time patriotic and pro-European…..:The fact is that the national identities, cultures and traditions of the democratic nations of Europe are too strong to be subsumed. The EU is unique in world history. No other nations have done so much to pool their strength in the common interest while retaining the sovereignty and identity that make them distinct and diverse.’

Robin Cook used a narrative of British confidence in Europe to win an earlier argument about our place in the EU, when he was Foreign Secretary negotiating the entry of Eastern Europe into the Union in 2000. Then, as now, the debate was framed by the Eurosceptic mythology about a superstate. The difference was that then the anti-EU case was all about fear, the pro-EU case based on hope: a stronger Britain in a wider Europe. Now, in the 2016 referendum, the Remain campaign dared not put its faith in its own case. Remainers destroyed their credibility by scaremongering.

I doubt that any of them troubled to look up Robin’s speeches and articles to see how the argument can be won. George Osborne is an unlikely disciple. We can be sure that Jeremy Corbyn didn’t consult the Cook legacy.

The current Labour Party (is it post New Labour or pre-modern Labour?) is struggling to find a way of talking about immigration. How about this?

‘Legitimate immigration is the necessary and unavoidable result of economic success, which generates a demand for labour faster than can be met by the birth-rate of a modern developed country. Every country needs firm but fair immigration laws. There is no more evil business than trafficking in human beings and nothing corrodes social cohesion worse than a furtive underground of illegal migrants beyond legal protection against exploitation. But we must also create an open and inclusive society that welcomes incomers for their contribution to our growth and prosperity.’

That comes from a speech famous – at the time – for Robin describing chicken tikka masala as ‘a true British national dish’.

Open-minded, positive, internationalist, hopeful for Britain’s future, confident in our country… Not a bad strategy for our time, should Labour be looking for one.’

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The 2015 Election Explained

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The authors discussing the previous title in the series, ‘Explaining Cameron’s Coalition’, at a Hansard Society event in 2011.

Since Labour’s 1997 landslide, political analyst and pollster Sir Robert Worcester and his MORI colleagues have produced a definitive account of each UK general election. And we’re excited to say they’ve chosen IndieBooks as publisher for the latest in the series. ‘Explaining Cameron’s Comeback’ analyses hundreds of surveys and focus groups to make sense of the campaign from the voter’s perspective: what they really thought of Cameron and Miliband; what made the 2015 campaign so unusual; why it made sense to go negative, despite voters’ claimed dislike of it; and why the pundits read the polls wrong. They also use trend data going back six decades to help show what the 2015 election result means for the next five years of British politics, from the European Referendum to the implications for the 2020 election. Sir Robert’s co-authors – Roger Mortimore, Paul Baines and Mark Gill – are all leader experts on political marketing and psephology in their own rights, so ‘Explaining Cameron’s Comeback’ will have every justification for being called ‘definitive.’

Publication is scheduled for early January and we’ll be opening for preorders in December.