Ask Bullmore: Should I keep my enthusiasm for Brexit quiet?
A view from Jeremy Bullmore

Ask Bullmore: Should I keep my enthusiasm for Brexit quiet?

You could just be still feeling the high from kicking the government in the goolies, Bullmore writes.

Dear Jeremy, I’m actually looking forward to Brexit. Should I keep that quiet?

As everyone knows, we’re all members of a generation that demands instant gratification. We’re all hardwired to want things NOW! Yet here you are, looking forward to something that can’t take place for another two years at the absolute earliest and which many knowledgeable people believe can’t become a reality until about eight years after that.

So you’re actually looking forward to something the nature of which hasn’t yet been determined and which probably won’t affect your life directly until 2027.

I’ll be greatly surprised if the simple act of yearning can be stretched over such a long period of unrewarded time without losing much of its allure. But, in truth, I don’t think you’re looking forward to Brexit at all. You’re just continuing to enjoy the sense of victory you felt on hearing the result of the referendum; and why not?

The sulky, graceless, spoilt-child behaviour of many Remainers must give you daily pleasure – though I doubt even that is enough to keep you chuckling away for another ten years.

Your question, though, prompts me to drag into daylight two thoughts that have been churning around in my head since 23 June 2016. Here’s the first. I’m pretty sure that the referendum outcome would have been different had it not been for Strictly Come Dancing.

We’ve all become used to casting a vote for the sheer hell of it; for entertainment; for instant gratification. We don’t think much about the resulting consequences because there aren’t many consequences to think about.

So why not keep Ed Balls flailing away for another week? No harm done. Let’s have a laugh.

The high that some enjoyed from kicking the government in the goolies was much the same. And we didn’t think much about the consequences because even if we wanted to, which we probably didn’t, nobody could tell us what the consequences would be because nobody knew. 

So let’s have a laugh. No harm done.

And here’s the second. Very broadly speaking, those who voted to stay in Europe were younger and those who voted to get the hell out were older. But the consequences of Brexit, when we do eventually find out what they are, will be felt much more, and for much longer, by the younger than by the older.

And by the time we actually leave the European Union, quite a lot of those older folk who voted to leave will themselves have left – not just Europe but the planet. And a few million more will have joined the electorate – and it seems reasonable to suppose that they will have more in common with their older brothers and sisters than with their late grandparents.

All this seems to me to make a reasonable case, much nearer the time, for asking the opinion of those whom Brexit will actually affect – and who may even have some idea of what leaving the EU will actually entail.

If you were a chief marketing officer – and, for all I know, you may be – how would you feel about pressing the button on a nationwide new product launch, with no pre-testing, based entirely on a one-off piece of quantitative research conducted ten years earlier? 

Dear Jeremy, My team is pitching for a cosmetics account. One of the women on the pitch team doesn’t wear make-up. Should I try to persuade her to apply a dash of lipstick to impress the client or is this a horribly sexist request?

It’s not so much horribly sexist as downright dumb. Why should a cosmetic client be impressed by the sight of a woman wearing a dash of lipstick?

Perhaps you plan to tell them that she doesn’t normally wear lipstick and is only doing so now because you persuaded her to? In other words, you openly doubt the ability of this client to judge the value of a person’s contribution on an objective assessment of its content.

Already, you’ve lost the respect both of a key member of your team and the client in question. It could be useful – perhaps even decisive – to have on your side a woman who knows why she chooses not to wear make-up and understands those who feel the same.

You’re lucky.