The government lost the meaningful vote on Tuesday evening by 230 votes, a historic margin by any measure, but managed to survive the no-confidence vote. When we thought it might be impossible to bring remainers and leavers together, they were united to reject May’s deal. And the pro-European and Eurosceptic wings of the Conservative were united in their rejection of Corbyn. Our analysis tells us that politicians are very adept at telling us what they don’t like. But until they figure out what they do like, Parliament is fast becoming a global symbol of paralysis.
Since then the PM has been busy trying to reach out to the other side of the House to find a compromise position. Reports suggest that the compromise that May has been seeking is that red lines must change, so long as it is not hers. Corbyn has rejected May’s overtures for direct talks, but in the meantime, they have become pen pals exchanging letters. The PM will be announcing a Plan B on Monday, but we have a funny feeling that it might be Plan A with a few tweaks. It could be Groundhog Day all over again…
It is clear that something has to change and maybe Nick Boles’ cross-party bill to force an extension of Article 50, if the PM cannot get a deal by approved by the end of February, might be the catalyst for it.
You can read our response to the meaningful vote on our website here. It also got covered in The Drum, Little Black Book, Research Live and more.
Managing growth in uncertain times
On Wednesday, our Chief Executive took part in the Chartered Institute of Marketing’s roundtable on various challenges facing business today, such as trade tariffs, regulation, consumer trends and Brexit.
The event was moderated by Morag Cuddeford-Jones, Editor of the Institute’s Catalyst magazine, and included co-panellists Gemma Butler, Marketing Director, CIM; Fran Davies, Marketing Director, Weetabix UK & Ireland; and Simon Hall, Managing Director NextGen Marketing.
The event also focused on what the advertising industry does to meet the challenges of changing times and how the AA itself is meeting the fresh challenges and opportunities we face. As such, Stephen spoke about our Promote UK initiative to boost exports of British advertising services as well as the ongoing issue of declining public trust in our industry.
An update from the International Obesity Conference
On Monday, Matt Hancock, the Secretary of State for Health and Social Care, spoke at the International Obesity Conference.
Referring to ad restrictions, he said: “We’re tackling everything from reformulation of foods, to calorie labelling in restaurants, to restricting advertising and promotion of junk food, to encouraging schools to adopt a ‘daily mile’ so children are more active.”
The Secretary said that he is ‘no fan’ of interventions that punish the masses when the problem is only with a minority, and therefore recognised that there is a need for a much more targeted approach. He also spoke about the importance of food as part of a balanced diet and said that the support for action in tackling obesity is overwhelming.
The speech was covered in an article in The Grocer (subscription needed) by Ian Quinn, where Stephen was quoted: “It is interesting to note the recognition by the health secretary that a blanket – in his words ‘nanny state’ – approach to tackling the problem of obesity would not be effective and that a targeted method of combating this issue is needed. This is a perspective we at the Advertising Association have argued for some time.”
You can read the full transcript here.
Communicating with our members
On Thursday morning, we welcomed the top PR and Communications leads from across our membership to AA Towers, where we shared what we’ve been up to recently and how we can further support each other in our work.
Our guest speaker was Joyce Omope, Communications Officer at DCMS, who shared with the group ways in which we can collaborate and strengthen relationships with DCMS and she is keen for industry to get in touch.
Thanks to everyone who came along and do keep an eye out for upcoming meetings like this in the future. Drop us an email if you’d like to know more or if you have any questions.
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