The UK television industry – and by extension the whole digital media, tech and creative industries – need a hard hat as Brexit approaches. This is because the consequences that will rain down from a hard Brexit will be excrement of the toughest variety, polished or not.
To try and avoid a hard Brexit for the media the first thing the media needs to do is get noticed. That seems a strange thing to say; surely the whole news industry is about ‘noticing stuff’. But the truth is the media is poor on covering itself.
Humility? Hardly. Unfortunately, in a world of 24-hour coverage but nanosecond attention spans the media reaches for the most obvious and crass visuals and sign posts. So, an industry is not an industry unless it wears a hard hat or at the very least a hi-viz jacket. And, of course, politicians and their PR flunkies like this also; they don’t want to be seen speaking up for a metropolitan elite media or tech industry, not when there’s a weather-beaten fisherperson to be glad-handed.
Unfortunately, this conspiracy feeds the falsehood that fishing or any other hard hat and hi-viz activity, or indeed all of them put together, measure up anywhere near the size and importance of the ‘service industries’ (deliberately made to sound like one massive coffee vending machine?) of creatives, digital media and tech. And that’s without bringing in financial services.
In the Government’s new trade deal proposal – unravelling as I write – the Cabinet has agreed to be a rule taker on goods – because otherwise high profile hi-viz industries will just leave, and the Good Friday Agreement will crumble – but has (depending on your point of view) thrown services under the bus (the sane view), or freed them from the shackles of being able to operate freely across their biggest market in order they can chance their arm against players in unfamiliar and domestically thriving far away markets (the insane view).
Now that some of the lunatics who had been co-opted into asylum management are leaving, perhaps saner voices (Matt Hancock, c’mon now, please…!) will be heard? (Brexit Shambles up date: Boris Johnson resigns – at last – Jeremy Hunt, the only secretary of state in a generation who actually understood the NHS, becomes Foreign Sec and Matt Hancock, who at least seemed to have a handle on digital media, becomes Health Sec. DCMS gets Jeremy Wright, who I’m sure is a perfectly nice man but not a household name even in his own home. He was, apparently, Attorney General. So much for the media industry getting a higher profile.) Or, perhaps the loonies have been keeping a cunning plan quiet all this time and we are a few short days from them riding in on their Unicorns and explaining how cake consumption and cake preservation can happen simultaneously.
Gareth Southgate for Culture Secretary, or, indeed, the whole Cabinet, anyone?