Brexit and Breakfast

Writing a blog for our Bed & Breakfast business means that it is important that you do not offend guests and readers by straying on to topics like Brexit. Our blog is here to inform our visitors, provide some reflections of life in Argyll and encourage people to visit Inveraray and stay at Powdermills Bed & Breakfast.

The United Kingdom is really divided in a way I have never experienced in my lifetime. It is a taboo subject because everyone has such polarised views. It is not a discussion that is struck with British guests but we have found all other guests do raise Brexit.

So when I decided to write a blog on Brexit, I am trying not to offend anyone’s deep held views. Rather, to provide a reflection on our observations and experiences. I want to make only three points.

Firstly, Brexit has provided considerable anxiety and worry into our business. We have only been trading for two months. Powdermills Bed & Breakfast has been busier than we could have imagined and we have had fantastic feed back from customers. However, the ongoing uncertainty of what exactly is going to happen, is affecting our confidence.

Will there be a deal? Will there be no deal? Either way we are anxious that foreign visitors will be discouraged from visiting Scotland or that whatever is resolved, there will be a recession. For me, our politicians’ main function is to make our country thrive and prosper, not to make our businesses and economy worse.

Secondly, we have been overwhelmed by the goodwill and friendship that we have had from our European guests. We have already welcomed guests from Italy, Spain, Ireland, France, Portugal. Switzerland, Ukraine, The Czech Republic, Slovenia, Germany and Poland. All of our guests have shown considerable affection to Scotland and the UK. They are outward looking, only too pleased to be linked to our country. However, most of all our visitors have expressed shock and incredulity that we want to leave the EU. Reflecting on these conversations, there is a widespread empathy from Europeans towards our country which our media does not reflect. To leave this positive goodwill seems to me to be looking backward to another age.

Finally, every time we welcome a guest we proceed through discussions on breakfast, coffee, Sue’s now renowned scones and cakes; and where to go for an evening meal. There are five or six good places to eat, but most opt for the George Hotel or The Samphire Fish Restaurant.

But all these food and retail outlets in Inveraray are staffed and managed by young Europeans. In fact, we know of one Spanish worker in the George Hotel who has been here 8 years. Of course, Inveraray is no different to Campbeltown, Oban, the rest of Scotland and most of the UK.

But the question is ‘how are all these jobs going to be filled when we lose the workers because of Brexit?’. Scotland’s biggest problem is not immigration – it is emigration. Our own family is a prime example, my son lives and works in Mexico City, both my daughters live in London and one will soon move to Belgium in 2020.

I am not stating one way or another what should happen with Brexit.

But what I am saying is simple. Our politicians and leaders must make it their duty to make the economy strong so that our small businesses, like Powdermills Bed and Breakfast can thrive; they need to look outward and our country needs to be a good and friendly neighbour; and finally, our politicians must provide policies that will attract the best people from Europe and the World to come to Scotland and build a thriving diverse economy.