There’s currently much uncertainty in how citizens and businesses will be affected by Brexit across the nation and regardless of individual views on the pros and cons of the decision to leave the EU, it’s apparent to everyone – bar those looking only at the very short term – that there are many more questions than answers at the moment.
This, along with potential further uncertainty around Indyref2, raise real concerns about the direction Scotland’s future will take and the impact on our daily lives. And we ignore at our peril the negative impact on jobs and inward investment resulting from the effects of a sustained lower oil price.
The protracted recovery of the Brent Crude oil price that fell sharply from somewhere above $100/bbl to a low point below $30/bbl – and which two years onwards is currently hovering above $50/bbl – is hampering the reinstatement of confidence and much needed re-investment into the North Sea oil and gas industry. Whereas there’s been a significant and necessary focus on cost base reductions during this period, there remains great concern that the political uncertainties associated with Brexit and Indyref2 may yet hasten the departure of some operators from our shores.
Am I a pessimist? Definitely not, but despite having spent three decades in the oilfield industry before moving into full-time professional sport as vice chairman of Aberdeen FC, I retain a common outlook inasmuch that I take nothing for granted as each day passes. This has served me well over the years in business, in life and certainly in football – and it’s a mindset that many of my fellow Scots would also do well to adopt, particularly in the light of the bigger picture changes referred to above.
Ultimately though, our concerns will be displaced by the realities of the eventual outcomes, and we’ll do what Scottish folk are renowned for – we’ll get on with our lives and adapt as needed. However in the meantime it’s important that we all maintain focus on our respective objectives and continue to drive our economy upwards.
This will demand that we are less risk averse to necessary future change as we enter into a new era of uncharted waters. The private sector in particular therefore needs to focus on what is currently within its control and trust that our political and other leaders will be bold in supporting the growth and investment that cannot be stymied due to uncertainty about what the future holds for Scotland.
Changes happen globally with the passage of time, there’s no stopping the momentum and necessary change for the better needs to be embraced – whatever people’s individual views.
So, we need to worry less about the future and re-allocate our attention and energies into getting ourselves into better shape than we were yesterday and seek new opportunities to add value each day, every day in whatever we’re involved with.
George K Yule is executive vice chairman of Aberdeen Football Club