Making new friends and keeping old ones

There was news from Japan’s Prime Minister Shinzo Abe that Britain will be welcome to join the Trans-Pacific Partnership after its departure from the European Union. The TPP is an agreement between 11 countries, including Japan, Canada, Australia and Malaysia.

This was of some comfort on a chilly Monday morning. As we all peer into the dark tunnel that is Brexit here in the UK (and listen to the Scottish National Party discuss whether a second referendum is required for an exit from the UK and to stay in the EU at their conference), it is nice to see that there is some light at the end of the tunnel. We are heading into the unknown, and Japan has reached out the hand of friendship to the UK. It is a very good thing to see and hopefully more co-operation will be forthcoming from allies.

Meanwhile, Lakeland and LacPatrick Dairies have agreed a merger in Ireland. These two concerns operate on both sides of the border, and have over 3,200 milk suppliers and a collective milk pool of some 1.8bn litres. The new co-operative will be the second largest dairy processor in Ireland (Northern and ROI together), with a combined annual turnover of over €1bn. This is another example of how Ireland’s interests are moving closer, no matter which side of the border a dairy processor happens to be on, or what political parties think is the best idea for the island.

In fact, I think now this is the time for the political demagogues who seem intent on scoring points to quieten down – they’ve had their day and we have all probably had enough of what they think on any number of topics – and for implementing practical approaches to the issues we all face as we head into the wind in 2019. All countries and companies will benefit from less rhetoric and more sensible behaviour from their leaders.

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