That Was The Year That Was
29 December 2016
Crikey: what a year! Wherever you stood on the important issues of 2016, you will have to admit it was quite a roller-coaster of a year. And so binary! Everything felt like it was a kind of Hobson’s choice: Leave or Remain; Boris or Gove (neither, as it turns out); Zac or Sadiq (for the Londoners); Donald or Hillary; Scarlett or Adam; Matt or Saara; and most recently, Ore or Louise. Choices, choices, choices.
One expects that in all these matters around half of you were disappointed; and the other half, elated. Apart, perhaps, from the US presidential election – where one suspects that slightly more than half of you will be struggling with that one.
Beyond these moments of the extreme, the year – for the construction and manufacturing sectors – is best characterised as being one of uncertainty. The blizzard of funny numbers didn’t help: at any given moment demand, values, prices, output etc etc could be up, down or static. These respective positions could both either alternate or exist simultaneously.
Such contradictions don’t – in the year of the anti-expert – help public or professional perception of experts; many of whom continue to tell us how Brexit, the lead cause of the current uncertainty, will be realised when, surely, the only honest response has to be a resounding ‘don’t know’!
So if we have a wish for the New Year and 2017, it is that we have some sense of certainty (insofar as that is ever possible) and direction. Whether Brexit is hard, soft, lingering, fuzzy, sharp, quick, slow or even ‘at all’; one would like some equilibrium so that all of us can better plan and position ourselves for the future – good, bad or indifferent as it may be.
That doesn’t stop us taking responsibility for ourselves and the outcomes that are within our control; and we look forward to continue partnering some of the most innovative, entrepreneurial and progressive businesses – whether retailers, housebuilders, fabricators, suppliers, specifiers and so on – it has ever been our pleasure to work with.
Indeed, if there was one offset to the uncertainly to be enjoyed, it is the almost inexhaustible dynamism and optimism of the industry; and its determination to make the best of whatever circumstances it finds itself in.
This, if nothing else, gives us great cheer for 2017 – and we look forward to working with all of you in these most interesting times.
Happy New Year!