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‘Come What May’- are you Engaging?

Nick Sterling shares his views on the General Election.

“It is clear from the public reaction, that the Conservatives got it wrong in the general election; badly wrong.

That said, from the point of view of the housing and construction sectors, the positive here is that a Conservative government, supported by a ‘confidence and supply’ alliance with Northern Ireland’s DUP, is unlikely to be problematic.

I believe the emphasis will be on minimising rebellion and fallouts to ensure as clear as possible a focus on Brexit negotiations, whether hard or soft. As we have been hearing over the past few days from Europe, these talks need to get going and get going now if we are to have any chance of striking a decent deal by 2019.

If there was any cross party agreement at all it was that much more housing is needed urgently. I expect housing funding issues to be quickly addressed by the new housing minister, Alok Sharma and the way cleared for housebuilding and delivery of increased housing supply.

However for me, the big lesson in the result of #GE17 that is as true of business as it is of politics is: never assume you know your customer or your people. If you think you know them you don’t and people bite when they feel taken for granted or ignored.

A core lesson I’ve learned in business is if you don’t engage with your people you will feel it. This is why at Osborne we place so much emphasis on ensuring the good quality of our customer service and customer engagement.

The Tories assumed they knew their electorate but they obviously didn’t. They simply didn’t engage well enough to understand the issues that matter to people.

As a result, the people have said to all politicians “enough is enough” – start listening to us’. You can see how that has worked to some extent in Jeremy Corbyn’s campaign.

So I now expect (hope!) to see much less ‘Punch and Judy’ politics and much more positive policies – from all parties.

Above all we need to hear the sound of silence from Westminster, as politicians of all parties listen to their electorate.

After all, the people are always right.”

Nick Sterling is Managing Director of Osborne Communities

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