Tag Archives: eu

Marks and Spencer closes European stores, heralds new ‘Global M&S’ strategy


2017-09-25 15.57.58Marks & Spencer is closing down its stores across Europe in a bold first step of its new ‘Global M&S’ trading strategy.

M&S proudly unveiled the plan in Brussels as its flagship store in the capital of Europe closed its doors for the last time, whilst Brexit negotiations in the same city head towards a triumphant conclusion. Explaining the decision to withdraw from Europe, M&S Chief Executive Steve Rowe heralded the innovative and forward-looking strategy.

‘This move to close all our EU stores will create a deep and special partnership with our European customers,’ enthused Rowe, as removers pushed past him to begin packing vans full of M&S crumpets and muffins for repatriation back to the UK.

‘Now we can finally embrace the sunlit uplands of global trading’, said Rowe. ‘We are leaving the EU, but we are not leaving Europe, oh no’, he asserted, whilst balanced precariously on a crate of innovative M&S raspberry jam. ‘Well, not unless you count closing all of our stores in France, Belgium, Estonia, Hungary, Lithuania, the Netherlands, Poland, Romania and Slovakia.’

‘We may be closing down our Champs-Élysées store, but we have just opened a new M&S Simply Food in Torrington Service Station, North Devon, that will welcome customers from all over the world’, announced Rowe proudly. ‘Our European customers will now be able to do some tourism in Devon whilst stocking up on microwavable dinners. Plus, our new outlet sells petrol as well, which the Brussels and Paris stores didn’t do. And you’ll need to refuel after driving the 776 km from Paris,’ he added.

‘Oh, look, it’s half price today on the Victoria sponge cakes, so help yourselves – you really can have your cake and eat it!’ exclaimed Rowe, in an attempt to deflect difficult questions. ‘Until you’ve actually eaten it, of course. Then the cake will be gone for good. I never really understood that metaphor to be honest.’

Although the company has launched its new strategy, it admits that some of the details remain to be defined, and it is asking others to fill in the gaps in a spirit of ambition and innovation.

‘Today, M&S is appealing to our European partners to be creative, and help us make Global M&S a success. It shouldn’t be up to us, our European consumers should be the ones to find a solution’, pleaded the CEO, surrounded by boxes of out of date cucumber sandwiches.

‘Perhaps they could hire drones to fly across the Channel to collect their chicken tikka masala?’ he suggested. ‘Or what about using pigeons to deliver shortbread – look, do I have to think of all the answers, we are in this together,’ he snapped, removing his foot from a box of crushed scones.

‘Yes, having a retail presence in major European capitals could be seen as good business sense by some,’ conceded Rowe. ‘But focusing all our efforts on Europe ignores the huge growth opportunities that we are seeing from Fiji. We are sure there will be great interest from the Pacific in our range of men’s tweed jackets and thermal underwear,’ he claimed, as he stumbled backwards into several boxes labelled ‘M&S Desserts – return to UK’.

With the rent on the huge Belgian store reported as being 10 million Euro per year and commercial leases in Belgium known to be of long duration with serious exit clauses, Rowe refused to be drawn on reports that M&S would still be liable for payments on the lease until well into the future.

‘It is possible that we may have to make some payments during a transitional period, but I promise this strategy will save us lots of money eventually. In fact, I’m so sure of it, I’ll put it on the side of a bus.’

‘Look, the details don’t really matter, everyone just needs to get behind the plan and stop talking M&S down’, sulked Rowe, in the face of sceptical questioning.

‘Anyway, we’ve decided now, it would look stupid to change our minds,’ he huffed, whilst angrily scraping sticky toffee pudding off his trousers.




Announcing the new ‘BRITOSTAR’ service

I am delighted to be here today to announce the launch of ‘BRITOSTAR’, an entirely new rail link between Great Britain and the rest of the world.

union jack train

This new, post-Brexit transport service will be the first time that Global Britain is able to directly connect with our international dominions, through a bespoke, and uniquely British deal.

Today I can reveal that BRITOSTAR will introduce a new service, departing from London Saint Pancras for a range of global cities, including Paris, Lille, and Brussels. From there, British businesses will find it easy to connect with the entire world, opening up totally new opportunities for travel, trade, and tourism that were previously restricted by our membership of the European Union.

The all-new BRITOSTAR service features our patriotic liveried train carriage, entirely decorated in the Union flag. Yes, this rail service is the true reflection of this government’s red, white and blue Brexit!

I would like to take this opportunity to correct some fake news that has been published about the BRITOSTAR service.

Contrary to some reports, BRITOSTAR will be entirely and gloriously independent of European rail services. It is true that we have concluded a partnership agreement with an existing service, whereby our BRITOSTAR carriage will be coupled to Eurostar trains in order to be towed to the continent.

But the lack of our own engine does not mean that we are dependent upon Eurostar for our service. As part of our bespoke agreement we have guaranteed that BRITOSTAR can decouple itself from the Eurostar train at any time it chooses. Simply by removing the connecting coupling, the BRITOSTAR carriage can transform itself into a splendid static embassy, able to represent British interests from a practical, stationary position on the tracks.

We have also successfully negotiated an agreement that our carriage will be the last one coupled to the Eurostar train, a premium position which will allow BRITOSTAR travellers to lead from behind as they set forth on the path to global domination.

Some have claimed that BRITOSTAR will simply mirror the existing Eurostar timetable, offering the same service, but in a different colour. This is a complete misunderstanding. After due consideration, the British government has evaluated different timetable options, and concluded that an itinerary which happens to match the existing Eurostar service suits our needs at present. However, in contrast to the pre-Brexit situation, we retain complete freedom to vary both the destination and timing of our service, according to British needs, and British aspirations. (Subject to future Eurostar decisions on timetabling and destinations, terms and conditions apply.)

Certain malicious reporting has even suggested that this entire exercise is a costly and pointless rebranding through which UK travellers receive an inferior, more expensive service, a pretence of independence, but no control over direction or destination.

To this I say… Behold, Our Union Jack Carriage, Behold The Sunlit Uplands, Behold Global Britain!

Why We Need Bilderberg in Brussels

Reading the reports of the Bilderberg Group meeting last week set me thinking : we need Bilderberg in Brussels.

The Bilderberg Group is the secretive annual conference of world leaders from the domains of business, politics, and finance. It met last week in the UK amidst controversy over exactly what was being decided behind closed doors. Some believe that the Group is a secret cabal which plots world domination. Others that it is just a forum for discussion.

Now, Brussels is in many ways the world capital of meetings. It’s what we do. All kinds of meetings. Working groups, strategy meetings, board meetings, trade association meetings, coalition meetings, Parliamentary meetings, seminars, roundtables, general assemblies… But we still have a lot to learn. I mean, Bilderberg meets once a year, for two days. And they manage world domination in that time. Now I’ve chaired and facilitated a lot of meetings in Brussels in my time. But world domination? In two days? Can you imagine if Bilderberg met in Brussels…


Look we really must get started, it’s twenty minutes past now – no, we had said registration at 0830, meeting starts at 0900 Mr Kissinger, you should know that by now…

Yes Mr Geithner, you can submit travel expenses – I think Mr Papalexopoulos is in charge of the money – yes, under the supervision of Mrs Merkel of course… no, Mr Flint we are not paying expenses in cash this year, nor in the form of off-shore credit derivatives – no, I don’t care if that is normal practice at HSBC…

First item on the agenda is our vision for global hegemony – yes, a point of order?

Well, yes, thank you Mr Davignon, so you would say that global hegemony is our mission, not our vision? Remember we did have our strategic vision working group look at this issue last – yes, sorry Mme Lagarde?

Ok, well I do accept that accurate translation of meeting documents in advance is essential if the meeting is to be a success – sorry, yes I think we had said six weeks in the original language but only three weeks for translations, no? Yes, thank you Mr Schmidt, it’s true that we could use Google Drive to share our meeting documents in advance, but there were some security concerns raised by Mr Ballmer on that one…

No, I have to defer to our governance working group on this one, we do have rules of procedure – EXCUSE ME, through the Chair please General Petraeus, I don’t know how you deal with interuptions in your organisation… oh, I see… well I suppose that is one solution, but we really don’t have the facilities for water-boarding here, so let’s just stick to the agenda shall we?

Look, we’ve been through this whole official languages / working languages debate several times already, I really don’t want to…

Yes, Mme Lagarde we did adopt that resolution about French being the cultural language of global domination, but English being the working language of oppression which helped us move forwards during that unfortunate episode with the monolingual lunch menus last time…

No, M. Trichet I was not minimising that for an instant – of course I appreciate the very delicate work of Carl Bildt in negotiating a compromise on that occasion, I think we did pass a resolution thanking him. Yes Mr Monti I am aware that you abstained on that motion because the pasta was not al dente

If we can just get back to the agenda please? Now, Mr Blair, you had a point about vision and mission I think? Well, absolutely, of course we mustn’t forget about values in this discussion as well – MRS MERKEL!! Please stop sniggering whenever Mr Blair mentions ‘values’…

Yes, thank you President Barroso it’s true that we should define ‘hegemony’ more closely. No. No. No. Look: for the last time ‘hegemony’ does NOT mean ‘jobs and growth’. Hegemony means power. No, I don’t have a Portuguese translation for power Mr Barroso, but I’m pretty sure that Open Method of Coordination is not a synonym, nor is it an appropriate tool for global domination.

Mr Mandelson? Yes, it’s true that the role of soft power is greatly underestimated by some delegates, but I think that Mr Fu Ying has a point when he observed that ‘coordination’ is not the quickest route to ‘domination’…

And if you recall, Mr Barroso we decided not to call our strategy Global 2020 at the last meeting, sorry.

Yes Mr Cameron? You have a problem with the word ‘Global’ …? Look, we already removed all references to ‘European’ from the strategy document in recognition of your difficulties with the word… but if we are not global then what are we?

…well, in the spirit of compromise of course… perhaps we could call it the Bilderberg Vision for Global Hegemonic Coordination Within a Framework of Subsidiarity.

OK, well done everyone, let’s break for lunch shall we?