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Westlake Legal Group > Posts tagged "Business"

Toys ‘R’ Us R Back

Westlake Legal Group SignToysRUs715 Toys ‘R’ Us R Back Toys R Us The Blog Economy Business

Great news for children — and grandparents.

Toys ‘R’ Us is returning by year’s end. In more modest form, but still back.

Toys ‘R’ Us was the massive go-to temple of toys with vast aisles of eye-popping playthings for children, grandparents and parents that went out of business early last year.

The rebirth is still supposed to be a secret. But excited toy makers spilled the beans about the plans to move back into the business that once brought in $7 billion a year to the nation’s top toy chain.

It was founded in 1948 by Charles Lazarus as a children’s furniture store just as America’s postwar baby boom took off. Fourteen years ago Bain Capital, Kohlberg Kravis Roberts, and Vornado Realty Trust took the company private with plans for an IPO.

But declining sales, a series of disruptive management changes and the financial burden of debt from the buyout began a downhill slide that canceled the IPO after Walmart captured first place in toy sales.

Almost two years ago the company filed for bankruptcy, listing $4 billion in liabilities. Then in March 2018, executives announced a liquidation, closing 740 U.S. stores, 100 outlets in Britain and more in Australia. Some 200 Canadian stores were sold separately.

The return of this toy story is reportedly scheduled for this Christmas season, starting with a half-dozen stores of about 10,000-square feet, about a third the size as before, and an e-commerce site. Lenders have been toying with the idea for sometime with the name Tru Toys.

The new stores will have play areas where children (oh, all right, adults too) can try out the toys.

A business return may not be all that easy. Amazon, Target and Walmart have expanded into the toy void. And some toy makers who lost money in the liquidation may be hesitant.

But others have signaled enthusiasm for the return. “This market needs a self-standing toy store, that’s for sure,” said Isaac Larian, CEO of top-performing toy maker MGA Entertainment. “We will sell them inventory.”

So, turns out Geoffrey, the corporate giraffe mascot, may not be extinct after all.

The post Toys ‘R’ Us R Back appeared first on Hot Air.

Westlake Legal Group SignToysRUs715-300x162 Toys ‘R’ Us R Back Toys R Us The Blog Economy Business   Real Estate, and Personal Injury Lawyers. Contact us at: https://westlakelegal.com 

Damian Flanagan: What drives the Conservatives’ underlying problems? For answers, ponder our exile from the cities of the north.

So why am I even writing about this secretive group of no-hopers? Because they happen to be called “The Conservative Party” – and it currently runs the country. Also, I happen to be one of them, having recently taken over the running of the newly reformed Manchester, Withington Constituency Conservative Association.

The position of the Conservative Party not just in Manchester, but in cities across the North of England is so dire that it is probably beyond the imaginings of people in the rest of the country and certainly seems to be a blind spot for Conservative Campaign Headquarters. There hasn’t been a single Conservative councillor elected in Manchester for over 25 years, and until two years ago, the council was a hundred per cent Labour, with no opposition whatsoever – leading to zero scrutiny of any Council policies.

In the recent local elections,t he Conservatives sunk to a new low in Manchester, attracting just 6.5 per cent of the vote, half that achieved by both the Greens and Liberal Democrats, and barely 1/9th of the 58.8 per cent achieved by Labour.

The opposition to Labour in Manchester now consists of three Liberal Democrat councillors (who recently complained that the council was too “right wing”). There is also not a single Conservative councillor on the councils in Liverpool, Sheffield, Leicester, South Tyneside, Gateshead, Newcastle…

So why should people elsewhere care about this? If Northerners like Labour so much, shouldn’t they just be allowed to get on with it?

You could argue that the local elections were an aberration and that people were venting their frustration with the Brexit stalemate in Westminster, that two unrelated issues – local government and national government – were being conflated.

Yet the crisis over Brexit and the full-scale retreat of the Conservative Party from many cities in the north of England are profoundly connected.

Think back to the last time that the Conservative Party enjoyed thumping majorities of over 100 in the House of Commons and was able to act decisively. You have to go back to Margaret Thatcher and the 1980s, a time when the Conservatives still had MPs in urban constituencies in places like Manchester, had a considerable group of representatives on the council there and could appeal to voters in northern cities.

Since being rooted out of those northern cities in the 1990s, the best the Conservatives have been able to hope for are slim majorities in general elections, leaving them highly vulnerable to party divisions over Europe.

Having the vision and doggedness to produce policies that re-engage with the inhabitants of places like Manchester, Liverpool, Sheffield, Leicester, Tyneside and Newcastle has seemingly not been in the mindset of anyone in the Conservative Party. That needs to change urgently.

The fact is that the Conservatives have for over 22 years been incapable of ruling without the support first of the Liberal Democrats and now of the Democratic Unionists. Parliament has been paralysed, Brexit frustrated and finally the Conservatives went begging to Labour for agreement with their policies. All these things are intimately connected to the fact that there has not been a Conservative councillor elected in Manchester for 25 years.

Imagine, though, that the Conservatives were to declare their determination to win back these “lost” Northern cities, starting by setting up a permament office in Manchester and sending some of their best people to find out what exactly is going on and to find a solution to the ingrained antipathy to Conservatives. Supposing we were to make it a marquee policy that we will not, as Conservatives, accept the age-old, north-south wealth divide – why should we? There is no reason whatsover why the north should be poor.

Let’s commit ourselves as Conservatives to those neglected northern cities by taking radical measures: offering tax incentives for companies to set up there and moving government departments north – the relocation of sections of the BBC to Salford and the creation of Media City there has been transformational in the economy of that area.

Let’s commit ourselves to the end of failing, inner city northern state schools which trap many children in a cycle of ignorance and poverty for life, and demand that minimal standards are met instead, and that we will closely monitor and put in targetted resources to these areas until that happens.

Imagine if people in the North began to think of the Conservatives not as the “Nasty Party” only concerned with their own interests and support base in the south, but rather as the visionaries who lifted them, once and for all, out of relative poverty and offered unprecedented opportunities, rediscovering the entrepeneurial drive and world-beating heritage of these post-industrial cities.

In Manchester, the populace are constantly told, over and over, that the source of all problems are “Tory cuts”. It is a matter of almost existential, religious belief.

The local governments of such cities as Liverpool, Manchester, Sheffield and Newcastle – cities which once led the world as centres of invention and industry – tend to focus on a culture of welfare. There is little sense that a spirit of enterprise, self-reliance and sense of public good is required to guarantee a prosperous future: it’s this compassionate and engaged Conservative vision that the North needs to rediscover.

As Conservatives, we need to support and nurture such a vision. But we are not going to manage it as a London-centric organisation that just views the cities of the north as largely unwinnable provincial backwaters.

The Conservative revolution that needs to begin in cities across the North should also transform the Conservatives nationally. The Conservatives cannot be merely a party of the South and the countryside: it must strongly engage with the interests and concerns of England’s northern cities.

Many people think the great irresolvable fault line in British politics lies between Britain and the EU or else on the border of the Irish Republic. But delve further into what exactly is causing the underlying weakness and reliance on coalitions in Conservative governments, and you will see that it is the long Conservative exile from the cities of the North which is a chief cause of what is stopping the UK advancing forward with decisiveness and unity as a nation.

Real Estate, and Personal Injury Lawyers. Contact us at: https://westlakelegal.com 

Victoria Smart: The story of a banker, an industrialist, and Brexit

Ruth Smart is the Founder and Director of Tranect Ltd and is election agent for Knowsley Conservatives.

I would like to tell you a story of a banker, an industrialist and Brexit.

A young man from our bank came to visit my company a few days ago. Apparently we are now borrowing so much money from them that we qualify for the personal services of a Senior Relationship Manager. Or maybe the bank just wanted to check on the assets against which their money had been borrowed.

“Please excuse the mess” I apologised, as I led him through to our production area: “We are in the middle of moving our factory. Let’s start at our stores, where I can then walk you through what we do and point out the machines you financed.” He followed cautiously as we made our way round crates stenciled for exporting, stillages of parts and bustling workers.

Stopping in a temporarily clear area, I gestured around me. “Raw material comes in here, which we don’t issue until the job can be completed without stopping. Average work in progress is less than one week, and as we build to order we have no finished goods stock.”

“All this racking here has material we currently buy from the EU but, because of Brexit, we have just borrowed money from you to buy this Italian machine over there, so that we can make this material ourselves. In future, we will be able to make this week what we need next week, instead of waiting four to six weeks for deliveries from Europe, and it will also make us more Brexit-resilient.”

At the “Brexit” word he raised an eyebrow, “How much will Brexit impact your business ?”

Pointing at the crate going to China, I explained: “Half of our exports go outside the EU, and we are trying to build those up with help from the Department of International Trade. Half of our exports go to the EU and those pallets over there are going to Holland, Germany and Denmark.”

“I don’t know what will happen to our EU business after Brexit, but we have all the government-suggested systems in place: E-Z certs, EORI, TSP, DDN and we have done everything else recommended by our local Chamber of Commerce. We are as ready for Brexit as we’ll ever be.”

“Good” he replied, “Will this new machine also cut your costs ?”

Shaking my head, I sighed. “We can’t compete with the mega factories in Europe running 24/7 or with the sweatshops in the far east paying a dollar a day. Our USP is speed of delivery. If a customer knows what they want in six month’s time then they buy cheaper abroad. If they need it next week they come to us, and they don’t quibble about price. Our aim is to be the quickest rather than the cheapest, which also provides us the flexibility to react quickly to new opportunities.”

Looking around at all the activity he asked, “When are you moving and how disruptive will that be ?”

“Next month”, I replied. “We are only moving a few miles, to a unit by the docks that we bought with a mortgage your bank provided. It needed gutting and completely refurbishing, but that meant we could fit it out to suit our needs. It’s a bit manic at the moment, but my son and son-in-law are managing the move and they are trying to minimise disruption to our ongoing business.”

Looking through his notes he pointed at a number “How will your mortgage repayment compare with your rent here ?”

“Cheaper,” I grinned, “We bought the new unit at a knock-down price because of the state it was in and, even with the cost of the refurbishment, it still reduces our fixed costs, which also gives us more resilience if the UK economy falters after Brexit.”

As we made our way back to the relative calm and quiet of my office, he asked: “Do you think the UK economy will falter ?”

Shrugging, I gestured for him to sit at my conference table, and moved a couple of packing boxes out of the way to sit down opposite him.” I don’t know what’s going to happen with Brexit. I’m not clever enough to see the future, but I will tell you this. We as a family discussed what the implications would be, made a plan, sorted out the financing, implemented the plan and by the end of next month we will be Brexit ready.

“We are moving to a factory with double the space and buying new machines with help from your bank. We have invested our profits from last year into fitting out our new factory, and we are doing all that because we believe that this country has a great future. Brexit may cause problems for some businesses but it will also create opportunities, for those of us who are willing and able to take advantage of those opportunities.”

“This is very impressive,” he commented looking up from his notebook. “I can see now why my colleagues rate you and your business so highly. When can we lend you more money to support your growth ?”

Reflecting on that visit made me realise that, after three years, all those businesses who want to prepare for Brexit will have done so by now. Yes, there will be losers from Brexit who will dominate the headlines, since bad news sells newspapers, but there will also be winners among those who have made the effort to prepare for Brexit. We have now perhaps reached the point where we are as a nation as Brexit-ready as we’ll ever be.

Real Estate, and Personal Injury Lawyers. Contact us at: https://westlakelegal.com 

Woman-owned networking company The Founding Moms comes to Fairfax

Westlake Legal Group cowomen-1450082-unsplash Woman-owned networking company The Founding Moms comes to Fairfax The Founding Moms Local Moms Jill Salzman Family Features entrepreneur Business
Photo by CoWomen

Rebecca Spain knows what it’s like to run her own business.

The single mom of three started her journey in Maryland through a personal training business and recently moved to NoVA as a consultant for the local fitness industry. Now, she’s hoping to bring her gathered experience to the table (a roundtable that is), in order to help other local moms in the business sector.

In April, Spain stumbled upon The Founding Moms (TFM), a networking company run by “momprenuer,”  Jill Salzman, that connects local mothers together to offer shared resources in the business world.

Spain related heavily to the group, as the biweekly meetings of local professionals seemed more casual and beneficial to moms in particular, rather than standard networking groups or business luncheons.

“I wanted to connect with others, and it was something that I had in my heart for a while,” says Spain. “So, instead of trying to start something entirely on my own, I partnered with Jill to bring the group to this area.”

TFM’s Fairfax County chapter will officially launch with a kick-off meeting at Eggspectation in Chantilly on Wednesday, June 19. Spain will lead the discussion on business- and mom-related topics, and attendees are encouraged to share stories with one another about their successes and struggles of being working mothers.

“My goal is to connect people and create community,” says Spain. “Connecting people face-to-face is much more powerful [than digitally] and this way we can unite people, bring them together and share resources as a place for overall growth.”

Biweekly meetings will be held on topics ranging from digital marketing to getting past the “idea phase,” every second and fourth Wednesday of the month.

Attendees can register for the free kickoff event by RSVPing through The Founding Moms website for the Fairfax chapter, and can also sign up for one of two memberships if interested in continuing participation.

One membership allows access to Salzman’s online webinars on a range of business-focused topics, and another grants access to all upcoming meetings in the Fairfax area, known as “exchanges.”

As for Spain’s hopes for the success of the organization in NoVA, she says, “Local moms need to be in a community to become a strong and supportive community. When we help each other along the journey, how much stronger can we be for each other?”

For more information, visit foundingmoms.com// Eggspectation: 5009 Westone, Chantilly; free

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Sajid Javid: I’m in this race because I want to level the playing field, to lower the ladder to everyone.

Sajid Javid is the Home Secretary, and MP for Bromsgrove.

The first time I felt like an outsider was when I was six years old. My cousin told me we needed to change our walking route to school because of the ‘bad kids’ who supported the National Front.

At school, when I wanted to do the O levels and A levels I needed, I was told that kids like me should know their limits. When I was a new graduate seeking a job in the City, I met old-school bankers in old school ties who thought what my father did for a living was more important than what I could do. And when, after 20 years in business, I wanted to give back to my country by moving into politics and looked for a place in the only party I had ever supported, there were those who told me it just wasn’t for me, or that I should join Labour.

So I am used to people trying to tell me what I can’t do, and I’m used to proving people wrong. That is why I am optimistic and determined about what we Conservatives can do, together, to fix the problems we are facing as a party and as a country.

I have put myself forward to become the next Prime Minister of our United Kingdom because I believe I am uniquely placed to deliver on the three most significant challenges that our country faces. We need to deliver Brexit. We need to unify our party and our country. And, for the good of that country, we need to keep Labour out of government.

I’ve got a credible and honest plan to deliver Brexit. I’ve got the background, experience and positive vision for the future that will bring us together. And if we get all that right, then we will keep Jeremy Corbyn out of Number 10.

This is a moment for a new kind of leadership and a new kind of leader. We can’t risk going with someone who feels like the short-term, comfort-zone choice. Our party needs to “change to win”, not unlike we did a decade ago.

At a time when our country feels so divided, we cannot afford to divide it still further. We cannot call ourselves a One Nation party if whole swathes of that nation don’t think we share their values or understand their needs, whether that’s young people, people from minority backgrounds, or working-class people who don’t see anyone who knows what their lives are like.

I’m not in politics to be a player in the game of thrones. I want to make a difference. I take people at face-value. I’m more of a man of action than words. I first took an interest in politics when I realised the power government had to give – or not give – people the opportunities they deserve. That will be the acid test for my policy agenda.

For me the fundamental question about the role of the state is whether – as the socialists believe – government should tell people what to do and how to live, or whether – as Conservatives have always said – it should give them the freedom and support they need to achieve their potential. I know where I stand, but for too many people this has become a discussion about abstract ideas rather than very real lives.

I’m in this race because I want to level the playing field, to lower the ladder to everyone. For me hard work, public services, and my family were the success factors. I want everyone in this country to feel that if they have a go, they will have every opportunity to succeed. That requires world-class public services. For me, public services aren’t just names of government departments, they were my ladders of opportunity.

My biggest priority would be education. Our schools, colleges and universities are the biggest engines of social justice we have. I recently laid out a long-term plan for education, ensuring that every child has the chance to get on in life. We need an education system which supports our FE colleges, encourages skills and apprenticeships and allows lifelong learning to become the norm.

We also need to reset our relationship with teachers and other public sector workers, like nurses and the police. I have committed to significantly increasing resourcing for our police, providing enough to get an additional 20,000 officers on our streets.

If we want world-class public services, we need a vibrant economy to pay for them. That means a low tax economy, and a Conservative Government which backs business, rewarding those who work hard and take a chance. It means we need to invest in growth.

I have outlined plans for an ambitious new £100 billion National Infrastructure Fund, to invest in projects which will ensure the British economy is fit for the future. It would prioritise projects outside London and the South East, recognising that we need to rebalance the economy, and deliver economic growth all around the country. This, in turn this will help us build a more united country.

This does not just depend upon economic growth. We must also focus on the root causes which damage life chances. The measure of any society is how we help the most vulnerable. I would focus on early intervention, look at how we tackle addiction, and focus on rehabilitation of offenders.

I believe a vital part of this equation is the role of the family. I was lucky to have a family who constantly encouraged me, but so many problems stem from family breakdown. I would make it a priority to look at how we can strengthen families right across Government.

We also need to build a stronger national family, including overcoming the sense of haves and have-nots. The housing crisis has driven a huge wedge between generations. As Communities Secretary I increased building rates to the highest levels in decades, but we need to go much further, building hundreds of thousands more homes, whole new towns, and get home ownership back up.

I am passionate about our country because, for my family, Britain was a choice. They came here for freedom, security, opportunity and prosperity. It is because of these strengths that I have always been an optimist about Britain’s future. And I believe if we can unite both our party and our country, we can secure for future generations all the things that make this country a beacon for the world.

Real Estate, and Personal Injury Lawyers. Contact us at: https://westlakelegal.com 

Alan Mak: Conservatism 4.0 – We must ensure that no-one is left behind by the Fourth Industrial Revolution

Alan Mak is MP for Havant and Founding Chairman of the All-Party Parliamentary Group on the Fourth Industrial Revolution.

Stanley Baldwin said the Conservative Party stood for “real England” – a Party defined by voluntary organisations and Christian patriotism, little platoons and big national causes.

His Conservative Party of the 1920s faced an upstart opposition in a Labour Party that had usurped the Liberals to become the second party of British politics. Outlining the growing threat from Labour, Baldwin described them as being for a nation of class divisions and over-mighty trade unions.

Under Jeremy Corbyn, Labour has come full circle and is once again challenging the success and legitimacy of our free-market economy.

A century on from Baldwin, and despite being the natural party of government, our Party has often struggled to break out from its vote base of shire counties and market towns. It’s over 30 years since we won a majority of over 21 at a general election.

But there are signs of change. Our electoral success in recent years has been driven by securing more votes in Labour’s industrial heartlands. Dudley, Mansfield, Copeland and Teesside have all elected Conservatives in recent years, whilst the West Midlands and Tees Valley have elected Conservative Mayors on a region-wide basis.

This Conservative momentum in areas once dominated by trade unions and the Old Left shows that our message of hope, personal freedom and low taxation can re-define our path to a majority.

Yet our progress in these Labour heartlands is not concrete and shouldn’t be taken for granted. A pro-Leave electorate that has trusted another party for so long will be looking to the Conservatives to not only deliver Brexit, but ensure they are not left behind by the next big technological revolution either. As I said in yesterday’s article, this commitment must be a central tenant of Conservatism 4.0 – Conservative ideology for the Fourth Industrial Revolution [4IR].

The last time our country went through a technological revolution we had a strong leader with a firm ideology. The computing revolution of the 1980s powered Britain to economic success – and political success for Thatcherism. Through deregulation and an unwavering belief in the free market, the City of London prospered from the Big Bang, and our economy was transformed into a services-based powerhouse. From the stuttering, strike-crippled, state-dominated closed market that Thatcher inherited, the foundations were laid for rapid economic growth and the business-friendly, pro-innovation environment we enjoy today.

Our next Leader will also find themselves at an inflection point. They will have to harness the Fourth Industrial Revolution (4IR) as artificial intelligence, big data and automation change our economy and society beyond recognition – and ensure that every community and region benefits from the wealth that it creates. Whilst Margaret Thatcher’s transformation of Britain’s economy for the better is undeniable, there are mining and industrial communities who felt they were left behind as other parts of the country raced ahead. To win a majority at future elections, today’s Conservatives need to attract working class and northern votes, so we cannot allow the positive impact of the 4IR to be absent from any region or for its benefits to be inaccessible to any social group.

The 4IR will radically change how we work, regardless of sector or industry. Instead of dockers and miners being at risk of automation, in the near future it will be call centre operators, lorry drivers and factory workers. With a path to electoral victory that increasingly runs through industrial towns, every factory closure or job lost to robots without alternatives emerging, will make a majority harder to achieve for our next leader.

That’s the reason why, whilst we still have an opportunity to shape the 4IR, our policies must be focussed on creating an Opportunity Society centred around social mobility powered by lifelong learning, high-quality education and skills training for everyone at every stage of their lives. Our Opportunity Society must be more than just a short-term policy objective. It has to be an integral part of the future of capitalism and a key part of Conservatism 4.0.

As robots slowly replace human workers, many on the radical-left are arguing for a Universal Basic Income (UBI), a minimum wage paid by the Government to every citizen regardless of their productive capacity. Every single country that has trialled UBI – from Kenya to Finland – has found it expensive and ineffective. Research by the International Labour Office has estimated that average costs would be equivalent to 20-30 per cent of GDP in most countries. In Britain, this would be more than double the annual budget of the NHS, yet John McDonell says a Corbyn-led Labour Govnement would trial it. These are just two of the reasons why we Conservatives should reject UBI as the solution to growing automation in the 4IR.

The truth is work has always paid, and work for humans will always exist. Work drives our economy, multiplies and makes the world richer. It takes people out of poverty and gives them purpose, and this will continue to be the case in the 4IR. In fact, many more new jobs are likely to be created than are lost to robots because the technology of the 4IR will drive economic growth, which in turn will create new and more interesting jobs, especially in new tech sectors such as advanced manufacturing, 3D printing, precision medicines and AI-powered creative industries.

Not enough is made of our job creation miracle since 2010, which has seen our economy put on three million new jobs. As we enjoy the lowest unemployment rates since the 1970s, we need to re-emphasise the value of work and the benefits to be derived from a good job. A UBI would be defeatist, signifying that humans had ceased to be useful in a world of machines, and be the antithesis of social mobility – there would be no need to work hard to move upwards on the income and living standards scale if we are all paid to stay at the same level. A UBI would also stall our economy through either crippling debt on the public purse or new taxes imposed on innovation. Similarly, Jeremy Corbyn’s proposed Robot Tax would simply mean a left behind country – a nation that fails to attract foreign investment and which becomes known for its anti-innovation approach to technology.

Instead, true devolution must be at the heart of delivering an Opportunity Society and making sure no community or individual is left behind. Our next Prime Minister must invest in the Northern Powerhouse and Midlands Engine so regional economic growth is put in the hands of regional leaders. The benefits of the 4IR, from new start-ups to overseas investment, must be enjoyed beyond the “Golden Triangle” of London, Oxford and Cambridge. As Juergen Maier who led the Government’s Made Smarter Review, argued, it’s about creating an “innovation climate” in regions such as the North.

We cannot expect the heavy industries of the past to return, but instead our focus should be on ensuring the new technologies of the future are exploited in every area of the country to create new jobs and rising skills levels in every community. The Liverpool City Region understand this, and have already taken the initiative. They have launched LCR 4.0, an ambitious plan to support manufacturing and advanced engineering organisations in the region by funding practical support to transform businesses through digital innovation. By helping traditional manufacturers upgrade their technology, they enable firms to stay in business and keep their workers employed by becoming more productive. Conservatism 4.0 should support more initiatives like this.

Moving towards a system of local business rates retention will also encourage further investment in skills and business support from local authorities as they reap the rewards of encouraging local growth. There should also be more scope for local taxation and decentralisation as a central tenet of Conservatism 4.0 to empower local areas to evaluate their workforces and set-up true long-term strategies for delivering local economic growth, building on the work of existing Local Enterprise Partnerships and new Local Industrial Strategies.

Conservatism has always evolved and must do so again as we enter a new technological age by putting social mobility and reginal devolution centre stage. They are the two key building blocks to ensuring that every community and region can benefit from technology-driven economic growth. While Thatcherism delivered for the Third Industrial Revolution, we need a new brand of Conservatism to build an Opportunity Society for the Fourth. My final article in this series, published tomorrow, will set out the four principles that should guide us as we re-calibrate Conservatism in the Fourth Industrial Revolution.

This article is the second in a three-part series explaining why adapting to a society and economy shaped by technology is key.

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Dear LGBT Community, Corporations Don’t Care About You

Westlake Legal Group gay-pride-disney-ears-hat-SCREENSHOT-620x352 Dear LGBT Community, Corporations Don’t Care About You pride month Politics money LGBT Lesbian gay Front Page Stories Featured Story fear Culture Corporations Chick-Fil-A Business & Economy Business Allow Media Exception

I hate “Pride Month,” and not for the reasons many would hope to think. I don’t typically care what your sexuality is, so long as it doesn’t involve children or animals. I’m not your keeper just as much as you’re not mine.

But I hate the entire month carved out to celebrate the LGBT cause because I’m consistently inundated with messages, ads, and products that look like a rainbow threw up all over them from corporations talking about how great it is that homosexual people exist and are proud about it. To the idea of free people being free to be whoever they want, I’m all on board. The thing that bothers me is that the corporation celebrating it doesn’t actually believe it.

Let’s set up a hypothetical scenario.

Let’s say that tomorrow that a total social change in the populace is established and the vast majority of the world accepts it and the world’s court of public opinion turns its nose up to homosexuality. The same Macy’s that was decorating its windows with rainbow flag designs and selling “Pride Month” merch will suddenly act like there is no such thing as an LGBT community. The businesses who were changing their social media avatars to have rainbow overlays wouldn’t have a trace of pro-LGBT sentiment in any of its pages.

This would happen because the corporation is concerned with one thing, and one thing only.

Money is the name of the game, and the more of it that they can get, the more the corporations will act in whatever manner is necessary to get it. This means that all the window dressing and pride t-shirts are really just a pandering tool as a way to squeeze more money from people. This would be all well and good, and I celebrate that kind of capitalism by itself.

However, corporations do more than just sell themed merch directed toward the LGBT community. They moralize.

Pantene did it with transgenderism.

Closeup did it with homosexual couples.

During 2013’s Supreme Court battle over gay marriage, almost every corporation and their dog were sporting the equal sign in support of the homosexual marriage. Again, I don’t care if gay people want to have a ceremony and call themselves married, but now we’re talking about corporations telling us about what is right and wrong.

Again, they’re not doing this because they care, they’re doing this because it’s a trend that will make them money. If it stopped making them money, they’d stop doing it. Which makes this hollow. They just want your money, and more importantly, they want you to be okay with spending money there even when it’s not Pride Month. If you’re celebrating a corporation for being “pro-LGBT,” then their plan is working. You’re sending people to spend more money at their locations with your praise.

But there’s a malicious element to it that I feel needs to be highlighted.

Christians had to accept a long time ago with the celebration of Christmas that most corporations don’t care about them either. It’s undeniable that the entire holiday revolves around the birth of Jesus Christ. He is the literal reason for the season. Yet, most corporations won’t acknowledge that the guy is even a factor.

Why?

Because corporations found out that the promotion of Christ has negative ramifications. The media will lambast them as the media does when it comes to anything Christian. They’ll use negative connotations when speaking about them, ask officials from the business loaded questions, take them out of context with every word they say, and turn almost everything they do into a national issue. Activists begin to work overtime to make sure that the corporation is consistently dogged with bad PR, lawsuits, and more.

Proclaiming your Christianity in an official capacity is a huge risk. Sometimes it pays off, as it did for Hobby Lobby and Chick-fil-A, but sometimes it means your life becomes unbelievably complicated, as it did for Jack Phillips and his Colorado bakery.

It’s dangerous to be associated with Christian causes, or even right-wing causes. Those kinds of stances likely mean a whole host of problems you wouldn’t have to deal with if you had celebrated the approved causes form the get-go. The media approved causes. The activist approved causes. The causes supported by the loudest and well-connected among us.

In short, corporations aren’t just doing this for the money, they’re doing it out of fear. A business would normally have much to gain by keeping quiet and just selling its wares, however, it feels the need to steer clear of one issue and publicly and loudly embrace another. It only does this because it feels that if it doesn’t, that the activists and the media will start asking questions.

And when they start asking their questions, there is no answer that will satisfy them. Once they start asking the questions, you’re already in trouble. Better to capitulate and celebrate now than face the mob and lose money later.

 

The post Dear LGBT Community, Corporations Don’t Care About You appeared first on RedState.

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Alan Mak 1) Alan Mak: Conservatism 4.0 – Adapting our Party for the Fourth Industrial Revolution is our greatest challenge

Alan Mak is MP for Havant and Founding Chairman of the All-Party Parliamentary Group on the Fourth Industrial Revolution.

Later this year, the international commission that oversees the official geological timechart will meet to debate and decide whether the world has entered a new epoch. The “Anthropocene”, named after the humans that have had such a profound influence on our planet would, for example, sit alongside the Upper Jurassic and Pleistocence (Ice Age) periods and represent the biggest turning point in history for over 500 million years.

Advocates for the Anthropocene say this new distinct era started in the 1950s, identifiable from the radioactive fallout from nuclear weapons tests, the appearance of fossilised plastics, the rise in carbon pollution from the global post-war economic boom, the pervasive use of concrete, and the rise of mechanised agriculture. Opponents feel none of these changes has been sufficiently impactful to merit a new phase in history – and the debate continues.

In contrast, the start of a new Fourth Industrial Revolution (4IR) in the late 2000s is not in dispute. My previous ConservativeHome series on this topic outlined the historical background and economic importance of the 4IR – the fourth phase of industrialisation after previous eras defined by steam, electricity and then the internet. This latest series of articles, which begins today, outlines its political implications, and argues in particular that adapting conservatism to the politics and society of a Britain radically re-shaped by the 4IR is our Party’s biggest challenge in the coming years – not Brexit.

Like many activists around the country, I spent time during the local election campaign knocking on doors and speaking to voters. I found an electorate keen to talk about a range of topics, not just Brexit: the economy, schools, defence, the NHS. Brexit is certainly the focal point of our national discourse for now, and while it will continue to be the fundamental, short-term issue our new Party Leader must deliver on, a moment will arrive very soon where the Party must pivot to the future – and look beyond Brexit.

As the leadership contest begins, our next Prime Minister, who will take us into a second decade in power, needs to turbo-charge our domestic policy agenda post-Brexit.

The next general election, whenever it comes, will be fought against a Labour Party that has coalesced around a hard-left agenda with clear messages on austerity, state-aid, taxation and the state ownership of utilities. Worryingly, these big state, anti-capitalist arguments have gained traction for the first time in 40 years. Just as Margaret Thatcher defeated Michael Foot’s hard left ideology in the 1980s, today’s Conservatives need to re-win the argument for free markets and stamp out Corbynista thinking before it takes hold.

The battlegrounds for the next election are being shaped by the new, disruptive technologies of the 4IR, sometimes visibly, sometimes not. The underlying forces shaping the contours of our new society and economy – the automation of jobs, the creation of new businesses, regional growth and decline, the skills base in each community – are all driven by new technology. As our lives become ever more digital, our country faces a series of unique challenges that only Conservative values can fully address.

Our Party has to adapt to this new landscape – and develop a new set of positive policies that allows us to deliver on the changed aspirations of voters in this new setting. From helping people secure the new jobs that the tech revolution will create to tackling the downsides of growth such as preventing environmental degradation, we need to develop Conservatism 4.0 – conservatism for the Fourth Industrial Revolution.

Previous Industrial Revolutions saw Conservative leaders grasp the opportunity to reshape our Party as the country changed. Robert Peel repealed the Corn Laws, heralding Britain’s rise as a champion of free trade, and  Thatcher drove forward reforms that enabled the City of London to renew itself and flourish through the “Big Bang” of technology. Our next Leader must consider how the Conservatives will remain relevant to a new generation of voters whose lives, workplaces and communities are being shaped by artificial intelligence, robotics, big data, drones and a new phase of globalisation.

We Conservatives must adapt to this rapidly-changing social and economic landscape, just as Thatcher and her predecessors did. These four guiding principles should shape the next leader Conservative Leader’s thinking.

1. No community can be left behind

Young people thinking of careers after leaving school or university are now entering workplaces in every sector shaped by artificial intelligence and automation.

Just take the supermarket industry, a sector that employs 1.1 million people in the UK and which faces radical change. Ocado, for instance, has developed a warehouse in Hampshire dubbed “the hive” that sees robots processing 3.5 million items every single week. Meanwhile in America, the first trials have begun of “Amazon Go” – checkout-free shops where consumers walk-out with whatever goods they like bypassing traditional tills or scanners. Instead, camera-based tracking technology identifies the shopper visually, and the goods bought, and charges their credit card automatically. There are no staff in the “shop” – a radical departure from the high street shop my parents ran which relied heavily on human labour (including mine).

What do these innovations mean for shop workers, and the millions of others who will likely be displaced in similar ways in other industries? Just as in previous Industrial Revolutions new jobs will certainly be created, from app designers to data scientists to robot maintenance workers. Past experience also suggests more jobs will probably be created than are lost as the economy grows. But our challenge is ensuring we equip workers with the right skills to fulfil their potential and secure these new jobs.

That means a renewed focus on STEM skills and a wider strategic long-term plan for skills in our country. I’ve previously set out my belief that we should introduce a Future Skills Review, a big picture analysis of the skills needed for our economy over the next five years – akin to the Comprehensive Spending Review or Strategic Defence Review.

Automation will inevitably impact different areas of the country disproportionally. So our next Prime Minister needs to prevent widening regional inequality. The impact of the decline of heavy industry, especially in the North, is still felt to this day in areas that have struggled to fully recover. As the Fourth Industrial Revolution accelerates, we need to help every community adjust and prosper, getting a fair share of the fruits of economic success. Leeds re-invented itself as a hub for digital innovation, whilst Sunderland is home to Nissan’s highly productive car plant. So a new Northern Technology Powerhouse would be especially welcome in the years ahead, ensuring that it isn’t just the “Golden Triangle” of Oxford, Cambridge and London that benefit from the 4IR.

2. Public services should be more productive, more digital and more accessible

The smartphone generation demands services that are available at their fingertips, whether that’s ordering a taxi or making a bank payment. The average smartphone user can choose from around 2 million apps to download – everything from games to social media.

Technology means life is moving faster, and people’s expectations of similarly fast-movement and responsiveness from their government are rising too. Voters want a Smart State, not Big Government. And because we Conservatives are in office, we are expected to use new technology to deliver better, more efficient public services.

Perhaps one of the least recognised achievements of the Government since 2010 has been the digital transformation of our public services. The UK is currently fourth in the UN e-government league, having delivered more than £2 billion in efficiency savings through digital transformation since 2014.

But we shouldn’t rest on our laurels. We must strive to deliver more efficient public services by fully-digitising them in line with consumer demand. A poll by POLITICO in swing election seats showed that our Party still trails in the core issues ranked as the most important outside of Brexit – crime, housing and health.

We need to consider how we can use artificial intelligence to solve crimes; automated construction techniques to build much-needed homes; online courses to improve further education; and how we deploy apps to transform the NHS into a paperless service, so patients have their test results and medical records on their phones.

As a Party we need to harness technology to improve the delivery of public services and offer better outcomes, recapturing the initiative from Labour politicians whose focus on nationalisation and uncosted (yet endless) spending commitments often drives the debate.

3. Technology can help us become more relevant to younger voters

The age divide in our politics is now well-documented, with a recent Onward report showing 49 per cent of Conservative voters are now over the age of 65.

Yet as separate polling for the Centre for Policy Studies found, young people are still more likely than the general population to think that the Government spends and taxes too much and are not inclined to back nationalisation.

Instead, they want more control over their lives, and that includes over the money they work hard to earn.
In the age of the Fourth Industrial Revolution, Conservatives need to deliver the same message of economic freedom that propelled Thatcherism to unprecedented electoral success. By embracing tech, and making Britain a global tech superpower, we will create more opportunities for young people to start their own business and have a stake in our society by owning capital and generating wealth for themselves and others.

Our next Leader must position Britain as low-tax, high-innovation, pro-tech economy. We must cut corporation tax to attract inward investment – Jeremy Hunt’s proposal to cut our rate to match Ireland’s 12.5 per cent rate is very welcome – and be pro-active in creating a regulatory environment that gives tech companies the freedom to innovate. We must not follow Labour’s example by trying ban Uber in London and Brighton. Platforms used by younger people should be smartly regulated, not shutdown.

We win back younger voters by proving that we are a Party that believes in the future – and that means embracing technology, and the benefits it brings to everyday life.

4. Green growth must be at the heart of Britain’s Fourth Industrial Revolution

The fossil fuels that powered previous industrial revolutions left a dirty legacy which we are only now coming to terms with as we take decisive action on climate change.

The 4IR will be the first industrial revolution that offers the tantalising prospect of clean growth, with renewable energy and the next generation of batteries potentially signalling the end for dirty fossil fuels.

Similarly, carbon capture and storage technology has the potential to limit CO2 in the atmosphere; blockchain to improve accountability across far-flung supply chains; “smart boats” to help fishermen manage their catch effectively; and biodegradable plastics to protect our oceans.

These are just a small number of the environmental technology breakthroughs that will soon become pervasive.

Britain should be an advocate on the world stage for green growth, helping us bolster our credentials at home as the Party of good environmental stewardship too. The current Government’s 25-Year Environment Plan and commitment to biodiversity has been one of our most popular policy areas since 2017. By committing to ensuring that this new industrial revolution leaves the planet cleaner we can turn green growth in the 4IR into a new source of electoral strength.

All four policy areas matter regardless of Brexit or our future relationship with the EU. The current Brexit debate has meant they are not getting the focus they deserve, but our next Leader should put these principles at the heart of our Party’s response to the Fourth Industrial Revolution.

By doing so, we can successful help our Party adapt to the new political and economic landscape that technology-driven change is creating, so voters continue to trust us to govern for generations to come.

This article is the first in a three-part series explaining why adapting to a society and economy shaped by technology is key.

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Hilton debuts new corporate foundation as part of 100th birthday

Westlake Legal Group nassettachris1125201406*100xx2964-2970-1169-0 Hilton debuts new corporate foundation as part of 100th birthday Washington Business Journal virginia news Travel News Local News Living News Fairfax County, VA News Business & Finance Business   As part of its 100th birthday, Hilton Worldwide Holdings Inc. is giving away a few gifts of its own.

The McLean-based hospitality giant has created a new corporate foundation that it said will now be its primary channel for worldwide philanthropy. The Hilton Effect Foundation, launched this week as part of the 100th anniversary festivities, will target nonprofits that are working to improve travel destinations, create higher-skilled jobs and increase youth outreach, as well as communities suffering from the effects of natural disasters and water scarcity.

While the announcement, and the foundation’s new website, don’t indicate its new leader or headquarters location, Hilton revealed its first 15 grants. The size of those grants was not disclosed.

Jobs for America’s Grads: California, Florida, Louisiana
W.E. Charter School: Louisiana
World Wildlife Fund: Mexico
Hawaii State Division of Forestry and Wildlife: Hawaii
Team Rubicon: Florida
Foxes Academy: U.K.
Villa Russiz: Italy
Ayder:…

Read the full story from the Washington Business Journal.

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Reston cybersecurity firm acquired, merged with two other companies

Westlake Legal Group img4462-2-2*100xx903-903-113-0 Reston cybersecurity firm acquired, merged with two other companies Washington Business Journal virginia news TruShield Security Solutions Tech News reston Local News Fairfax County, VA News Cybersecurity Cyber Security News Business & Finance Business   TruShield Security Solutions Inc., a Reston cybersecurity firm, has been sold and merged with two other companies to form a new company, Avertium, based out of Phoenix.

San Mateo, California-based private equity firm Sunstone Partners recently closed on the acquisitions of TruShield, Phoenix-based Terra Verde Security LLC and Knoxville, Tennessee-based Sword & Shield Enterprise Security to create Avertium, which will focus on midsized to large customers.

Terms of the deal were not disclosed.

TruShield, which helps companies manage and secure their networks, customer data and critical infrastructure, recently relocated from an office in Sterling to Reston and is now actively hiring, said founder Paul Caiazzo, who is now senior vice president at Avertium. Roughly 50 people work at the local office right now.

He said because TruShield already had security operations centers in Phoenix and Knoxville where Terra Verde and Sword & Shield are located, Avertium’s Reston location will focus…

Read the full story from the Washington Business Journal.

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