The triumph of the Olympics has put the great back into Britain and serves as a timely reminder to us all that we really can do it.
At the same time, it is wonderful to see athletes from countries such as Jamaica, Kenya and Ethiopia, which enjoy none of the advantages which we all take for granted, excelling in such style. The flags of no fewer than 204 different nations paraded into the stadium and, to those who like moaning about our current economic woes, it is worth asking which of these many other countries they would prefer to live in. Very few, I suspect would be the answer and, as our athletes have shown us, that we can compete with and beat that best in the world.
It is worth reminding ourselves that:-
- The UK is the home of liberal democracy. We take the right to vote for granted but across the Arab world people have been dying over the past two years to secure that right.
- For all we choose to complain about the NHS and the welfare state, they were the two “big ideas” to emerge from Parliament after the Second World War. Over sixty years later we still enjoy one of the best state funded health and welfare systems to be found anywhere in the world.
- We have the best Formula One Automotive engineering industry in the world, JLR is going through a period of record growth and its plant at Halewood has gone on to twenty-four hour production for the first time in its history. At the same time the Nissan plant at Sunderland is exporting cars to Japan.
- We have the largest aerospace industry in the world after Japan.
- London is the largest and most successful city in Europe and remains one of its leading financial centres.
- English is still the international language of business, English law is a major international jurisdiction of commerce and we live in the Greenwich time zone, all advantages which we take for granted.
- We have a significant number of the very best universities and leading research establishments in the world.
- Sterling remains one of the world’s leading reserve currencies and it is still AAA rated.
- The world wide web, which is one of the truly disruptive technologies of the 20th Century, was invented by Sir Tim Berners-Lee and English remains the dominant language of the internet.
- We have the most benign tax environment available anywhere in the world to encourage high net worth individuals to invest in high growth young companies.
Our athletes have shown us that by constant training, refining our skills and with perseverance, determination and commitment we can take on and beat the best in the world. We have many world class companies and leading entrepreneurs as role models. Let us all learn from the example of our athletes and keep pushing to excel in our businesses.
There are no medals – I think it was Sir John Harvey-Jones who famously said that business is a bit like a marathon but the only prize for success is the right to keep running.
Let us all keep running!
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