By Robin Parker, Church House Westminster
Well we are out of Europe in every possible way in the space of a week. A combination of appalling footballing skills and an inability of our politicians to read the mood of the country, has left us with the prospect of a miserable summer. For the next few weeks we are going to be inundated with news based solely round the search for new leaders. How many is anyone’s guess at this stage!
There is no doubt our two main political parties are in turmoil following the Brexit vote, but did the England football team really have to take it quite so literally? I had never realised that Rooney and the rest of the team were such close followers of political trends.
On a more serious note, I have a real concern following Brexit that no one seems to have mentioned and that is the reputational damage to Britain. It is clear that overnight we have become the bad boys of Europe, in footballing terms we are now the Millwall of Europe. We have heard a lot recently about what the pound is doing, how the stock market has reacted and how we must stay in the single market. However, I am concerned about the damage to ‘Brand Britain’. In the last few years Britain has been a premier brand and, despite being an expensive destination it has ridden the crest of a wave in both the leisure and business tourism markets.,
Has the Brexit vote changed how Europe and, for that matter, the rest of the world, looks upon us? Will we from now on be seen as an inward looking Little Britain, the rednecks of a diverse and multicultural Europe? I really hope not.
However, watching the way some of the politicians have behaved over the last few weeks has been embarrassing, and while we may have thought this was an internal campaign, it is now clear that the rest of the world has been watching closely.
While all of this might not have a huge effect on leisure tourism, the effect on business tourism could be more dramatic as large corporations and associations consider the destination for their major events. The cheaper pound may of course make Britain more affordable but it would have to fall a very long way to make us competitive against other European destinations.
Worried of Westminster.