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Winston Churchill once said that the British are “the only people who like to be told how bad things are, who like to be told the worst.”
In these turbo-charged political times, I would take it one step further and say that the Brits not only like to be told the worst, but to expect the worst.
We are probably at peak Brexitmania. There’s irate anger over the withdrawal agreement coming from all sides — no one seems to like the deal because it’s, well, pick your poison: not soft enough, not hard enough, not concrete enough.
The financial community has started readying itself for the deal to be shot down in Parliament in early December before alternative options are considered (remember the U.S. TARP — Troubled Asset Relief Program — deal anyone?).
As one trader put it to me, it’s only once politicians stare down the barrel of a no-deal Brexit that the possibility of passing a deal becomes higher. In other words, things have to get worse before they get better.
But that is not the point of this story. Perhaps writing this on the heels of a week’s staycation holiday has influenced my view and brushed off some of my pessimism. Long walks in the country, quaint old pubs and reading a book by the fire can do wonders for the mind. But it also made me appreciate again just how much this country has to offer.
I was born in the U.K. and it never dawned on me until recently how privileged I am to have the passport. It opened up doors for me in my career that likely would not have been available otherwise (and would most likely be almost impossible for me to obtain now).
The passport gave me the opportunity to work in a thriving, cosmopolitan, fast-paced city and to progress in my career while simultaneously exploring my interests, whether it’s museums, fairs, the theater, concerts, performances, sports events … London is a city that has so much to offer.
I recently spoke to Greg Hands, the Member of Parliament for Chelsea and Fulham (one of the wealthiest boroughs in London) and asked him whether he sensed things were taking a turn for the worse because of Brexit (I avoided bringing up the housing market). His optimistic response was: “London’s economy is doing well and ultimately, investors still have confidence in Britian as a good place to invest because of what it has to offer.”
The last part of the statement is crucial: London, and the U.K. does have a lot to offer. And while we are living in a whirlwind of Brexit-related jargon (Customs Union, tariffs, backstops etc…), maybe we should all have a little more faith in this country’s ability to weather storms. We are certainly a nation of umbrellas.