In an in-depth interview, the Australian High Commissioner Alexander Downer, appears to be a lone soldier as he emphasised the need for the UK to remain positive throughout the Brexit debate.
Mr Downer, a former Australian Foreign Minister, pointed to the financial strength of the UK as a reason to remain positive about the future saying that Australian banks and businesses will not move out of London due to Brexit. He emphasised that London is the world’s largest financial centre and the place “where the world meets” and that given the financial expertise in the UK capital this is unlikely to change. He pointed to the fact that the next largest financial centre in Europe is Luxembourg, which seems minuscule when compared to London.
Mr Downer highlighted the strength of the UK’s legal system as an attractive element for businesses saying that:
The legal system here is by far the best legal system for businesses in Europe.
Stressing that this is one of the UK’s biggest advantages over Europe; he said that the UK has the most efficient insolvency and restructuring laws and independent court system of any country in the EU.
A large portion of Mr Downer’s interview was dedicated to the negative dialogue that is interwoven in the Brexit debate. Urging the UK to adopt the Australian expression ‘she’ll be right mate’, Mr Downer said there needs to be a focus on the economic opportunity available to the UK. He said there needs to be an emphasis on the how the UK manages its own affairs rather than focussing solely on a trade negotiation with the EU, as this is more likely to attract further investment in the British economy.
You need to have an endless and engaging and enthusiastic debate on micro and macroeconomic policy rather than just focussing on trade arrangements.