Blog: Dave LeggettThe Wimbledon effect

Dave Leggett | 4 February 2009

I sometimes find myself trying to explain the British penchant for the open economy and how that philosophy and approach to policy is evident from the financial centre that is the City of London to 'British' industries - like carmaking - that are actually not very British at all in terms of their ownership.

Well, the BBC's Robert Peston has come to my rescue with a simple analogy: we're like Wimbledon. Think about it. The Wimbledon tennis championship is perhaps the most glamourous tennis championship going and it's hosted with great aplomb every summer at a purpose-built site in some pretty southwest London parkland. But the best players are from around the world - it's a truly international event and the chance of a Briton winning it is pretty remote, but that's not really the point. What with the strawberries and cream, the summer rains and the polite queuing for tickets, it's a very English affair. We can host a good party and everyone's welcome.

As Peston points out, this very open economic model is fine in the good times, but comes into question when the going gets tough and the 'economic nationalists' in places like China can exercise more control than we can over their own economies.

But mainly I am thankful for that analogy, duly banked for future use.



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