As we approach the end game on the titanic struggle to implement the decision of the British people to leave the EU, it is timely to remind ourselves of the reasons why we can find success in the world once we have finally left.
Our country remains a key centre for financial services. The City of London is a world-renowned brand and will remain firmly at the forefront of legal and professional services. The London Stock Exchange will also continue to be a vital hub for the global market in stocks and shares.
Our creative arts industry, music, film making capacity ischampioned in many parts of the world.
We often forget that of our successes is the international reputation of our top universities. Oxford and Cambridge are in the top three in the world. In 2018 over 106,000 Chinese students came to the UK to study in our universities, 19,750 from India and 18,885 from the USA. People who come to study here often remain here and bring their talents into our workplace and culture. Even those who return to their countries of origin, often remain friends of the UK helping us to retain our place as a respected nation in global affairs.
Our overseas aid programme is greatly respected and often provides a spearhead for the soft power that we can exercise in many parts of the world, a vital part of conflict resolution. Being part of the G7, United Nations security council and the Commonwealth gives us a special reach and place at the top table.
Jan and I watched a programme recently about very rich Chinese people paying an absolute fortune for their weddings. Each of the brides involved wanted to have their bouquets like Princess Diana, or Kate or Meghan. We forget that our royal family is loved the world over and that many of the tourists to the UK come here because of the places they live, especially Winsor Castle and Buckingham Palace. Downton Abbey is more popular in China than any other country in the world!
We have unique assets that give us a special role in the world. This will stand us in good stead as we implement the will of the people. Of course, we will be better placed if we are able to secure a good exit deal and negotiate a positive free trade agreement with the EU 27.
Global Britain will flourish in the years ahead.