‘Regrets, we’ve had a few…’. In years to come, this may well come to be seen as one of the biggest idiocies the Brits have committed. I hope I’m wrong.
But business carries on. In headhunting, a new search is the benchmark. There has been no change in the number of new searches we’ve won since Friday morning. And no reason to believe this will change for the worse any time soon. OK so we may delay a few investment and hiring decisions, as may our clients, but we’ve grown up in an environment of uncertainty. We’re steeled to it.
As the week gets underway in London, we’re all refreshing the news feeds to see who’ll fill the information vacuum. Markets are plummeting, so too is Sterling. Skies are grey and the old party political paradigms are dropping like Brexit leaders distancing themselves from their campaign propaganda.
Nobody likes Mondays but this one is grey and there’s an air of – if not panic, at very least doom. In my case, sorrow.
I’m immensely proud of my adoptive city. The place displays a plurality and tolerance that I’ve not experienced in any other metropolis. Take a look around you on the creaking but functional public transport system at rush hour and there you will see an unparalleled diversity of nationality, ethnicity, class and vocation. The amazing thing is that despite the fact that our origins couldn’t be more disparate, we all fall into line and respect the unwritten protocols that allow us to live together in angry/happy, chaotic harmony.
It didn’t always feel that way to me. Coming ‘down’ to London as an early teen in the late seventies with my parents, the place looked incredibly intimidating. Leaving aside the punks, people simply didn’t look like they were capable of any level of engagement. Woe betide you if you tried. A few decades on and I realise it’s all bluster. I’ve cultivated the London grimace myself. It’s just something you do. Put us into a street market, a pub, a charity event, a crisis, a terrorist attack.. and we show our true colours through an outpouring of humanity. It’s not British humanity. It’s a seething melting pot of global humanity. And we are so much richer for it.
How our city is perceived in the eyes of the world is in no way a motivator. In many ways we’re oblivious to how this ranks us in the world. Certainly we’re immune to studies that have us persistently languishing at the bottom of quality of life studies. Who’s here for quality of life?
But when our reputation as a model for multicultural tolerance and conviviality is struck a hammer blow as it was on the 23rd June, our overwhelming emotion is one of sorrow. Citizens of the world, let it be known that nothing has changed on our side. Londoners voted overwhelmingly to remain. And remember a huge chunk of ‘us’ weren’t even eligible to vote due to foreign citizenship. For all those international citizens, EU or otherwise who are making their lives and their livings here, this place simply wouldn’t be what it is without you. For all of you thinking of coming, please don’t change your plans. Come and see for yourself how welcome you are and how much opportunity this city offers. Not just financially, but from a human perspective, there really is nowhere else like it.