Going for gold…silver and bronze

It certainly has been an interesting week in the life of the national psyche…

The Packaging Federation and myself got an early head start on things last Tuesday July 24th at the successful launch of the Make It In Britain (MIIB) campaign. The MIIB will, I hope and trust, long outlive the circumstances of London’s Olympics and this coming month.

I was delighted to see our Packaging Sector credentials stated strongly at the centre of the campaign mind map. ‘Packaging plays a valuable role in protecting goods. Industry has an interest is keeping packaging to a minimum – to reduce costs as well as to comply with the packaging laws.’  Touch wood, our message is getting through.

Dick Searle pictured here at last week's Make It In Great Britain event with Mark Prisk, UK Government Minister for Business (right)

Dick Searle pictured here at last week’s Make It In Great Britain event with Mark Prisk, UK Government Minister for Business (right).

And on the following Thursday, David Cameron’s speech to the Global Investement Conference, London, had many good things in it. I was particularly encouraged to hear the Government in bullish mood on UK trade: Cameron told his business audience that ‘we have set an ambition of doubling our exports to £1 trillion by 2020. That would get us in line with Germany and match their record level of exports last year. I believe it to be absolutely achievable.’

Cameron added that ‘Britain is already now exporting more goods to the rest of the world than we are to the European Union: If we could increase the number of SME firms that sell overseas from one fifth to one quarter that would add £30billion to our economy, create 100,000 jobs and pretty much wipe out our trade deficit altogether.’

Dare to dream? That quality was certainly in evidence throughout Friday night’s brilliant and moving opening ceremony. Another quality brilliantly demonstrated there was Britain’s world-class level of self-deprecation – thank you once again HRH, Danny Boyle, Rowan Atkinson and all.

Vision, industry, trade and humour. Not a bad set of guiding lights. Our US visitor, Presidential contender Mitt Romney could have had them handy on his week in town. A series of Romney gaffes led most commentators to his 2010 book No Apology in which he described England as ‘just a small island…with few exceptions it doesn’t make things that people in the rest of the world want to buy.’

Any substance to it? Time will tell. And perhaps that cover story will suit the British image just fine as industry and exports grow over the coming years.

But as far as I could tell Friday night’s 1 billion TV viewers were recognizing, appreciating and buying British.

Job done – let’s take it forward.

Many thanks

Dick Searle