James Caan’s LinkedIn blog on Brexit

James Caan’s LinkedIn blog on Brexit

James Caan, the man behind the recruitment firm Alexander Mann and notable Dragon, discusses Brexit on LinkedIn.

To Brexit, or not to Brexit… that is the question everyone across the UK is attempting to answer.

Both ‘stay’ and ‘remain’ campaigns are in full swing, with David Cameron doing all he can to ensure June 23rd will be just another day as an EU member and fellow Etonite, Boris Johnson, doing the complete opposite as an avid Eurosceptic.

Firstly, it’s gratifying to see the British public so engaged in political debate. Everywhere I go, I hear people voicing their opinions on the matter. From business men and women, to colleagues, to millennials, it really is obvious how much of an impact levels of uncertainty surrounding a Brexit will have, and are having, on people from all walks of life. I think it’s safe to say everyone in the UK is very aware that a referendum is around the corner. It makes me proud to be British when I see such passion and captivation for a debate that could, quite literally, change the UK as we know it.  

It makes me proud to be British when I see such passion and captivation for a debate that could, quite literally, change the UK as we know it.  

I’m consistently asked which team I’m gunning for as a businessman; which camp I think has business needs at its heart and who will represent the small businesses and entrepreneurs of our country most effectively. 

Business men and women are united in fear of uncertainty. How can we vote to leave, when we have no idea what’s to come? How will it affect business? My customers are spread around Europe, will a Brexit mean loss of clientele? What about my manufacturers? How will my exporting needs be effected?

So many questions, so little factual answers. 

For me, the answer is simple. We remain.

We’ve seen a record number of jobs created as a part of Europe, investment in the UK is booming, the EU provides easy access to 1/3 of the world’s markets by value and gives us preferential market access to over 50 countries outside of the EU with the fastest growing economies in the world. Not to mention our ability to easily export without the need for extensive paperwork and, due to freedom of people, the opportunity to work, study or live across Europe whenever we like.

However (and most importantly) the EU has been the foundation of peace and civilisation between our neighbours for 60 years.

The UK economy is currently out-performing all of our European neighbours, which is one of the arguments Eurosceptics use for the leave campaign. We’re strong, our economy is continuously growing; why are we allowing countries with weaker economies drag us down?

The way I see it, we’re stronger as a team than as a one-man band. When I’m investing in a new business, the risk attached to working with the latter is always a little worrying—but if they’re part of something bigger, when they have a team behind them, that’s a business I’m interesting in investing in.

Similarly, It’s in our interest to help our neighbours build their economies and invest in skilled workers so we, as business people, have access to more potential customers and talent. 

This week the Office for National Statistics announced that net migration in the UK rose to 333,000; another issue on top of the ‘out’ campaign agenda.

Without getting into an immigration debate, this rise isn’t a surprise to me. This is economic prosperity in its plainest form. Our economy is growing; people are attracted to that. Any place with strong job prospects, investment potential and security will attract people, that’s just a fact. I imagine that’s exactly what my family thought when they came to the UK. 

So far, this referendum debate has involved a lot of scaremongering, on both sides. Just as I commented before, I think what we’re missing are facts, figures and examples. Uncertainty breeds anxiety, anxiety breeds fear. That’s not a good foundation for scale.

I want Cameron and Johnson to tell us how a potential Brexit will affect us in our everyday lives. I want them to answer the questions I posed at the beginning of this blog. 

For now, I am open to announcing my support for remaining in Europe and for taking advantage of its benefits, without being tied into their notoriously unstable currency. I am very proud of what we’ve managed to achieved as a Union and I’m hoping that’s not going to change next month.