Guy Hands says we need “a few politicians to say we got it wrong” on Brexit in order to reverse Britain’s dwindling fortunes.
Speaking to Jonty Bloom in The New European, the financier and former Tory donor said leaving the European Union was a plan by the rich to make themselves richer, but could never work in the UK.
“I thought Brexit was frankly completely nuts,” he said.
“It was an assumption that the British population would suddenly become New Singaporeans, and there is nothing in the character of the British [that is] similar to people in Singapore. It is just like night and day.”
The UK is forecast to be the worst-performing economy in the G7 this year, shrinking by 0.3 per cent.
UK gross domestic product is slated to rise to 1 per cent next year, significantly lagging behind other advanced economies.
Indeed, so stark is the British demise that the average family in countries such as Poland and Slovenia is slated to be better off than a UK household by the end of the decade.
It has prompted one New York Times columnist to conclude that the fantasy of Brexit Britain may well be over, even if most British political parties dare not admit it.
“The whole concept of Brexit was: you took away the state and you let people sink or swim, and the view was that would create a very dynamic workforce,” Hands said.
“Of course, the workforce would become a lot cheaper, which again was one of the big things that people did not seem to understand.”
UK in decline
The result is that the UK is now in decline. “There are things we can do about it, but they won’t change where we are going.”
“We just need a few politicians to say we got it wrong. It is a bit of a mess, and we are going to have to work together to solve it’. But asking for that sort of politician today is like asking for pigs to fly.”
Hands also tends to agree with Michael O’Leary, the boss of Ryanair, who says that in 10-15 years’ time the UK will be back in the single market.
“I think we will end up going there,” says Hands. “The issue is how much damage will have been done to Europe as a whole by that time. Because while this is not good for the UK, it is not good for Europe either. The only people really benefiting are probably the Chinese.”
Related: Justin Welby set for historic intervention in House of Lords over government’s Rwanda plans