People know we can’t do anything else in England. Of course there is still an automotive industry, but the owners are usually from abroad. The share of manufacturing industry has come down to about 20 percent of our gross domestic product. This is nothing but a positive development, especially for people in the industrial area.
When it comes to controversial financial products, London is still a front runner.
As a financial market, London is certainly very strong – but what does the North of England get out of it? City life in London is very different from other parts of the country. The capital plays such an influential role in Great Britain that it cannot be compared to Berlin. Everything is centralized in London, but many people in the rest of the country feel neglected by the elite who live there.
Britain’s conflict will ever go away?
It will definitely take generations. Let’s take Manchester as an example, where I live. In 2016, over 60 percent voted to remain in the EU. By contrast, in my home town of Oldham, about ten kilometers away, more than 60 per cent voted for Brexit. If you drive there, you’ll see why: there’s a difference between poor Oldham and relatively affluent Manchester. And that is the great tragedy: the same is true of other former industrial areas of Great Britain.
Let’s go back to the current chaos surrounding Brexit. Will the moratorium that has been given now till October 31 bring a solution?
I hope so too. You need extra time to come up with a new idea to prepare for Brexit or staying in the EU. Perhaps a new referendum, which would then produce a different result. So there is hope with Brexit. No one knows what will come out in the end. Neither did Theresa May.
Is there no hope for May’s Brexit deal in its current form?
Probably not. It was defeated three times in the House of Commons, finally bringing a much-needed debate on Brexit to the House of Commons. And we have to discuss with the opposition party.
Will there be a compromise? And Theresa May will survive politically?
Theresa May may soon be out of the picture and replaced by a hardliner – possibly Boris Johnson. Then everything opens up again. It’s not impossible, but the chances of reaching an agreement in parliament are slim. The gap between Labor and the Conservatives is huge. Our traditional political system is retrograde, the willingness to compromise is not very pronounced. Totally different compared to Germany for example. Take the lower house, where the opposition and the government sit face to face, a short distance apart. This also contributes to the fact that every discussion quickly ends in a confrontation. When someone from Labor says this, a Conservative is forced to disagree.