British Trade Secretary Liam Fox is making the media rounds this week after covert recordings of his criticisms have come to light. While he may be less candid during public speeches, the truth is that Mr. Fox views Britain as “too lazy and too fat,” and that the country is resting a bit on its proverbial laurels.
As such, he is calling for a major change. In a meeting with the right-wing group Conservative Way Forward, on Thursday, he expressed his concern over Britain’s trade slowdown. He comments, “This country is not the free trading nation that it once was. We have become too lazy and too fat on our successes in previous generations,” inquiring also, “What is the point of us reshaping global trade, what is the point of us going out and looking for new markets for the United Kingdom, if we don’t have the exporters to fill those markets?”
As could be expected, lawmakers from across the whole of the political spectrum are criticizing Fox’s commentary, noting his history as a medical director does not necessarily qualify him for political critique.
For one, anti-Brexit Conservative Anna Soubry says that the country remains a “fantastic trading nation” and that the Brexit is doing more damage than good; requesting that Fox should be encouraging the nation instead of condemning it. Similarly, the opposition Labour Party replied that his comments were “offensive and crass.”
Similarly, some business leaders are not happy about his description. Richard Reed is the co-founder of smoothie maker Innocent Drinks; and he was also anti-Brexit. He comments, that Fox is supposed to be a representative of the working class. He advises, too: “Companies who could be contributing to our national prosperity – but choose not to because it might be too difficult or too time-consuming or because they can’t play golf on a Friday afternoon – we’ve got to be saying to them if you want to share in the prosperity of our country you have a duty to contribute to the prosperity of our country.”
Lets keep in mind that Dr. Fox is a member of the Tory Right and, as such, has suggested that his department will not able to fully protect in any economic sector. The steel industry, for example, is suffering from major import tariffs.
But in the face of all this criticism, a spokesman for the Trade Secretary affirmed that he is committed to “supporting the full range of businesses” in the United Kingdom in order that they can take the best advantage of the opportunities that will arise as a result of the Brexit.
Perhaps, then, it is just a matter of time to see which side of this debate is correct