I sat next to a global fund manager at lunch yesterday. Far from being gloomy he sees the UK banking sector coming out of the current crisis quite quickly. I pressed him on when and how. He gave me the why.
He’d just come back from a round-the-world trip. London, he said, was the only town where there wasn’t an overpowering sense of gloom. Was this the British ‘muddling through’ spirit, I asked? The answer was revealing. In other towns no-one was prepared to make a joke of the current situation. Without being prepared to see the funny side of things the gloom gets gloomier.
London, however, is such a cosmopolitan place, that people working here from abroad get infected with the English facility for self-deprecation. As the fund manager put it, ‘It’s worse than divorce — I’ve lost half my wealth but I’ve still got the wife’. The answer to London’s future success is its ability to dust itself down and not to dwell.