With the UK now set to leave the EU (by a democratic and clear majority), is it time that the landscape and horticultural industries stepped up to the plate?
(I am not trying to start an argument whether it was right or wrong - that is now very much irrelevant).
Britain has been largely an import economy since before 1914, relying on large foreign investment in the empire or most recently the commonwealth for the stability of national income. However, that stability is now in question. The world has changed. The UK is in massive debt. Since we are no longer in a position of sovereign ownership of foreign lands and are leaving a large free-trading block for pastures new, we need to think beyond what we are used to.
The UK has many advantages which are currently underutilized.
1. Being an Island, we can be the go-to country for disease-free plants. With global warming and the spread of disease rife, by increasing regulation on plant control, we could be second to none. (We have the infrastructure, yet lack the investment).
2. Our research and development skills are world renowned. Technology, especially AI, is the way forward to push instead of a reliance on cheap foreign labour. Do companies like Dyson offer a viable alternative?
3. The UK is also world renowned for creativity and plant-husbandry. Many countries come to our shores for designers. Our education system is still free to 18, yet much of the industry refuses to engage in its success - instead relying on what is churned out and then complaining we can't find decent staff. (Me included).
4. We could export our expert knowledge to other countries, thus creating a viable 'economic colonisation', which is vital to future any UK success.
5. Is horticulture a low skilled profession?