The Prime Minister embarks on a tour of the Gulf today, notably visiting Britain’s key strategic ally in Saudi Arabia. Meanwhile, Chancellor Philip Hammond is leading a trade delegation to India, one of the fastest-expanding markets in the world, and Liam Fox, the Trade Secretary, is heading to the south-east Asian nations of Indonesia, Malaysia and the Philippines.
Nothing could represent the global ambitions of a post-Brexit Britain better than this trio of trips. From Jakarta to Mumbai to Dubai, the message must be clear: this country will use its future status outside the EU to build a uniquely competitive economy, combining long-established expertise in financial and legal services with low taxes and a simplified regulatory system to become one of the planet’s best places to do business.
The aim must be to become an ever-greater beacon of freedom and success, building on a history of outward-facing engagement and tolerance.
Of course, that history and reputation already draws desperate people from around the world to seek sanctuary here. Over the weekend, one such asylum seeker was viciously attacked in London, apparently by a mob who, if found guilty, would richly merit the description already applied by the local MP, Gavin Barwell: “Scum”.
There will be some desperate Remainers eager to point to this seeming hate crime as a nasty taste of things to come. Nothing could be further from the truth. But racists and bullies are happy to latch on to any cause to prosecute their loathsome crimes. It is vital that Brexit does not become tarnished by any association with such thuggery. And the best way of ensuring that is by vigorously championing a global, tolerant post-independence agenda – just as the Government is doing this week.