THE Norwegians are a responsible bunch.
While the UK has spent every penny of its revenues from North Sea oil and gas, like a sailor splashing the cash on their first night back in port, our cousins across the sea have been saving their pennies.
AFP or licensors Unlike the scaremongers chucking out doom and gloom for retweets and laughs, Norway are serious investors
For more than 20 years, Oslo has been putting aside a chunk of that cash and investing it for a rainy day.
The result is staggering: A £750billion pot — that’s more than £140,000 for every single Norwegian.
That’ll buy you a lot of helmets with horns on — and it has helped the country avoid a budget deficit, even when times were tough during the financial crisis.
In other words, Norway is not stupid with money.
Having taken the wise decision to save up some of the North Sea windfall, they have worked hard to make it pay.SERIOUS CASH
Their national wealth fund is one of the world’s biggest investors and owns shares in 9,158 companies spread across 73 different countries.
So it’s great news that the latest decision taken by the fund’s managers is to increase its investment right here, in the UK.
The fund has already put serious cash into this country.
It owns half of the Meadowhall shopping centre in Sheffield, and chunks of Regent Street and Oxford Street in London. It is a shareholder in hundreds of companies, from Greggs and Wetherspoons through to Superdry and Moneysupermarket.
The UK is already the third-largest destination for this Norwegian investment, and now they’re putting in more.
It seems almost surprising, given the endless choruses of woe about Brexit and the pathetic state of our political class in Westminster. Who would want to bet on a country where the job of economic cheerleader is held by Philip Hammond, and the alternative is an out-and-out Marxist like John McDonnell?
The answer is that the Norwegians can see what we sometimes miss about our own country: The UK is a fantastic place to do business.
Our culture is one that still prizes innovation and hard work, despite the best efforts of some Chancellors over the years.Mark Wallace
Our legal system is respected around the world for its fairness and is viewed as a “gold standard” under which to sign contracts and do deals.
Our corporate taxes are competitive, and are set to fall further. Our location and time zone help to make us a good bridge into markets around the world.
Our language is spoken by billions of people, and is the chosen tongue of global business.
Our culture is one that still prizes innovation and hard work, despite the best efforts of some Chancellors over the years.
And most of all, our people — our greatest asset — are skilled and creative, as employers, inventors and workers alike.
It doesn’t come naturally for us to blow our own trumpets and talk ourselves up, so sometimes it feels a bit awkward to consider the many things we have going for us.
And we all love a good moan, to the degree that it’s essentially a national sport. But we should be careful that we don’t go too far and start to talk ourselves down.
There’s a difference between being modest and acting like Eeyore with a hangover. Brexit in particular seems to have driven some people a bit loopy, so that you hear some who were once quite sensible now ranting about “destroying the country” or “falling off a cliff edge”.
Getty – Contributor Norwegians can’t afford (or afjord) to miss out on Britain’s economy, skills and fairness
To hear them, you would think we are a repellent disaster zone, about to slip beneath the waves never to be seen again, like Atlantis crossed with Towie.
This is obviously ridiculous. Of course it’s possible that the process of leaving the EU will be difficult.
Thanks to politicians who are still incapable of honouring their promises and agreeing a clear way forward, the uncertainty about our future relationship with our European neighbours has been allowed to drag on for far too long.
But it isn’t Brussels, or even Westminster, that made this country wealthy and successful. It is an enterprising approach to life, combining imagination and hard work, that got us this far.
Businesspeople and workers, not politicians, created the UK’s success.
That won’t go away just because we aren’t paying Jean-Claude Juncker’s lunch expenses any more.
And once we escape Brussels’ control, we will be free to be even more innovative and nimble in response to all the challenges and opportunities the modern age throws at us.
The people entrusted with Norway’s £750billion national wealth fund can see that. And they aren’t alone.
CommentTHE SUN SAYS MPs prepared to avoid No Deal makes it harder for us to secure better Brexit CommentROD LIDDLE Remainers warn of kebab shortages and STDs in a No Deal but it’s all lies CommentQUENTIN LETTS We ought to be ashamed of the spineless, shifty MPs trying to derail Brexit CommentTHE SUN SAYS If Labour sacked Williamson over his ‘behaviour’ — they should see Corbyn’s CommentHENRY NEWMAN The PM must use Brexit deal to give Britain a new start… then she May go
In the latest available data, the UK was Europe’s top destination for foreign investment.
Unlike the blowhards and scaremongers chucking out doom and gloom for retweets and laughs, these are serious investors, putting their money where their mouth is and betting that our country has a bright future.
I know who I’d believe.
AFP or licensors Our culture is one that still prizes innovation and hard work, despite the best efforts of some Chancellors over the years
Reuters The UK’s success won’t go away just because we aren’t paying Jean-Claude Juncker’s lunch expenses any more
And here’s some they invested in earlier…
Norway fund has holdings in:
London’s Regent Street
Sheffield’s Meadowhall shops
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Mark Wallace is executive editor of the website Conservative Home.