A thumping majority of young people in Britain would vote to cancel Brexit, according to an aggregate of recent Survation polls by the BBC. Alex Lovén is not your usual young person, however.
The 30-year-old is Britain’s richest young entrepreneur, boasting a net worth of £55 million. He also happens to be a staunch advocate of the UK leaving the European Union — both for the good of his business and the country.
Lovén revealed his gung-ho views in an interview with Business Insider after he was named one of the UK’s most influential people in tech for building his online retailer Net World Sports. He said he wants to get out of the European Union before it is too late and the bloc of 28 countries collapses.
“Brexit was right for the UK,” said Lovén. “I firmly believe at some point the EU will cease to exist. Really, if you look at southern Europe, there are so many issues smouldering, whether it be Italy, whether it be somewhere else. If something’s going to collapse, it’s better to be the first people out than the last people out.”
He was referring to Italy’s ongoing budget crisis, which has seen its government clash with the European Union over its spending plans. Lovén added that Europe has shrunk as a percentage of the world economy. Some of Net World Sports’ biggest customers are outside of the EU and the managing director is relishing the prospect of Britain striking new trade deals.
“We have a natural affinity with the Commonwealth countries yet we can’t even strike trade deals with these countries, which we have a history with and that speak English,” he said. “It’s so short-sighted just to look within the borders of Europe because there’s a whole world out there that’s moving so quickly.”
He was critical of other business leaders who have backed Remain for what he sees as selfish reasons. He highlighted JPMorgan Chase CEO Jamie Dimon, who has repeatedly warned that Brexit will mean job losses at the bank. “Of course they [JPMorgan] didn’t want to leave the EU. They didn’t want anything to change. Change is hard work, for an organisation as big as they have… it’s like [turning] a supertanker,” he said.
Instead, Lovén identifies more with Dyson founder James Dyson who has supported Britain leaving the EU. “I assimilate with the glass half full of the James Dyson’s [of this world], not with the doom and gloom of others,” he explained.
And the entrepreneur’s arguments were not just economic. He says many people, especially those from poorer backgrounds like himself, have lost a sense of their national identity being in Europe.
“The EU blew it basically. They don’t directly collect taxes off anybody and obviously, we pay into Europe, but they don’t directly tax anybody [but] how have they manifested in this crazy position where they’re so disliked by so many?” he said. “Faceless bureaucrats not making one discernible difference to people’s lives apart from telling them things they don’t want to hear.”
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