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Let’s hope the Olympics is a triumph of internationalism over nationalism

Economic and political nationalism appear to be on the rise across the world. In the last few weeks we’ve seen National Front leader Marine Le Pen secure 18% of the vote in round one of the French Presidential Election and President Sarkozy subsequently take a more nationalist tone in a bid for her votes. In Norway, killer Anders Breivik has received global airtime for his far-right views. Argentina announced plans to forcibly nationalize the YPF oil company controlled by Spain’s Repsol. In Greece, Spain and Portugal there’s an increase in the rhetoric of both political and economic nationalism. And while delays at British airports have made the news, increasing border controls are being discussed all over the world. In Mitt Romney’s campaign speeches so far, there are signs of a much more aggressive approach towards China if he becomes the next US president. To me there appears a distinct danger that in these times of crisis, many countries of the world will react as they have so often in the past and attempt turn in on themselves and adopt economic nationalist policies of one sort or another. As the world is now so inter-connected this presents a threat to recovery and to Britain, as a trading nation reliant on so many globalised industries such as financial services, it’s an even greater threat. At Lansons, in common with the rest of Britain’s creative and media businesses, we conduct an increasing amount of international business. We’re currently advising clients on work in Singapore , in Brussels , in the Middle East and the United States . This week, together with our Chairman Clare Parsons , I’ll discuss the latest communications trends and ways of co-operating together with our 56 partner agencies in PROI (Public Relations Organisations International) at our annual meeting in Helsinki . At the meeting, the world will seem as it should be, a diverse but increasingly smaller, more inter-connected place, and our similarities will far outnumber our differences. To get the global economy moving again, we need an international approach in so many areas. Europe needs to become closer not further apart to sort the Eurozone. The survival of the planet relies on sustainability in areas as diverse as food, resources and energy. In financial services we need an international approach to issues including banking regulation, securities markets and tackling fraud and financial crime. We need politicians that can be bigger than pandering to the lowest common denominator of economic nationalism and protectionism. And in less than 100 days, after celebrating our Queen’s Diamond Jubilee, London will host the Olympics. Union Jacks are already everywhere and marketeers have raided every single pun around nationalistic themes. The media are glorying in the backstory of our Olympic hopefuls, from Mark Cavendish’s Manx roots to everything about Olympic poster-girl Jessica Ennis. Hopefully Britain will win more than its share of medals and the nation will be proud to have hosted the world’s greatest sporting event. However in these times, what we need is a triumph of internationalism over nationalism. We need an Olympics that glories in the diversity and wonder of the world, and the triumphs of all nations. It could serve as a reminder, not least to politicians, that we can only solve our political and economic problems by working closely together. For more information about Lansons Communications please contact Tony Langham at tonyl@lansons.com.