British Prime Minister Boris Johnson has pledged to spearhead a green industrial revolution, praising preschool icon Peppa Pig as an inspiration for the UK economy.
Johnson told a business group's conference that investing in new green technology and spreading wealth and industry away from the prosperous south east of England could make Britain's economy "the largest and most successful" in Europe.
The government faces widespread skepticism from a corporate community overwhelmingly opposed to Brexit, a cause championed by Johnson. Numerous UK firms contended that exiting the European Union would make it more challenging to do business with the 27-nation bloc, which is the UK's most significant economic partner.
That has proven true: trade between the UK and the EU has decreased significantly since the ultimate break at the end of 2020, though some of the interruptions may have been caused by the coronavirus pandemic.
Johnson's relationship with business has been strained since he was widely reported to have used a robust and contemptuous expletive against firms during the UK's EU withdrawal negotiations.
On Monday, local time, he said, "I've never been anything other than business's number one fan."
Tony Danker, the CBI's director-general, said businesses applauded the government's commitment to economic growth but demanded "detail and delivery."
Johnson recounted his Sunday visit to Peppa Pig World, a theme park in southern England dedicated to the animated character, during a rambling speech in which he also referenced Lenin and linked to the biblical account of Moses. Johnson and his wife, Carrie, are the parents of Wilfred, a 19-month-old son.
Johnson described Peppa Pig as a representation of "the power of UK creativity."
"Who would have believed that a pig that looks like … a sort of Picasso-like hairdryer, a pig that was rejected by the BBC, would now be exported to 180 countries, with theme parks both in America and in China as well as in the New Forest," he said.
"I think that is pure genius."