Globalisation is good for us - that was the message from CBI director general Sir Digby Jones when he was back in Birmingham last week.

And, he insisted, it was Britain, and particularly the West Midlands, which had seen globalisation coming and embraced it. It was a typically pragmatic stance from Sir Digby on an issue which has become a cause celebre in some quarters.

In my youth it was Ban the Bomb and anti-Vietnam War demos. Today it is world poverty, Aids and anti-globalisation protests at world economic summits. Supposedly we are raping and pillaging the economies of the Third World, paying them so little for their goods that it is almost slavery.

Sir Digby has a different view. In his typically brave and forthright style he argues that the more low cost, low skilled work we pack off to China and India, the more wealth will be created there, and the more higher value goods they will buy back from us. It is, he claims, a way of building a safer world.

Indeed he maintains Britain is £16 billion better off for offshoring and outsourcing work abroad.

How? Because the Chinese can improve themselves and aspire to a lifestyle they could once only dream about.

They would open a bank account, perhaps with HSBC, they might buy a mobile phone made by Vodafone, maybe they could even afford an Oxford-made Mini, and they would want to send their children to British universities.

Britain and the West Midlands are at the heart of the action, he insists. "We have moved out of commodity manufacturing," he noted. "We are restructuring our economy, and the West Midlands is doing it better than anywhere else in Britain."

Now, that means further manufacturing job losses among the fewer and fewer widget makers in the region, but we are creating more and more work in the higher value, quality, branded sector.

This restructuring had been achieved without demonstrations and strikes, whereas in France you would get riots in the streets, while America branded chief executives traitors if they opted to offshore.

"While France and the US put up the shutters we just get on with it," said Sir Digby.

Nor, he suggested, should we be worried if we went into Tesco to buy a Harry Potter toy for £10 to discover it had been Made in China.

Because of that £10 just £1 ends up in China.

The rest stays in Britain via the likes of licensing and intellectual property rights, advertising, copywriting and marketing.

Sir Digby stated: "We in Britain are one per cent of the world's population yet we have 18 per cent of the world's creative industries. Made in China does not mean that all the wealth has gone to China. Not by a mile. And the region which has clocked that and picked up the challenge is the West Midlands."

However, do not believe manufacturing is dead in Britain. Britain, said Sir Digby, excelled in pharmaceuticals and per capita was the biggest aerospace manufacturer in the world.

There is, my friends, life after MG Rover.