Posts Tagged ‘belief’

Advice for Ed: Celebrate the best of British business as well as criticising the worst

02/10/2012, 06:00:35 AM

by Paul Crowe

One of the defining moments of the 2010 general election came when the Tories unveiled their letter from business leaders backing their cut to national insurance (NI) contributions.

It was the ultimate dividing line for economic competence: on one side was a parade of Britain’s commercial leaders, on the other a Labour prime minister, isolated and unsupported.

The issue at hand was irrelevant. A small cut to national insurance contributions was not going to make any difference to the economy given the depth of problems, but the symbolism was catastrophic for Labour. It’s hard to claim to have the answer to revitalising the economy when Britain’s captains of industry are uniformly saying “no you don’t mate.”

There are many flaws with British business and no one would claim that a series of self-interested chief executives, eager to reduce their payroll costs, have a monopoly on the truth for economic revival.  But it is a powerful image to voters in the heat of a general election campaign: for those responsible for some of this country’s biggest high street brands to be criticising Labour so publically.

It was a return to the bad old days of the 1980s when to be in business meant being a Tory.

I run a business and in my day to day work I deal with a variety of board members across many companies, large, medium and small.  Politics isn’t at the top of most businessmen and women’s list of concerns, the general view is that this is a global recession and it is the global economy that will determine our future.

But, on those occasions when discussion does turn to domestic politics, it does not make for happy listening for a Labour party member.

Today’s Labour party is seen as resolutely anti-business. There is general uncertainty about our commitment to tackle the deficit and some very specific fears about the party’s eagerness to believe the worst about business; to regulate, to break-up and to tax.

In terms of our support in business, Labour certainly hasn’t improved since the election in 2010 and if anything is now in a worse position.


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