Alice Thomson, writing in ‘The Times’ (1 December 2010), suggests that small businesses are a rescue remedy for Britain. There are some impressive phrases. She quotes an entrepreneur who says ”We need a Dunkirk economy. The little boats saved us.”
Now I am not one to be dismissive but I thought Dunkirk marked the end of our devastating defeat in Europe. Perhaps Ms Thompson’s contact is referring to Dave’s inspirational defence treaty with the French which so brilliantly covered up the Coalition’s savaging of our military strength.
Ms Thompson astutely points out that the Prime Minister’s Business Advisory Group contains only one out of nineteen members who originates from a small business. She continues by pointing out that the travellers on Dave’s foreign trips are from multinationals: “Few ministers have been entrepreneurs” she concludes.
I am not one to kick a man when he is down but Dave is having a bad time following..no! I will not mention the World Cup. What I will say is that during my recent trip to Hong Kong and China I did not meet one person who knew who he is. To be fair, one of my earlier trips to Beijing was shortly after the ebullient (‘I am PM’) Gordon Brown went to China. Nobody had heard of him either.
So what are Ms Thompson’s actual proposals?
1. Amend employment laws for the smallest companies
2…….er, sorry, that’s it.
May I say however that Ms Thompson earned my lifetime respect with the following statement:
“Civil servants instinctively don’t get it. They are risk-adverse people who choose to work in vast bureaucracies with secure pensions. As a result Whitehall heaps regulations on small businesses with no idea of the implications.”
It will certainly help if the forest of employment laws were eased but that is not the real issue.
The fundamental problem restricting the growth of enterprising businesses is the corporate culture dominating the United Kingdom. Alice Thomson herself will be the first to admit that it is unusual to see editorial copy on the subject. The financial pages are dominated by the multinationals, the regulators, the big banks and the hedge funds. It needs many noughts after the currency sign to achieve copy.
Enterprise Britain is one of the few commentators writing about the subject without any commercial bias.
It is something of which we are proud.
Thank you for the Conservative Election victory which you promised would happen in 2010. We all make mistakes and I forgive you, just this once.
This Christmas may I please have just one senior Government official who really understands what is required to stimulate Enterprise Britain.
Santa we both know you can perform miracles.
This will test you.