Wednesday, April 27

Beef and Gravy

From the Editor's keyboard:
As the big three political parties unveiled their business manifestos business leaders at the annual British Camber of Commerce conference called for more ''beef'' on policies.

Chancellor Gordon Brown and Tory Leader Michael Howard made keynote speeches to the London conference both pledging to ease the burden of regulation and maintain economic stability.

Maggie Pavlou vice-president of the North East Chamber of Commerce and a rising star in the movement said: ''it is not the job of politicians to tell business how to do their job''

The Chamber of Commerce conference, this year, is in marked contrast to the Federation of Small Business (FSB) Conference held in Birmingham in March. The 185,000 member strong FSB is clearly afraid of its own shadow. The cash rich organisation which recruits (and loses) 32,000 members each year is afraid of detailed debates on politico-business issues.

In the North East I have been increasingly concerned about the pro Labour 'cuddly Labour bunny' attitude of the Federations Regional Policy Unit. During the regional elected assembly debate the FSB in the NE was attempting to side with the Labour Party's Yes campaign. NE Regional FSB officials attended Labour Party sponsored meetings during the campaign supporting 'Labour Yes' badges to impress Gordon Brown and John Presscott at one particular event that I witnessed.

Last Friday I publicly called for the Regional Chairman, a well know supporter of 'those (that's anyone) in power' to resign since he was clearly not promoting the apolitical stance of Britains largest business organisation.

Meanwhile, the North East Chamber of Commerce confirmed that ''warm words'' were not enough from politicians, a lot is said about regulation, pensions and transport but as George Cowcher said yesterday from the podium: '' where is the beef and the specifics''.

As I said at the FSB conference in March 2001 '' The true government of this country is in Brussels, we are governed not from Westminster but by the European Union''. The ''beef and the specifics'' come from the EU Commission and the EU Council. My motion to withdraw from the EU was accepted by FSB branch delegates by a majority of a little over 68 per cent. However the motion was curiously not adopted as policy by the FSB's National Council.

When the delegates at the Chamber of Commerce conference wake up to the fact that much of what the political parties in this country promise, whether it be with or without 'beef', it is what our masters in Brussels dictate that impacts on the business comunity, not what British politicians mouth; unless that is our politicians are seeking to advance the cause of leaving the EU.

In the meantime, it is somewhat reassuring to know that the representatives of corporate business in the North East of England are complaining about a lack of understanding of the process of business by politicians.
I truly hope that the representatives of the small business community in the North East (the FSB) will soon realise that enjoying the gravy supplied by Labour politicos does nothing to improve the beef of British business.
Clearly some strong English mustard now is needed on our traditional British Beef.
Peter Troy was Chairman of the Darlington Branch of the Federation of Small Business from 1999 - 2005.

1 comment:

Anonymous said...

Yes I agree - the FSB should be fighting to lowe the costs of fuel tax which is a big issue with small businesses because they are so dependent on travel.

Chris Williamson from County Durham