Monday, December 18

Consultation is not the solution

Left, John Walker, Policy Chairman of the FSB with Peter Troy.
The Federation of Small Businesses gets it wrong
Independent (of any political party) Member of the European Parliment (MEP) Ashley Mote contributed to a recent 'debate' in the Parliment recently. Using all of his allocated 90-seconds during the so-called debate on 'enterprise and growth' and with less than a dozen members in the chamber, which seats 732, the MEP for South East England said:
Madam President, I wonder how many people in this Chamber have had an idea for a new business, raised the money themselves at their own risk and successfully run that business for 20 more years and generated jobs and wealth. I see that not a hand goes up, and yet here we have a Commission talking about authorising entrepreneurs and about level playing fields – which is the most fundamental contradiction of the word ‘entrepreneur’ you could possibly imagine. The whole point about entrepreneurship is creating something that nobody has ever thought of before.
There sits the Commissioner talking about criminalising the use of imperial measurements on exports from the UK after 2009. As a consequence of that, the manufacturers of tyres, bicycles, clothing, medical equipment, dairy products, frozen foods, specialist papers, domestic appliances, hand tools, computer components and oil and gas components will all suffer every single one of them. One of them in my constituency will be faced with going out of business because there is no way he will be able to sell his components to the oil and gas industry in the United States. They are not going to pull their drill up thousands of feet just to check a measurement – no way! He will either become a criminal to stay in business or he will go out of business.
Years ago I walked into the office of one of the biggest industrialists in the United States and behind him was a notice that said: ‘If you are not part of the solution, you’re part of the problem, so get out of the way!’ That is a message I commend to this House. (ends)

Ectracted from the official records of the European Parlament - 30.11.2006 Ashley Mote (NI).

The day after Mr Mote's comments the representitave of the UK 's small business community, the Federation of Small Businesses issued a news release curiously titled ''
Business hails MEPs’ support for small firms'':

The Federation of Small Businesses has welcomed the European Parliament’s adoption of a report calling for greater engagement with small businesses at the local level.

The report adopted by the European Parliament calls for improvements to the existing network of offices, known as Euro Info Centres (EICs), set up to consult small businesses at local level on EU decision making.

EICs also offer advice to small businesses on accessing the internal market and organize panels of small businesses to advise the European Commission on new regulations and policy proposals.

The obvious comment to the FSB management is to demand that they listen to the representitives of their members rather than waste time and money in pointless consultaion and lobbying. The FSB members previously at two Annual Confrences -1995 and 2001 - voted to Support leaving the European Union. Clearly the FSB has become as undemocratic as the EU - hence the reason the FSB (on policy issues) is now a part of the problem on the solution - it is simply not listening to its own members.
In fact on the specific issue of the EU those that decide policy in the Federation have a few not very un-democratic policies of their own; that of not replying to members letters and sending at least one active member 'to coventry' for daring to question their stance with those that hinder the growth of free enterprise. All very curious really, untill one undersatand that the Federation has been, in the main, hi-jacked by placators and government collaborators.

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