Monday, March 19

What a Shower ?

From the Editor's notebook.
This Friday, 23 March, sees the opening of the UK's largest member based business organisation, the Federation of Small (FSB) Businesses Annual Conference, held this year in Belfast.
Federation Members, journalists, business or political analysts looking for news breaking scoops should look elsewhere.
Once the AGM, held the day before, has announced whether a Collaborator or an Appeaser has been voted in as National Chairman (see collaborator-v-appeaser_20.html.) there is not likley to be much in the way of ground breaking news or even interesting ideas discussed at Belfast.

Take the first motion up for debate by the FSB's Branch Delegates:

This conference deplores the insincere approach of Her Majesty’s Government by, on the one hand, emphasizing its commitment to the enterprise culture through the use of fiscal incentives and training packages, thereby encouraging people to be self-employed and yet on the other, actively pushing HARK to pursue an increasingly aggressive policy in re-classifying self-employed contractors as employees, with all the negative consequences for small firms.

If any reader can make sense of the wording please leave your offering in the comments section. We on this blog are at a complete loss to understand what it could possibly mean.
From the North East, as many would expect, is a motion which if adopted by our political masters would do more to introduce unwelcome regulation than just about any other crazy idea the EU commission could contrive and believe me that would be difficult. Colin Stratton's motion amazingly states:

This conference calls upon Her Majesty’s Government to have all businesses registered on a central database whether they are incorporated or non-incorporated and irrespective of size or type.

Unbelievable - stupid and crassly incompetent for a businesses organisation to support self destruction. As the Good Book says: Father, forgive them; for they know not what they do. (St.Luke 23:34). Mr Stratton's motion has been Law in Italy since the days of Mussolini and adopted in a few other European states as well. Without going into all the merits of the freedom of the process of business, clearly the successful principles of the Anglo-Saxon economic model are lost on Mr Stratton and his supporters in the North East. If this motion succeeds I will bare my membership card in Harrods window the next day!

Two other motions on the conference Agenda are so irrelevant to the world of business as not to warrant comment. It is not until the final motion at the end of the conference that there is a sparkle, all be it a miniscule one, of relevance:

This conference calls upon the Treasury to demonstrate a clear commitment to business growth and the creation of wealth by granting businesses a 100 per cent tax allowance for reinvestment in the sector, thus assisting with research and development as well as expansion.

The proposers of this motion John Friel and Wilfred Mitchell both from Northern Ireland make a good point which could be developed. If one were able to propose amendments to motions - as at a proper conference - I would propose that all government business support is withdrawn in favour of a comparable reduction in tax on small businesses. One business grant is after all another business's tax bill. Since my somewhat draconian amendment would mean the abolition of Business Links and many other regional support agencies there would be very little support from FSB activists who these days liaise oh so closely with such quangos. In fact at least two senior FSB activists, to my knowledge are well paid by the many off shoots of the Government's Business support services; and that I say corrupts the FSB.

So, to end at the start one should not look to the motions at the FSB conference in Belfast next week for any major ground breaking policy innovation. All of which prompts the question, why does the FSB grow in number each year. After all, an organisation without an intellectual base cannot flourish. The answer is simple, the FSB has excellent benefits and a world class recruitment team which, for the moment at least, offsets the lack of ethos at the centre of the organisation.

The worry of course is that the FSB, unless it counters - not adds to - the threats that our political masters impose upon small businesses will, in time, go the way of the Dodo.
A flash back to the FSB confrence of 2004:


Stewed Cabbage said...

John Wright -at present a Vice-Chairman of the FSB and a candidate for National Chairman has for the past 10 years as an FSB activist given the distinct impression that he is a Lawyer.Is he not ?

Bailiff ? said...

See these links to gain an insight into the man behind the blog.

Sarah Hopperty said...

Indeed a man that stands up to wrong doing! Anyone who puts his head above the parapet expects to be shot at. Peter Troy is morally brave, fearless and tenacious. I and many others hope that Peter continues the good work.

Jan Smith said...

So the FSB then has become a part of the problem not the solution !