The recent polls make it even more important to scrutinise all three main political parties and their business plans. It’s my view that the way to get out of recession is to ensure that business pulls us out. Government can help but they can also hinder too.
The Lib Dems have proposed a number of policies that will have a direct impact on doing business in the UK. The mansion tax. It will cost more to collect than it will raise, is an attack on capital and not income and will be detrimental to the whole housing market. Their plans for banks will not only curtail activities in the UK but also convince these organisations to locate elsewhere. Whilst I understand why the general public is angry at banks and bankers, to interfere on this scale with how a company remunerates its staff in isolation will do nothing other than threaten jobs, tax revenue and wreck a very lucrative business for UK PLC.
Asking bankers to take shares and not cash will suck huge amounts of spendable money out of the economy creating a vacuum in VAT receipts. It will be a disaster. Seemingly unconnected, to cancel Trident not only loses a lot of jobs but it also takes away one of the most important international facets we have. Our calling card. It takes us away from the top table and will severely limit the UK’s influence on world events.
And that’s just the start of it. An amnesty for illegal immigrants will add to the cost of benefits and running the NHS. Income tax changes will hit those on modest incomes and proportional representation will allow fringe parties to rule with little prospect for clear government mandates.
What about Vince Cable? He is neither as bright nor as sage as some would like to think. He has often been wrong on the ways in which to fix the banking system. Most notably because his assessment of how the system almost collapsed is of his own invention and not reflective of reality. I have worked for one of the major investment banks. I’d like to think that insight into the construction of complex financial instruments allows me to comment upon their failure. In essence much of the failure was a lack of confidence, lack of regulation and in fact some banks buying market share.
RBS made massive purchases of financial instruments they didn’t understand. Who should be blamed? The people who sold them the products? The people who rated them (and assessed the risks)? Or the bank themselves for buying toxic loans they didn’t understand?
Either way, whilst I abhor the Labour policies of borrowing to prop up public sector jobs and borrowing way too much, they are a better option than the Lib Dems. At least Labour understands the importance of international business to our economy, even if they cannot make sound regulatory or judgment decisions. As for David Cameron and George Osborne they had better up their game. If they advocate a recovery based on the private sector, we need to understand what they would do, how they would stimulate the economy and what business can expect if they were to gain power.
This is a distinctly unfavourbale position. The British public has not, on the whole, been good at selecting winners from reality shows. Michelle McManus, Shane Ward, Leon Jackson, Kerry Katona to name but a few. Whilst on occasion they got it right with winners such as Will Young and Leona Lewis – this election is taking on a very peculiar twist.
One liners and platitudes are not what this country needs. We need strong leadership and not a hung parliament. We need private enterprise to flourish and not to turn business away. We need strong controls on immigration and not a roll over and acquiesce approach and we need strong controls on law and order and not a soft touch.
So to my “Badometer”. Where -10 is as bad as it can get… The Lib Dems stay at -10. Gordon Brown improves by one point to -7 and David Cameron and the Conservatives remain at -5
Let’s hope we see some proper discussion at the next live TV debate this Thursday