In terms of unpleasant exchanges and an increasingly toxic atmosphere prevailing amongst all parties, this election campaign is sadly becoming an embarrassing advertisement for politics. The contempt, bile, hatred including class-warfare that is manifesting itself at meetings and on the ‘hustings’ is bringing the very worst out of the political establishment.
Yes, there is so much at stake, as the political landscape is now unrecognisable with the threat of coalition government now seemingly irrevocably here to stay. As they say in the vernacular ‘its dog eat dog!’ With party leaders joining in the throng of hurling unnecessary personal abuse at each other, this campaign, with just 90 days to go and with all to play for, is starting to degenerate, leaving much of the electorate thoroughly disenchanted with the entire proceedings.
I am unabashed in throwing my ‘two-cents worth’ in to the ring. Over 52 years I have seen the City make the greatest contribution to the UK’S economy more than any other sector. That includes accounting for the desperate effects the financial crisis had on society between 2008 & 2010.
Sadly the country is probably more divided than it has been since 1981. Despite brilliant efforts from this coalition government to restore some equilibrium from the devastation created by the financial crisis, the gulf between those that have and those that have not, has widened. We acknowledge the equality gap at the heart of the labour argument. At present the top 1% have a larger share of the wealth than any time since 1928. It is an indisputable fact that the City provides finance to new businesses, which is the crucible for growth, as well as entrepreneurship and social mobility. Attacking this function does not address the root cause of inequality in the education and taxation system. In the event of a Labour led coalition government prevailing, what terrifies the business community is Labour’s lack of understanding as to what is required to keep the economy on the move.
Full employment comes from the creation of wealth. Business creates wealth. Wealth generates taxation. Good revenues for the government enable us to support a necessary public sector including our beloved NHS and education. The link between a large public sector and low growth is not empirically robust. It is however the case that a poorly run public sector in the UK has been a disappointing engine of growth; however well-run, it does not have to be the case. Without strong revenues, public services inevitably suffer. The equation is actually quite simple. Labour needs to understand this. Smashing innovation and incentive in to the ground is very counterproductive for our economy.
The Labour front bench spends its time preaching to the converted. Ed Balls and Chuka Umunna seem unhappy about coming to the City to set down their stall for the future. They are intent on threatening retribution on bankers, historical tax avoidance out of a flawed system and anyone who threatens to create wealth.
We in the City would really like to engage with Labour’s Treasury and business team. If the City is forced to work with Labour, some sort of relationship which borders on cordial seems sensible.
Gentlemen, a lunch, breakfast, speech with Q&A, we welcome you cordially, with the basic respect a major political party deserves. Also, if you accept our invitation you need to recognise the contribution London has and will continue to make to the well-being of UK plc!