It seems that the Conservative Party simply cannot stop themselves from demonstrating how unsuited they are to be in Government. I should make it clear that I am not arguing that Labour would necessarily be any better, simply how appallingly dreadful the Tories really are. The latest party trick comes from the Chancellor of the Exchequer Gideon George Osborne, 18th in line to be Baronet Osborne. In the run up to the last General Election, the then shadow Chancellor showed his classical roots by reprising High School the musical and told the gathered Tory Party that “we are all in this together”. Five years later and fresh from this years gathering in Birmingham he popped into the annual convention of the Institute of Directors in London and demonstrated how ignorant he is.
The IOD is one of the few organisations that I have ever been a member of that holds an annual conference during the party conference season. It is mistakenly described by some commentators as the organisation for large business. That is the CBI or Confederation of British Industry. Most small Businesses are represented best by the Federation of Small Businesses or FSB. The IOD sits in the middle, its membership is limited to the directors of organisations that utilise a board level structure for their governance. The IOD is made up of Directors of large businesses including the largest public limited companies that make up the FTSE 100, but also the directors of small limited companies like the one I work for that is classified as a micro enterprise (1-9 employees). The reason I was a member was because I valued the benefits of the organisation and I was a Director of a Charity. Most large Charities are structured with a board of Directors (often referred to as Trustees) and all of these people are entitled to be a member of the IOD should they wish to pay the annual fee.
The need to understand ones audience is vital for anyone giving a speech, but after 4 years as Chancellor, there is no excuse for Gideon not to understand who the IOD really are. It is also vital for someone who pretends to be interested in the long term future of any organisation or in the case of the Chancellor the country to have a strategy that is sustainable and consistent. Few business leaders would admire a person who says one thing one year and something completely different, even 5 years later. All businesses know that they ultimately need to serve their customers if they are to make a profit and enjoy the fruits of their labour. If your market is the wealthy Baronets of Chester, you might be happy to ignore the rest of society, but within the IOD most businesses like the one I work for are focused on the needs of very ordinary people and on the needs of charities who are some our best clients. The market for the Chancellor of the Exchequer is every person in our society. Once you express criticism of some of those you work for, you risk being seen as untrustworthy by everyone. This speech from George Osborne shows how little he respects anyone apart from people like him, and there are not many Baronets around:
“You have to get out there and put the business argument, because there are plenty of pressure groups, plenty of trade unions and plenty of charities and the like, that will put the counter view.”
George, you and your Government are simply out of touch, not only with the reality of life for most businesses and charities, but you are using a Government platform to spread your own brand of divisive poisonous ignorant nonsense. Sadly your hatred of charities is common currency within your party as I have written before. You should be encouraging charities to see business as having valuable lessons for the way in which they operate and vice versa. The job of Government is to encourage unions and businesses to work together. We cannot afford any Minister, let alone a Chancellor that believes their role is to spread division and lies in private, let alone in public. It is time for you to go and take your friends with you.