Stand up and be counted

This is not a good time to stick your head in the sand

A great Editor’s Letter by Alistair Heath in today’s City AM calling on industry leaders to get out of their executive suites – and state the case for business.

I don’t always agree with Alistair Heath: but he’s consistently out and pitching for his (largely City-based) readers. He’s a robust and energetic presence on Sky News or BBC News 24 almost every day.

In contrast, business leaders are often reluctant to risk talking about anything except tightly-defined topics, closely linked to their company.  Given the (understandable) stink around executive pay levels, you can see why they might not want to stick their head above the parapet, and comment on the wider world of business and the economy.

But this is exactly the time when business leaders need to make their voices heard.  Otherwise, other voices take over.  The weekend’s row over RBS CEO Stephen Hester’s bonus quickly saw the roar of the mob drown out reasonable debate.  And distract people from the real issue.

The Hester case is just the tip of an anti-business iceberg, if that’s not a metaphor too far.  Hundreds of people are employed by interest groups – QUANGOs, trade unions and state-funded ‘charities’ – to attack business and promote a statist agenda.

If business leaders don’t explain why society needs business (for prosperity, jobs, worthwhile careers and, of course, cash to spend on social goals) the anti-business, anti-growth agitators are ready with a seductive (and wrong) story.

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