There has been a lot of coverage of the current honours list with the usual uproar because a small proportion of them are political donors but we need to get a life, they have received their honours because of the very great work they have and are doing with charities, are we really saying that if a person gives a political donation they are then barred from any honours?
The chant from the journalists is that the business people are getting involved in politics by buying influence, so how do we look at that, obviously nobody is going to give money to any political party they don’t believe and whose policies they don’t support, that is not buying influence but it is giving the particular party the ability to promote its policies and fight elections. I have been involved in politics a long time and I can ensure you donating to a political party gives little more than a good meal at best and of course the ability to part with some more money! Further reading
But all this should not mean that business should not have a natural and strong influence on government policy, within that parties manifesto business, including special interest groups should be continually consulted about policy and its effects because they operate in the real world and not the bubble which politics inevitably is, focus groups though are way overdone.
So then, what about the fat cats you may ask and especially the bankers, first you have to realize that bankers are not usually really clever people, very few of them have any idea or any experience in running a business, let alone politics, and the reason we got into this mess is because Labour let them loose in the sweet shop and they proved my point! The bonus culture at the banks is a big problem which has to be curbed but we must be very careful we don’t do more harm than good, I think Cameron’s ideas on executive pay are worth pursuing, it would be far healthier to have a tighter grip on executive pay but a much lower tax regime.
One thing I can’t quite grasp is why Sir Fred Goodwin and his cohorts are not in prison, the Guinness tribe of Saunders, Ronson Jack Lyons and Anthony Parnes were all convicted for far less than Goodwin’s team, right at the start of the crisis when Norther Rock went bust RBS put out a Rights Issue of some