Tuesday, 18 October 2011

Businessmen not fit to govern

I'm both amused and bored by hearing opinions that we need more businessmen in government - as if their talent for organising one thing translates into organising something entirely different!

I'm sure there will be some of you who disagree, impressed by a flashy businessman's apparent success - in the single endeavour of acquiring wealth. But let's look at some inarguable definitions of business and government -

Purpose of Business
Make money from providing goods or services, squeezing every last possible profit from resources such as assets, staff and customers, employing any means fair or foul (that they can get away with) to beat competition.

Purpose of Government
* Provide regulatory framework for a fair and functional society, making sure laws are suitable and fit for purpose.
* Set tax policy, deciding who to tax, how much, and for what - and how to spend it.
* Provide Public Services to Best Practice standards, balancing the quality of service and needs of the staff against the requirement for best value for money to the taxpayer.
* Regulate and resolve conflicts of interest, such as the wishes of property developers versus the public good.

* Lawmaking is difficult to get wrong to any huge degree - just extend UK legislation to this island and copy anything else sensible. Not many complaints are heard on that one.
* Taxation seems to suit enough people most of the time that it isn't enough of an issue to cause riots or revolutions. People may realise that Zero-Ten and GST are a pain but we know it's complex and if it seems to work for most people, the politicians will get away with it.
* Wastes of public money are what get most of us fired up, unbelievable decisions of Planning, and other conflicts resolved in the favour of friends and accomplices.

Businessmen don't do anything like most of that government work (if any of it!) in their line of profiteering.

Government is entirely a balancing act, always needing to consider multiple conflicting requirements.
Businessmen are only focused upon one side of an equation - making profits for themselves with disregard for any consequences.

It therefore follows that successful businessmen are wholly unsuitable for government! We need fair and wise people who understand that quality of life is more important than pursuit of gross wealth at the expense of others. Our politicians should only have a vested interest in benefiting (along with everyone else) from a happy and healthy society, ensuring that the young are educated enough to perpetuate a sustainable system in an unpolluted environment.

By 'businessmen' (with 'men' in the broad sense ignoring gender) I don't mean small business owners. I have respect for someone who is confident and assertive enough to set up their own business doing what they love, expanding when they can to take on staff who they know well and look after. Those who know that they have a small place in their market and compete fairly to provide a fair product/service and make an honest living from it. I was lucky to be employed by one of these angels myself for many years and appreciated it. Even if they eventually have their heads turned by the temptations of extravagant houses and shiny expensive status symbol motors, on the whole I say fair play to them if they earned it in the long run without trampling upon others to get there.

No, my wrath and disgust is aimed at the Scum In Suits who stab their peers in the back to claw their slimy way up the filthy ladder of boardroom excess. Intelligence misdirected, talents squandered, these wretched creatures are smart enough to appear respectable and articulate, appealing to an easily led electorate conditioned to look up to these 'alpha males' who profit from the misery of others. Their confidence trick is to walk the walk and talk the talk enough to impress the gullible, but their apparent qualities of extreme capability are just a smokescreen for self-serving greed.

Even the Farce blog pointed out : "Unfortunately, business people often struggle in politics simply because they are used to getting things done by issuing instructions to employees, rather than by establishing a consensus of understanding with fellow elected representatives. They also have further cultural problems between business ethics and profit motive and the broad principles of public service."

When you vote, consider the candidates' motivations. Why are they putting themselves forward for the job? Are they driven by a wish to right the wrongs of centuries of mismanagement, exploitation and oppression, outraged by unfairness, keen to steer the island to a better future for all? Or are they just thinly disguised weasels hell-bent on keeping the working class exploited for their elite extravagances?

Remember : "No vote - no moan!"