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JULY/AUGUST 2011 Editor’s Letter

A recent seminar, hosted by Editorial Intelligence (EI) at the Institute for Government, asked ‘Do business and government understand each other?’ Good question. In the early days of the coalition government there was a real hope, indeed expectation, that we’d be witnessing a bonfire of red tape and money-Hoovering quangos. It didn’t happen, despite fine words from the PM and Chancellor. As Chris Dodson OBE, the chairman of the manufacturing company Torftech, writes in our Personal View feature on page 50, the verdict on the government after one year is ‘Could Do Better’.

The EI seminar gave no further cause for optimism. A panel comprising Lord Sainsbury, Patricia Hewitt MP (both former ministers at what was once the DTI), Lord Wolfson of Next plc and John Cridland, Director General of the CBI, spoke quite matter-of-factly of a culture clash that goes much deeper than any party divisions. To put it bluntly, the manner in which this country is governed, by elected politicians served by a professional civil service, is almost pathologically incapable of co-existing creatively and productively with business. Where business acts, government forms committees. Where business creates wealth and conserves it, government just spends it and keeps on spending, protestations of thrift notwithstanding. We nurture the hope that the Chancellor in particular understands the nature of this bind and is waiting until he has enough strength – perhaps a solid Conservative majority in 4 years time – to start breaking it. Hallelujah if he does it before.

And it is not the only bind constraining him. We have reason to believe he is sympathetic to the philosophy that underpins our cover story interview with the hugely successful entrepreneur Toby Baxendale. Having sold his business at the age of 42 for £45m, Baxendale is now on a mission to expose what he believes is the corruption at the heart of our financial system, namely the debauching and debasing of our currency. He believes the government, the Bank of England and private sector banks are locked in a dishonourable dance that gives the government the money it needs to finance its gargantuan defence and welfare budgets. In return, the banks enrich themselves for little or no risk by siphoning taxpayer pounds out of the pockets of the poorest into those of the richest, while savers see their wealth eroded by the consequent inflation.

Baxendale is not so naïve as to believe a system that has been in existence for over 300 years can be changed overnight, but says governments across the globe are in deep and possibly catastrophic debt thanks to taking this dangerous dance to its logical and very bitter conclusion. The article is on page 8.

Regular readers may note we have reordered the sections in the magazine, placing our main features at the front, news and opinion columns next, then business advice, followed by our business lifestyle section First Class.

Let us know what you think...we’re always keen to hear from you!

Kind regards, NICK PETERS

// JULY/AUGUST 2011 03

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