Tuesday, 8 March 2011

Annabel Goldie is an ‘enemy of enterprise’!!

Annabel Goldie, leader of the Scottish Tories, has this morning joined ‘bureaucrats in government departments’,’ town hall officials’ and ‘public sector procurement managers’ among the ranks of what her great leader boldly describes as the ‘enemies of enterprise’.

How so? Well, on Good Morning Scotland, she joined host Gary Robertson and Michael Grant of the Sunday Herald for a discussion on the ‘Old Firm summit’ being held this afternoon to discuss responses to last week’s game.

Annabel was in bullish mode. The clubs had to get their house in order; they should be charged with bringing forward proposals to reduce disorder; they should bear direct responsibility for domestic abuse associated with the game; rescheduling of games must be considered and so on.

Let’s break this down. Here we have the leader of the Scottish Tories explicitly arguing that businesses:

  • should be held directly accountable for the adverse social consequences of the business they undertake;
  • should be charged with bringing forward solutions to these problems; and,
  • if refusing to tackle, or failing to tackle effectively, these adverse social consequences, should expect regulatory restraints to be placed on their ability to trade as they would wish.
The logical deduction from the above is that Annabel believes it is right and proper for businesses:

  • to accept responsibility for the adverse social consequences of what they do;
  • to be regulated in order to eliminate or reduce the adverse social consequences of what they do;  and,
  • to suffer direct financial consequences if they refuse to tackle the adverse social consequences of what they do.
I agree but I fear this is sufficient to justify the ‘enemy of enterprise’ tag. In the interests of consistency, I look forward to hearing Annabel’s enthusiastic support for:

  • structural and regulatory reform of the banks;
  • minimum pricing of alcohol; and, retrospectively of course,
  • the ban on the display of tobacco products in shops.
I think I’ll be in for a long wait. For in opposing every progressive measure aimed at limiting the ability of business to do what it wants, Annabel’s party has screamed ‘red-tape!’ and ‘business burdens!’ It seems that all attempts to regulate for a better society must be opposed. Unless we are talking about football. In that case, appealing to the Victorian snobbery of the Conservative base, regulating socially irresponsible businesses is the right thing to do.

Stephen Boyd - STUC

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