Friday, April 17, 2009

Mandy Watch No. 10 – I Agree With Lord Mandelson

The Scotsman takes Lord Mandelson to task this morning and has got opposition politicians to join in on a chorus of disapproval for what his Lordship had to say. But quite incredibly I find myself agreeing with the Minister. This is what Mandelson had to say.

"There are still really major sources of opportunities for us. There are huge growing economies out there, with rising incomes among growing populations, that are going to be demanding and buying the sort of goods and services that we excel at producing. When people talk about the world with such pessimism, they are ignoring all the opportunities and concentrating only on the risks. So frankly it's about time people stopped being so darned pessimistic, looked at it on the upside and looked at what we're good at in this country."

The opposition lined up with a series of meeja sound bites that look like they have been written by teenage politics students (actually I apologise that's rather insulting to teenagers, they would probably have done better).

"Peter Mandelson's extraordinary remarks are yet another indication of just how out of touch the UK Labour government is. Lord Mandelson may not be feeling the pinch, but when families and businesses across Scotland are really struggling – with figures this week showing sharply rising unemployment in Glasgow – it is bad taste and bad judgment for him to deny the reality of the Downing Street downturn." – John Mason, the SNP's work and pensions spokesman.

"The world may look bright to Lord Mandelson, but for hard-working families facing rising unemployment, stagnant wages and shrinking credit, the contrast couldn't be more stark. Labour's failure to understand how the world looks to ordinary families makes them part of the problem, not the solution." – Philip Hammond, shadow chief secretary to the Treasury.

"Scotland is being hit hard by Labour's recession and doesn't need cheer-up lectures from Peter Mandelson. He needs to get out more and experience the real world and the turmoil created by Labour's broken economy." – David Mundell, the shadow secretary of state for Scotland.

First of all this is not some attack on Scotland as the Scotsman and the SNP in particular have tried to make it. It may have been said in Scotland but he doesn't single out Scotland in his remarks. Anyone who knows anything about business knows that there is a need for confidence and talking things down the whole time is a huge problem. Much of what has gone on in these past months over the recession has not been helped by the media with their 'end of the world' style of presentation.

I find Mandelson patronising most of the time and if I were talking to him, face-to-face I know I would find him intensely irritating. However, the SNP and Tory remarks are typical of the reactionary, opposition style of politics in Britain, of the kind where one side says "black", the other automatically, without much thought says, "white".

David Mundell, a lawyer by training, calls for Mandelson to get experience of the real world. Mr Mundell worked as a solicitor in private practice and BT's head on national affairs in Scotland – many would consider this as only a tenuous link with the real world. John Mason from the SNP trained as an accountant in Glasgow before working for housing associations, nursing homes, and with a charity in London. He also spent 3 years in Nepal with an NGO representing churches from all over the world.

Lawyers and accountants are the brakes of a business, not the accelerators.

1 comment:

James Higham said...

But quite incredibly I find myself agreeing with the Minister.

Even the devil can quote wisdom.