Thursday 23 September 2010

Why the CBI got it so wrong on Cable's speech

The reaction by the CBI to Vince Cable’s speech was absolutely extraordinary, and a symptom of the problem we face.

To give him credit, it may be that Richard Lambert never actually read what Vince said when he made his remarks. If he had, he would have realised that the Business Secretary was absolutely pro-enterprise, pro-competition and pro-business.

But he wasn’t pro-monopoly, or pro-corruption. What is extraordinary is that Lambert and the CBI reach for their dictionary of insults, not because Cable attacked business but because he attacked the abuses of big, monopolistic business.

Why is it that the CBI has become an apologist for big business abuse, at the expense of small business? In that peculiar contradiction you will find the answer to so many questions about our recent history – why the banks were allowed to crash, why the big banks withdrew from the real economy, why we get so little choice about where and how we shop.

It also opens up a new political space, and I hope Vince will do more to fill it: pro-business, pro-enterprise, but not pro-monopoly and not pro-corporate abuse.

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