Big Question: Do business and politics mix?

The chairman of BP was made minister for trade and competitiveness in Europe last week.

The chairman of BP was made minister for trade and competitiveness

in Europe last week.

Richard Branson - Virgin Group

’Business and politics have to mix, but there should be a healthy

distance between the Government and the corporate world. What business

wants from government is unbiased treatment, but there have been moments

when favours have been done, not on the basis of consumers’ interests,

but on the basis of dubious relationships. I hope that era in British

politics is now behind us.’

Peter Oborne - Express on Sunday

’Everybody is hailing the appointment of Sir David Simons as an amazing

new step. But actually it’s the sort of stunt which has been tried by

virtually every Prime Minister. Ted Heath brought in John Davies as a

cabinet minister from industry and that was a humiliating failure. The

same ploy was used by Harold Wilson and that didn’t work either

Politics and business do not mix, they are separate worlds.’

Chris Hopson - Granada Media Group

’Politics and business have to mix since politicians determine the

regulatory environment in which business operates and this can often

have a major impact on business success and the growth of the economy

Businessmen need to influence the policy process without getting too

involved in the dogfight of party politics. Politicians need to develop

a detailed understanding of how business works without being hoodwinked

by naked commercial self interest.’

Angela Heylin - Charles Barker

’Yes. I very much hope that new Government extends the well established

public and private sector partnership approach. So much can be gained by

both sides through the sharing of knowledge, experience and ideas.

More importantly perhaps, I believe the wider community benefits


Adele Biss - AS Biss and Co

’There are examples of successful business people going into politics

such as Michael Heseltine and Lord Young. But there have also been

failures like Sir James Goldsmith and Ross Perot. With the new

Government there is much more of the professional, managerial class of

politician, so things may change. There has been a cultural chasm

between business and politics and anything that helps narrow that chasm

is good for both sides.’

Have you registered with us yet?

Register now to enjoy more articles and free email bulletins

Already registered?
Sign in