Whether we look at the crazy US Presidential Primaries, the elections in Germany or the attitudes on the UK to the recent budget, one thing is abundantly clear. People are fed up with governments that pretend to be democracies but which seem to serve only themselves and big business.
This was brought home to me particularly forcefully after last week’s budget in the UK. Great play was made of the proposed sugar tax on companies making products with high sugar content. Even a prominent chef who had campaigned for such action happened to accidentally appear outside Parliament as it was announced.
But the part of the announcement that struck me was the notion that big business had two years grace to get them ready for the proposed tax. Surely the lobbyists that work for the large companies were well aware of this potential change and had been involved in negotiations with the Treasury on the matter.
I may be cynical, but given that someone once said that ‘a week was a long time in politics’ what chance is there that this tax will have either been watered down or forgotten by March 2018!.
And this idea of giving big business time to adjust is a fairly common practice. Yet I do not remember anyone telling the general public that they had two years to adjust to a rise in petrol process or the price of alcohol because of increased taxes!
Imagine if you tried to run a business like that. Say you wanted to expand your business and you went to a potential supplier who told you he heeded two years to prepare for the order level you require. Are you likely to put your business on hold for two years while he sorts himself out or are you going to move to a supplier that can provide today.
On the other side of the coin, how long do you think you would keep your customers if you were to tell them that you hadn’t shipped today and that the price will rise at 6pm as the government does with things like petrol?
Businesses behave the way they do because they recognise that business survival relies on regular and timely product from suppliers and fair treatment of their customers.
Government need to learn this lesson and understand that democracy only exists when all are treated fairly. At present, thanks to he way governments behave towards big business, ‘all are equal, but some are more equal to others’! I am reminded of another quote from the same book when looking at big business and government……
“The creatures outside looked from pig to man, and from man to pig, and from pig to man again; but already it was impossible to say which was which.”